When choosing a show for a class or school production, the first thought teachers usually have is about the practicalities. There are many important things to consider. Is it an appropriate length? Are there enough roles to go around? Will the royalties be within our budget? Will the administration approve it? Is this a show our students will like? While these things are crucial to consider, it’s important for teachers to choose shows that they’re passionate about. Why? Read on!
Choose a show that gets you fired up when you talk about it.
You need to choose a show you genuinely like and are excited about. You’re going to be hearing the lines or songs over and over for the next couple of months. You need a show with compelling characters, a message you believe in, cool technical challenges, or something else that gets you pumped to start the process. Yes, your students need to like the show, but there is an abundance of shows out there. If you think you’re going to get bored or annoyed during the process, or are feeling “just ok” about the show, keep looking. Don’t settle for “just ok.”
Your excitement will build excitement for others.
If you get pumped up explaining the plot to your principal and other teachers, or you’re expounding the virtues of the show to your friends or family outside of school, or you’re sharing with your students all the reasons why this particular show is amazing, that’s a good thing. Your enthusiasm will build excitement and buy-in with others. It’s a trickle-down effect: your enthusiasm gets students excited to participate, which makes their parents happy, which makes the administration happy, which (hopefully) allows you to put on more shows in the future.
The story grabs you, and you need to tell it.
Why are you passionate about this show? It should have an engaging storyline that you feel is important to share with your audience. The story might be meaningful or educational. It might bring awareness to current social issues or important historical events. Or it might be a show that is just plain FUN. All of these are reasons to direct the show, because you know it’ll engage your students, your audience, and yourself.
This is an artistic pursuit for you.
Directing a show is not a simple undertaking. This may sound selfish, but you’ll be dedicating a huge portion of your time, energy, and creativity to this project. It’s important that you will be artistically fulfilled, creatively challenged (but not overwhelmed), and satisfied with the final product. Yes, the process is important and there will likely be challenges. We don’t want to take ourselves too seriously or be inflexible, but your time and effort are valuable and you deserve to enjoy the process and product as much as your students.
Theatrefolk has a fabulous library of plays for middle school, high school, and classroom study. We can help you find the perfect play that you’ll be totally passionate about, and that your students will love too.
Top Tips for Directing Your First Show