In this course, James Van Leishout explores why students should direct, and covers the first two tools in the director’s toolbox: self and the script. What background should every director have? Why should they learn to love research? What should happen in the first four reads of a script?
With every step along the way, there will be exercises and activities your student directors can take on before they step into the rehearsal process.

Course Outline

Lesson 1: Introduction 5:17
FREE PREVIEW
Lesson 2: Why Students Should Direct 17:22
FREE PREVIEW
Lesson 3: The Tool of Self 17:19
Lesson 4: The First Read 23:10
Lesson 5: The Second Read 27:15
Lesson 6: The Third Read 20:35
Lesson 7: The Fourth Read 15:25
Lesson 8: Recap 5:57

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Standards Addressed

Alberta, Canada


Theatre Studies Level II - Intermediate (Theatre History)

4 - recognize that drama exists in every culture

British Columbia - 2018 (latest)


British Columbia, Canada


California VAPA Standards (2001)


California VAPA Standards (2019)


Adv.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

Adv.TH:Cn11.2.a - Justify the creative choices made in a devised or scripted drama/theatre work, based on a critical interpretation of specific data from research.

Prof.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

Prof.TH:Cn11.2.b - Use basic research methods to better understand the social and cultural background of a drama/theatre work.

7.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

7.TH:Cn11.2.a - Research and discuss how a playwright might have intended a drama/theatre work to be produced.

6.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

6.TH:Cn11.2.b - Investigate the time period and place of a drama/theatre work to better understand performance and design choices.

6.TH:Cn11.1 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

6.TH.Cn11.1.a - Identify universal themes or common social issues and express them through a drama/theatre work.

Prof.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

Prof.TH:Pr4.a - Examine how character relationships assist in telling the story of a drama/theatre work.

Common Core


Florida Sunshine State Standards


Georgia Performance Standards 2017 - Theatre Arts


National Core Arts Standards


TH:Cn11.2: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade HS Advanced

TH:Cn11.2.HSIII.a - Justify the creative choices made in a devised or scripted drama/theatre work, based on a critical interpretation of specific data from theatre research.

TH:Cn11.2: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Cn11.2.HSI.b - Use basic theatre research methods to better understand the social and cultural background of a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cn11.2: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 7

TH:Cn11.2.7.a - Research and discuss how a playwright might have intended a drama/theatre work to be produced.

TH:Cn11.2: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 6

TH:Cn11.2.6.b - Investigate the time period and place of a drama/theatre work to better understand performance and design choices.

TH:Cn11.1: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 6

TH:Cn11.1.6.a - Identify universal themes or common social issues and express them through a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr1.1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work - High School Proficient

TH:Cr1.1.HSI.c - Use script analysis to generate ideas about a character that is believable and authentic in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr4.1: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade HS Advanced

TH:Pr4.1.HSIII.a - Apply reliable research of directors’ styles to form unique choices for a directorial concept in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr4.1: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr4.1.HSI.a - Examine how character relationships assist in telling the story of a drama/theatre work.

Ontario, Canada


Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Theatre Arts


HS 117.318 LIV - Historical and cultural relevance

C.4.A - evaluate historical and cultural influences on theatre.

HS 117.315 LI - Historical and cultural relevance

C.4.B - relate historical and cultural influences on theatre.

HS 117.316 LII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.D - analyze dramatic structure and genre.

HS 117.316 LII - Historical and cultural relevance

C.4.A - analyze historical and cultural influences on theatre.

HS 117.317 LIII - Historical and cultural relevance

C.4.A - evaluate historical and cultural influences on theatre.