Director’s Diary – picking plays. Pt 1, the confused ramble

This is Ged thinking out loud. Nothing you’re about to read should be taken as the opinion of the group as a whole.  If nothing else they’re more concise.


What plays do you pick?  It’s a tricky, multi-way balancing act, near enough impossible to get right.

For example it has to be within the company’s budget, which means we have to be able to afford it in the first place and pull a big enough audience to recoup its costs and not bankrupt the group.

So it has to be able to draw an audience. Which of course begs the question who is our audience? Should we limit projects to those that will appeal to existing audiences or actively seek and encourage new ones? If that’s the case (spoiler alert: it is) then this is a big issue. How do we reach them? How do we communicate with them? How do we address their needs and concerns without alienating our vital and hugely valued existing audience? I’ll talk about it in a separate post.

Is it within the artistic capabilities of the cast? This is less of an issue than it used to be – no offence to the amateur actors I started acting with, many years ago, but the standard has soared. In the 80s it was unheard of to get actors who had professionally trained, now it’s commonplace.  Marvellous for us, but is it for them? Especially if casting directors have kept their 1980s prejudices? Again this is worth a post in its own right, but generally speaking we can source professional quality actors for the more demanding parts, and still leave plenty of room for the beginners that ACT has always sought to include. From the perspective of talent we’re in a good place, we can afford to push ourselves.

Does the play move people forward? Does it look good on a cv? Assuming that you’re putting amateur work on your cv, and that’s a vexed issue right there. Does it add to a young actor’s understanding of theatre as a performance form?

It’s a juggling act.  There’s no right place to start. However that does mean that there’s no wrong place to start either so rather than turn this into a lengthy effort I’ll start another post. On to budget.