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What are the steps for becoming a performance director as a career starting in college.

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Darius M.’s Answer

Hello Sabrina,

Being a director is a challenging but rewarding craft. It's one that takes imagination, patience, and great listening skills. If you have all of those things, you have a good place to start. Personally, I started my career directing by reaching out to faculty and finding out how I could put on my own show. If you don't already have one, get a faculty advisor, someone that believes in your ideas. Mine was instrumental in helping me direct my first show in college. She showed me all the ins and outs and served as a second eye on all the decisions I made for the show. Some schools will give you funding and provide a performance/rehearsal space so definitely talk to the faculty about ways they can help you. Before I directed my first show I was required to take a directing course. Your school may not require this but do it anyway because it means the world of a difference. In that class, I learned how to create a prompt book for a show (a large binder with the script, rehearsal/performance schedule, and notes on everything about your show). I also learned how to stage a scene, how to lead a cast, and how to bring a vision to life on stage. Once you've done all this, in your own way, pick a show you're super passionate about, hold auditions (or find friends in the program that are interested), and make your show happen! I'm not gonna sugarcoat this, directing is hard. There were nights after rehearsal when I was up making notes, running around campus putting up flyers, and asking everyone I knew to audition. It's worth it when those lights go up and you finally see your work come to life. When you see the glow on the audience's faces. When you see your actors shine. You are the visionary, let your imagination roam, listen to your cast and support them, trust your instincts, and don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it!

I hope this helps! You got this! Believe in yourself and take that campus by storm!

Best Regards,


Darius M. recommends the following next steps:

Connect with faculty (possibly an advisor for the show).
Find funding opportunities and a performance space.
Take a directing course.
Find a show you're passionate about to direct.
Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it!

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Erin’s Answer

First, you want to find a college program that meets your needs. Many have directing specific majors, but a Theatre Arts degree in general will give you a wider view of what you're pursuing.
This industry is a business of relationships. Find those people in college who you vibe with artistically. You'll want to have a network of collaborators once you graduate. Assistant direct as much as you can. This will give you the opportunity to learn from directors who are working in the industry.
There isn't one clear path, but knowledge is power. Practice, practice, practice. Learn to advocate for yourself. Find your directing voice. College is a great place to make mistakes and find your artistic soul.

Erin recommends the following next steps:

Build your network
Assist on projects at school and in your city
Become a sponge and learn all you can

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Deborah’s Answer

Hi, Sabrina I would definitely start spending some time in the career field you desire. Take on some internships. Most Arts organizations provide paid and non-paid internships and this would be a great way for you to gain experience. If you are in college I would concentrate in Fine Arts and take some theatre courses for directing. I would also take Marketing and Arts Management. Human Resources is also a great field to focus also.

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Elana’s Answer

If.you mean directing theatrical performances, many universities will stage an annual student-run festival.
Students write, perform and stage all pieces.
Suffolk University and Emerson College in Boston both do this.

Reaching.out to Performong Arts faculty for guidance can help