If directing a production was like coaching a sport.

Sometimes directors seem stressed. We are. We love it, but yes, it is stressful.

Sometimes people say “I understand, it’s like that for a sports final.”
It’s not. Here is the job if this were a sport:

PREPARATION

  1. Have a team of approximately 35 members … in some schools 80+ !
  2. Include some members of the team because it is good for them only because they need to socially to connect with others.
  3. Have a team whose abilities include absolute beginners and those who have been working in this since 4 yrs old. But they must all appear to be at the same level in the game.
  4. Practise for approximately 8 hours per week. You will not be given any equivalency to Winter Tournament Sports week, nor will students be keeping fit during the school day – all of this must occur in your own time.
  5. Never have the team all together for practise– not even once – before the big game.
  6. Have at least 2 sports uniforms specifically made and tailored to fit each individual. Make some of these from fabrics that mean they cannot be easily laundered overnight. Be the person who will launder some of these after each game.
  7. Be ‘nearly expert’ in technical matters for light and sound requirements of a night game. Practise the game with all the technical elements needed. If these are running well for your practise your practise will need to run over time.
  8. Ensure all players must are seen n the light, have every word heard through mics, look fantastic and run precisely what was practised.
  9. Much of the game must be played in time to live music.  Ensure you have adequate practise time with the musicians and the players.
  10. Note: The final games – may or may not be on a pitch the same size as the one you have practised on. (And new pitch may slightly change the rules of play.

GAME TIME

  1. All games are played at night.  All games will be approximately 120 minutes.  You will need to start warm up at least 3 hours before the game, and be the person to shut down, lock up and ensure the feild is secure before leaving  – so expect to be present from 4pm – 9.30pm.
  2. Have all 35 of the team in the locker room, where they many no eat or drink in their uniform and they MUST be extremely quiet throughout the 120minutes of game time when not on the field.
  3. Usually 4-6 consecutive final games are played. Each one must be exactly the same.
  4. At EACH of the those games, EVERY student must score a try, shoot a goal, do things brilliantly as this is the ONLY time their families will see their development.
  5. Have your ability as the coach judged solely on how well the team does at the finals only – not on the progression made. There are no MVPs, no player of the day each week

Of course, this doesn’t even begin to cover the hours spent designing (sometimes sewing) the uniform, designing and sometimes building playing field, organise the ticketing, the budget, the advertising … so many other aspects that need to be either completed by you, or overseen in detail and signed off.

You see, this is why we feel the pressure. We want each individual to do brilliantly, just as a coach does. However, in sports, parents can come along and see the development of their child week to week. In a sports final, an audience understands that sometimes things don’t go well, there are things beyond your control as a coach or manager.

But in performance, our audience, the student’s parents see the final product. An audience expects the same excellent result every single time.

Because of all of this … we may seem a little more stressed at times – but this is only because most of the factors are in our control. We are doing our very best to eliminate all possible hiccups and get every one of the 35+ team members to be working at their best and to retain a modicum of sanity at the end.  We love this work. It is engaging and rewarding …. but it is nothing like the sports teams I have coached.

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