The theatre rehearsal room is a sacred place. What goes on there is mysterious, alchemical and closely guarded. So how are aspiring theatre directors supposed to learn their craft?
In Getting Directions, Russ Hope gives us the benefit of unprecedented, fly-on-the-wall access to eight rehearsal rooms. He has shadowed some of the UK's most exciting young directors at each step of the way, on productions as diverse as Shakespeare at the Globe, Greek tragedy at the Gate, Tennessee Williams at the Young Vic, panto at the Lyric Hammersmith, and a touring Dickens dramatisation.
Describing each of these rehearsal periods from first concept to first night in revealing and often remarkable detail, Hope gets under the skin of the professional director, and reveals the decisions they must make on a daily basis: How best to arrive at a concept and communicate this to a design team? Which games and exercises really help to unlock the text for actors? And what should you do if everything is falling apart during the tech?
Getting Directions will equip emerging directors with a practical handbook, not bogged down with theories or precepts, that lifts the lid on what it means to be a director. The result is both a portrait and a masterclass from a generation of theatre practitioners, essential reading for anyone who wants to follow in their footsteps, or to understand what directing really entails.
'An incisive kaleidoscope of rehearsal-room practice which is a useful tool for directors to borrow from and a fascinating insight for the curious.' Dominic Cooke, from his Foreword
Blog Entry: Russ Hope on the pitfalls of a career in theatre directing. 'Stories are about choices, and staging any event means making a thousand editorial choices, big and small...' Read on >>
Introduction: On a Lighting Gantry
1. Matthew Dunster, Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare
2. Steve Marmion, Dick Whittington and his Cat by Joel Horwood, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Steve Marmion
3. Natalie Abrahami, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
4. Nikolai Foster, Great Expectations by Tanika Gupta after Charles Dickens
5. Carrie Cracknell, Electra by Nick Payne after Sophocles
6. Joe Hill-Gibbins, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
7. OperaUpClose, Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte
8. Action Hero, Frontman by Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse
Epilogue: Asking Better Questions
'Those wanting to direct would do well to read Russ Hope's Getting Directions... a detailed account of what happens in rehearsal rooms'
'A useful weapon in the armoury of any aspiring director and of great interest to anyone who would like to know more about what goes on in the rehearsal rooms in the modern theatre'
'Vital reading for anyone working or wanting to work as a director'
Russ Hope is an author and theatre director. His work as a theatre director includes Brooklyn (Cock Tavern Theatre), The Last Five Years (Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue), Wired and Finishing the Hat (King’s Head Theatre).