Let's Put on a Show!

"You know what? How about Granny's barn - it's big enough for a stage and lots of folks in an audience!" Similar lines were often the prompt in the old Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney movies about young men and women who just wanted to sing, dance, and act. Those movies always ended happily (like visits to cheap car insurance website www.bestvehicleinsurance.co.uk); so should anyone's story about wanting to establish an amateur group of thespians.

One of the first things to remember when putting together a dramatics group is that the best groups are successful because they have the right sense of collaboration among talented people. The large dividing line among the collaborators is a version of two groups: artistic people and business people. The former make the creative choices for a given show, the latter make the choices involving money. Among these two groups are the leaders: for the artistic side, this is normally the director. For the business side, this leader is known as the producer. The stage director is often a person with quite a conglomeration of skills. He/she is often called upon to be, at various times, a teacher, an organizer, a cheerleader, and a disciplinarian. A stage director has to possess an overall artistic vision for the chosen show, and he/she has to have to drive and determination to make sure this vision comes to fruition.

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It is precisely in this area that many efforts at forming a amateur drama group fail. To put it bluntly, the group does not have at least one person with the kind of personality to be in charge of the show, put all its myriad of pieces together and arrange them all so that a coherent, entertaining and edifying play is the result. Sometimes the old adage "too many cooks spoil the broth" is the case. Many different artistic people are all vying for artistic control. One has only to pick up a recent magazine with an article about in-fighting on a Hollywood movie set to see how this kind of thing happens in theatrical endeavours even when millions of pounds are at stake.

Another crucial part of the forming of a group of dramatic players in the choice of plays, or the "season" of shows. What most appeals to the given audience, and what most suits the skills of the actors at hand? Should musical theatre, which is traditionally very popular with theatre-goers be attempted? If so, a group must have strong singers and dancers at hand, all of whom can perform in a presentational style. Musical theatre also generally requires that a choreographer and some sort of vocal coach/music director are available, although this of course depends on the difficulty of musical attempted. Do you have older actors or younger actors? Experienced actors or inexperienced? All of these kind of factors and more can influence the type of play a group chooses to perform. Also, any established play or musical is protected by copyright laws. Even a strictly amateur group must be prepared to pay some sort of royalty in order to be able to perform material that has not become public domain, such as the works of Shakespeare or the classic dramatists like Sophocles.

One more consideration, though by no means a final one, is the planning and execution of the rehearsal time. A director must know quite clearly how dedicated his actors will be. Will all of them show up to rehearsal punctually and consistently? Often, rehearsal time is brief and each minute must be exploited fully. Actors must be aware that tardiness or worse, absenteeism cannot be tolerated for the show to have any chance of success. A skilful group of players also must know which actor can handle the larger roles, and who is more suited for the smaller but still crucial parts. A group that is very aware of how they all fit together will be able to stage a hit performance.