The Villagers Theatre VP Production and Board of Trustees, appoint a Producer, Assistant Producer (if applicable) and Director for a specific production.
The Producer of a Villagers Theatre production is always a Villagers Theatre Board member, or is a combination of a Board Member and Volunteer – except in the case of our IP Series, where there are Independent Productions who bring in their own Producer.
A Producer has been described as many things. Basically a Villagers Producer does whatever needs to be done except act, direct or design; the Producer ensures that others are hired to perform these tasks. The Producer works closely with the Director on ensuring the production’s success, communicating frequently. However a Producer does not interfere with the Director’s artistic interpretation, vision and direction of the production. The only exception may be if the Producer feels that there may be an issue with the artistic integrity of Villagers Theatre, in which case they would discuss their concerns with the Director.
Practical jobs of a Producer include dealing with the business/administrative issues of a production, including establishing and managing a budget, licensing the production, booking the stage, rehearsal space, finding a Stage Manager, hiring any necessary crew, coordinating contracts and ensuring required resources are available (materials and human). If the production is a musical, the Producer will also be responsible for appointing a musical director and choreographer. The Director may approach the Producer about what she “needs” to make the show as good as it can be while the Producer must determine if the proper resources exist (money, materials, or human) to accomplish requests that the Director may have. A Director may request to have specific musical directors, choreographers, designers or a stage manager to work on the production. And although the Producer is primarily responsible for finding the crew, the Director is responsible for ensuring the crew understands and executes their vision. Sometimes the Producer and Director must work together on solving related issues.
The Producer collaborates with the Director and all staff to plan the production timeline and deadlines for various aspects of the production to ensure a successful show opening and run. The Producer and Director oversee this timeline, with periodic re-assessment and modifications as needed.
The Producer of a Villagers Theatre production is always a Villagers Theatre Board member, however Assistant Producers may be non-Board members. Assistant Producers are initially paired with an existing Producer for a particular show, to train them. Once trained, an Assistant Producer can manage portions of an actual Production.
At the direction of the Producer, the Assistant
- Assist with conducting the business/administrative issues of a production, including establishing and managing a budget, booking the stage, rehearsal space, finding a Stage Manager, hiring any necessary crew, coordinating contracts and ensuring required resources are available (materials and human).
- If the production is a musical, the primary Producer will also be responsible for appointing a musical director and choreographer. A Director may request to have specific musical directors, choreographers, designers or a stage manager to work on the production.
- The Director may approach the Producers about what she “needs” to make the show as good as it can be while the Producers must determine if the proper resources exist (money, materials, or human) to accomplish requests that the Director may have.
- Although the Producers are primarily responsible for finding the crew, the Director is responsible for ensuring the crew understands and executes their vision. Sometimes the Producers and Director must work together on solving related issues.
- The Producers collaborates with the Director and all staff to plan the production timeline and deadlines for various aspects of the production to ensure a successful show opening and run. The Producers and Director oversee this timeline, with periodic re-assessment and modifications as needed.
- Producers must consistently monitor rehearsals, set building and designers (lighting, sound, scenic, costumes) and ensure the show is progressing as necessary, and resolving any issues along the way.
The additional Leadership Staff listed below are then responsible for creative development and management of one individual production. Some of these roles may be combined by the Producer and Director, or new roles added, when necessary.
The Director is solely responsible for the artistic unity of the production, based on his/her overall concept or vision. His/hers is the final responsibility for every aspect of the show, including, but not limited to, the overall look, the specific characterizations and staging, the music, dance, set, props, costumes, lighting and sound – as long as costs are within a budget approved by the Producer. All design plans are created under his/her supervision, all actors are under his/her direction. The director’s work includes:
- when working on a new play, using his/her knowledge of theater to work with the playwright (and possibly composer and lyricist) to shape the play
- research and analysis of the play material
- interpreting the script through the use of actors and designers, defining the style, mood, pace and arc of the action
- holding auditions and casting the show with the advice of the musical director and choreographer, when appropriate, and the help of the stage manager
- coordinating and supervising the work of the musical director, choreographer, designers and performers
- planning the rehearsal schedule, with the help of the stage manager
- approving sets, lights, sound, costumes, props, make-up and hair styles
- rehearsing the performers, creating the blocking and musical staging, developing characterizations with the actors
The Director cannot be responsible for the administrative, financial and day to day workings of the production and still be expected to do his/her job well. It is the job of the Producers, Assistant Directors and Stage Manager to make sure these details are seen to, efficiently and without bother to the director or performers, in order to assure the best possible show.
The Musical Director is responsible for every note of music in a musical theatre production. His/her responsibilities include:
- recommending to the director the number and vocal range of singers needed
- holding singing auditions and advising the director on casting of singers
- deciding on the instrumental configuration of the orchestra
- assembling the orchestra
- supervising all singing and orchestra rehearsals, teaching the music, harmonies and dynamics to the singers
- may also act as rehearsal pianist and/or play, as well as conduct the orchestra for performances
The Choreographer is the heart and soul of the dance in any musical. S/he creates the style and form of the dance routines and teaches them to the cast. His/her responsibilities include:
- recommending to the director the number and type of dancers needed
- conducting dance auditions and advising the director on casting of dancers
- rehearsing everyone who dances
- assisting in additional musical staging at the director’s discretion
The Director appoints the Stage Manager (aka: Production Stage Manager) for a specific production, with the help of the Company Stage Manager; the Company Stage Manager may often be the same person as the Stage Manager. The Technical Staff is then responsible for implementing the Design Staff’s vision and are responsible for the technical management of one individual company production. Any of these roles may be combined by the Stage Manager, or new roles added, when necessary. The Stage Manager is the liaison between the Director, the Cast/Performers, and the Technical Production Crew.
The Stage Manager has complete responsibility for the coordination of everything that happens onstage and backstage in preproduction, during rehearsals, and in performance. In addition, s/he is the director’s right hand and the voice of the director in his/her absence, assisting him/her in preproduction planning (along with possibly an Assistant Director), auditions and rehearsal, and is the liaison between the director and the design staff and, often, between the director and the cast. All of the various technical staff including set design, lighting, sound, props and scenery, report directly to the stage manager. And once “tech week” is done and live performances begin, the directors job is done and it now becomes the stage manager’s show and they assume command.
In addition to the above summary, some of the Stage Manager’s specific responsibilities are defined below:
- assisting the director with research and all phases of pre-production planning
- organizing and running auditions, including preparing script samples, coordinating the audition location, posting audition notices, preparing audition registration forms, setting up an audition sign-in table, greeting performers at an audition, calling performers to the stage for their audition, etc.
- planning, preparing and distributing rehearsal schedules, cast lists, contact sheets, sign-in sheets and rehearsal reports, and maintaining contact with the cast and crew
- assembling and maintaining the Prompt Book, which is defined as the accurate playing text and stage business, together with such blocking, lighting, cue sheets, prop usage, costume changes and entrances of performers, etc. as are necessary for the actual technical operation of the production. Therefore, all script changes must go through the Stage Manager, as s/he is responsible for recording all technical and actors’ cue and line changes into the Prompt Book
- calling and running rehearsals, including taking blocking and technical notes; preparing the rehearsal areas; taping the floor (when necessary and possible) to indicate the scenery positions and playing areas and placing rehearsal chairs where furniture and props will be; prompting; taking and giving line and staging notes, and organizing and supervising any set changes, props tracking and technical cues
- ensuring that the cast has memorized their lines and are using correct grammar and are exacting with the lines (when necessary)
- assigning dressing rooms
- during performance, the Stage Manager is totally responsible for the running of the show, including lighting, sound and other technical cues; set changes; calling places and entrances, starting and intermission times and curtain calls
Generally during performance the SM inspects the preshow set-up for safety and accuracy, then watches the performance from the audience taking production notes for the cast and technical crew. In this way s/he acts as the director’s alter-ego while the show is in production, once the director has left to go on to his/her next job. The SM then calls the show and runs it during performance.