Student Directing

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Brown. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Brown.

Student Directing Manual

Student Directing Application for the 16-17 Season

"Why should I apply to direct?"
(testimonials from past and current directors)

"Directing for Theatre Ink is such a privilege. Jen Diamond and I were pretty overwhelmed by the application at first, but it gives a great idea of what the process is like. You'll be given an enormous amount of freedom to make whatever you want of your play. You'll have to be honest with your partner. You'll have to figure out what your play means. You'll have to figure out how you're going to do it. The interview process is long and stressful -- be prepared to defend every claim in your application. My advice is to be frank, concise, and precise. If you say you're going to do something, say how you plan to do it. Always ask yourself why your story is important to tell, and why you're qualified to tell it.

"As for the process itself: it's hard. But it's empowering. I learned so much about myself, and about other people. I became a lot more articulate. You find out quickly how to lead effectively: how to communicate, motivate, and excite. Doubt, insecurity and stress are all parts of the equation, but they're incidental and natural. There are some pretty sublime moments -- seeing the play run for the first time, opening night. It's hard to put in words the sense you feel as you push your cast from the first read-through to closing night. But I think I can say without exaggeration that it's the most fun I've ever had, the hardest I've ever worked, the most I've invested myself in anything, and the proudest I've ever been. It's, put simply, electrifying."

-Jordan Ascher, Class of 2010

"The application process was about collaboration and communication. Yes, we had to come up with a layout of our show and think practically about what we could and could not accomplish, but beyond the specifics, the application process was the first time that we as a team had to negotiate and mesh two separate opinions/ visions into one. It's almost akin to a mini trial-run for what ends up happening on a much larger scale because as soon as the production process begins, there are suddenly many more people with their own creative ideas and styles to take into consideration. The application, while long and certainly time-consuming, definitely made us a team well before we held auditions. We learned to trust and respect one another in a working relationship and to articulate clearly what we as a team had in mind for the show. Oh, and we still had fun along the way."

"Student directing, on the other hand, is about being thrown into a situation and learning as you go. It encompasses everything from feeling so exhausted you almost want to give up to experiencing the overwhelming pride and excitement of watching the show on opening night. Unexpectedly, the experience of student directing still comes up pretty frequently in interviews for various jobs. There are few better examples from my life that can be used to talk about how I am able to "accomplish something substantial as a team" or when describing "a significant project that you have seen through until the end." Directing challenges one's leadership, communication skills, patience, and problem-solving abilities all at once though there is always a strong support system of advisors in place to help make sure everything is on track. In short, this is an amazing program that we grow into over the many months we spend both living and breathing our chosen show."

-Tesla Cariani, Class of 2008

"Directing a play for Theatre Ink is a culminating experience. It is as though your entire theater experience at North has led up to this point. Students who want to direct must research countless plays until they find their perfect fit. Then they must map out a clear vision of the finished product in their extensive application process where the student and his/her partner write a cohesive and passionately written dissertation that not only shows, but proves what you and your partner are capable of creating. After this application is submitted, students must prove their capabilities further in two rigorous interviews with Adam Brown, current student directors, Mike B-H, student technical directors, and a board of teachers. Students must answer questions probed by this panel of interviewers, as well as direct a short scene from their proposed play.

"Once chosen, students are in full control as directors of their chosen play, with weekly meetings from Adam Brown and their faculty advisor for support. Students will have the opportunity to plan and run audition, have full control over casting the production, create a daily rehearsal schedule, work with the backstage crew to assemble set, sound, and light for the show, as well as coach the actors and bring the entire vision of the play to life. Directing a play is not a simple process, and it takes a student who has intense motivation and an innate eye and understanding for theater. Students must be prepared to work themselves to the limits of what they are capable of, to fully accomplish their goal of creating a masterpiece. Students chosen are being given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will provide them with invaluable leadership experience that they will never forget."

-Edan Laniado, Class of 2011

"Directing a full-scale production at Theatre Ink requires tremendous effort and dedication, but it is also a uniquely fulfilling leadership experience through which students can learn so much about theatre, group dynamics, and themselves. In and of itself, the application process is a sizable time commitment. Pairs of applicants have to put together a lengthy written application examining their personal strengths and weaknesses, their artistic vision for their chosen play, and their plans for the production process. Applicants are then selected by a panel of student and faculty based on two interviews, a "mock-rehearsal", and thorough assessment of their written application.

"Once student directors have been selected, they begin work in a variety of areas, such as planning auditions, creating a rehearsal schedule, and assembling a production/design team. By the end of the production process, student directors will have had invaluable experience in working closely with a text, bringing their ideas to life onstage, mastering the various technical aspects of theatre, and managing and collaborating with a complex group of peers. Directing demands incredible organization, time, and dedication, but throughout, student directors are supported by their partners, their team, the faculty, and the full resources of Theatre Ink. For students who are deeply passionate about theatre, it is a rewarding and once-in-a-lifetime experience."

-David Gore, Class of 2011

"In Theatre Ink, pairs of interested juniors can apply to direct a full-length play. They create a substantial written application explaining their vision for the show and their directing philosophy. After two interviews and review of the applications, a panel of directors, designers and teachers selects some of the pairs to direct in their senior year.

"The student directing process is both exacting and fulfilling. After auditions, student directors spend about three hours after school every day during the week working on their show. More time is required for planning and outside meetings; even more as the performance date approaches. Yet the process is engaging, challenging and rewarding. Directors grapple with the numerous challenges of putting on a show; they learn about all aspects of its design; they work intimately with actors and their chosen text. It is possible to balance directing a show with a challenging academic courseload, but to do so requires organization and commitment. Ultimately, the process both challenges student directors and expands their understanding of theater, project management, friendship, and the human condition.

-Derek Butterton, Class of 2011

"The student directing application process is a daunting one. Aspiring teams are often discouraged once the phrase fifty pages reaches their ears. The task of tracking down a show not only suitable for Newton North, but for your strengths as a pair, in addition to conceiving of hundreds of ideas (concerning casting, sets, props, lights, costumes, etc.) and realizing them on paper in an organized, but often overflowing binder, is intimidating to say the least -- especially during an otherwise suitably busy junior year. And still, more than enough Theatre Ink students face up to the challenge year after year. This is because the reward is something beyond what any other school offers: the chance to be a true creative leader.

"Any past director will tell you that without the application process, the directing process would be far less fruitful, and far more arduous. In being obligated to answer questions concerning your strengths, and, more importantly, your weaknesses, a potential director knows what his or her biggest struggle will be when itís finally time to step up to the plate. Through sketching sets and costumes, the team is forced to fuse and focus their vision, therefore elevating the individuality of their production. However, a directorís vision, post-application, will change and become shaped by the team they put together -- actors, crew, producers, and others. And coming away from directing, the value of teamwork is what is left imprinted most strongly.

"Being a Theatre Ink director requires drive, a brain overflowing with ideas, and the willingness to share and shape those ideas with others. And because of our programís incredible diversity and learn-as-you-go style, students with these qualities emerge year after year to produce unparalleled pieces of art."

-Eva Saltus, Class of 2009