Amateur Theater – Selecting a Producer
The number of people in the UK who are involved with amateur dramatic societies exceeds the number that watch soccer. That is a phenomenal statistic and gives an indication of just how popular amateur theater actually is.
The size and type of drama society varies greatly and can be anything from half a dozen people staging a play for one night only, to a large, semi professional company that goes on tour and competes in drama festivals.
The one thing you must remember is that just because a drama society is amateur does not mean that the
productions should be amateurish and one way of ensuring that does not happen is to haytheatre appoint the right Producer / Director.
In many cases the Producer / Director are one and the same but in larger companies they are separate roles.
So what is the difference? A producer is very much involved in the operational and financial side of the production whereas the Director is responsible for the artistic element of the output. Needless to say if there
is both a Producer and a Director they must be able to co-operate and work for the benefit of the production company and it’s members.
When it comes to selecting a Producer what should an amateur theater company expect or aspire to? In my opinion they should aspire to the highest standards and the appointment of a Producer should reflect that desire. To get the right person the selection committee should consider.
A candidate may have a string of qualifications and an impressive CV but the right candidate must have passion, drive and energy. Remember in an amateur production company resources and volunteers can be limited. Hiring a “limp” Producer will not inspire confidence and encourage people to go the extra mile. All the technical knowledge in the world is no good if the candidate cannot inspire the group members.
if you are appointing a professional Producer / Director or someone from another group it is essential that they leave a legacy and by that I mean mentor someone from within the group who will be able to fulfill the role in future years. It may seem easy and many Producer / Directors pay lip service to the idea. If a strong mentoring program is not part of the package then you will be left with a demoralized and dejected theater group once the bought in Producer / Director has left for richer pastures.
In amateur theater there tends to be a little more “democracy” than in a professional production company. The ability to control and direct the multiple opinions is a skill any Producer / Director will require. Time and resources will be limited so all effort much be directed at one goal and it is up to the Director to ensure that happens. A firm, fair and friendly manner will be required, with the emphasis on firm.
When you are in the process of selecting a producer / Director make sure you do your research. Check references. Talk to folk at drama festivals and competitions, adjudicators are a great source of information and when approached in the right manner can offer invaluable advice.
In many cases there is no choice when it comes to the producer / Director. it is a take it or leave it situation. That does not mean that the quest for ever better performances should be abandoned. never under estimate the power of a well produced play or musical to attract high caliber producers and Directors.
Amateur theater is a very popular hobby / activity. In this series of articles Jennifer Clear gives some advice and tips on staging a play or musical and of course don’t forget your party supplies including pre filled party bags.