This is a very frustrating time for Silchester Players. At this stage of the year normally we would have dismantled set and scenery from our May production. After a short break we would have held auditions for our autumn play. We would also be planning summer social events.
Rather than shut up shop completely, we have continued with such activities as have been possible. Committee has met via Zoom and our AGM, also via Zoom is scheduled for 26 June. We held a very successful Zoom Quiz Night on Saturday 23 May with several rounds of questions all with a theatrical theme, and raised £125 for NHS charities.
While we patiently await the slow return to normality, this is an opportunity to write in more general terms about the process of planning and preparing our productions.
We invite any of our members who enjoy directing plays, pantomimes, or musical entertainments to come forward with suggestions for productions. Proposals are then brought for committee approval, dates for the performances are scheduled and often a producer is appointed to work alongside the director.
As the term implies, the director’s job is to direct and oversee the artistic side of the production. This is a very challenging role involving the following:
- Considering the type of set required and its general design;
- Deciding on sound and lighting effects;
- In discussion with cast and wardrobe team, taking decisions on costumes;
- Listing the necessary props and appointing someone to take charge of their creation, assembly and availability on production nights;
- Holding auditions;
- Directing the cast.
Naturally a director in choosing a production will consider whether there are sufficient actors and actresses within our company to fill all stage roles. However we always hold open additions and welcome newcomers. Indeed it often happens that a newcomer arrives at auditions, turns out to be perfect for a particular part and accordingly makes a debut with Silchester Players. Also when we celebrate our achievements in our Drammies (our version of The Oscars!) every three years, we always have an award for ‘Best Newcomer’.
The message from this, for anyone interested, is to come to auditions once restrictions are lifted. You never know your luck!
Turning to the producer’s role, this is twofold. Firstly, it is to take responsibility for all organisational matters. An early task is to call a production meeting to be attended by the director and those responsible for such matters as set construction, lighting, sound, props and costume. Beyond that the producer will attend to all the necessary bookings for performances and rehearsals. Also it may be necessary to attend to such things as obtaining a production licence when plays are still subject to copyright. The second role is to give advice and support to the director and to assist at rehearsals.
The roles of director and producer are essential to a successful production. But everything we do is always the result of a team effort. We look forward to welcoming our patrons when it is possible to put on performances again next year. Perhaps this article will help you to realise that although you may spend only a two to three hours watching one of our performances, it represents the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by a large number of people.