Directing Concentration

As a theater major at Skidmore a student may chose to concentrate in the area of directing. This concentration includes learning analytical skills and various directorial theories which are combined with practical application in studio work and in production. In addition, students who concentrate in directing may have experiences working with departmental directors, guest artists, and may elect to accomplish an internship or a professional field experience at a LORT (League of Resident theaters) associated theater. The department has access to various LORT theaters and to excellent programs in theater for a term off-campus, e.g., in England with the British American Dramatic Academy or at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Center in Waterford, Connecticut.

Directing Students will want to fully explore the Workshop program. Senior directing students who have

  • completed advanced Directing
  • served as assistant director to a faculty director
  • directed at least one workshop

may be invited to submit a proposal to direct a studio production during the spring of the senior year.

A director is responsible for the inspiration behind a concept that elevates a play from a textual or non-textual existence to a live experience. The director works collaboratively to fulfill this vision or concept with composers, choreographers, designers, and actors. Much of the creative aspect of directing is inherent in the individual. Usually, this creative energy is the force which inspires one to want to direct. At Skidmore, the creative aspects of directing are fostered and inspired through a liberal arts education, through role models, and actual directorial experience. In addition, directing requires many skills from the broad areas of analysis, research, and communication, to the more specific skill oriented areas of casting, staging theories, challenges with actors, organization of rehearsal time, understanding blueprints, understanding dramatic structure, understanding theater language and audience expectations, etc.

A theater director must possess a basic core of skills and both specific and general knowledge on a wide variety of subjects:

  • Specific training in directorial skills
  • Training in acting
  • Training in design, techical theater and stage management
  • Theater history (American and world) and American and world dramatic literature
  • Art history
  • Knowledge and sensibility about development of humankind through history, literature, political science, sociology, philosophy, biology, etc.
  • A foreign language
  • Ability to read and understand music
  • Research skills in the library and beyond
  • Familiarity with, or experience in all the arts (dance, music, opera, etc.)
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Familiarity with contemporary issues in American and world theater
  • Thorough understanding of dramatic forms, structures, and theories
  • A solid knowledge of and sensitivity to all other areas of the theater.

Dedication, discipline, patience, and fortitude are necessary for a career in directing, and, of course, so is a passion for the theater!

There are several excellent graduate programs in directing throughout the country as well as some solid conservatory programs. After graduation, some students may elect to find an internship. It is important for directing students to speak with the directing faculty in the spring of their junior year to begin research on plans for the year after graduation from Skidmore.

All directing concentrations students should seek out an appropriate theater faculty to guide them through course selections and planning. Frequent meetings with the advisor should occur to discuss the student's goals and on-going work.

Electives for the Directing Concentration
  1. The following required concentration courses (18)
    • TH 1O4    INTRODUCTION TO ACTING (3)
    • TH 2O3   INTERMEDIATE ACTING (3)
    • TH 2O4    INTERMEDIATE ACTING (3)
    • TH 240    INTERMEDIATE DIRECTING (3)
    • TH 343D COLLABORATIONS: SPECIAL STUDIES IN DIRECTING AND ACTING (3)
    • TH 333    THE DIRECTOR AS COLLABORATIVE ARTISTS (3)
  2. Other strongly recommended theater electives (semester hours as desired or possible)
    • TH 238    COSTUME DESIGN (3)
    • TH 341    THE AMERICAN THEATER: CRITICAL ISSUES (3)
    • TH 325    PLAYWRITING (3)
    • TH 371, 372 INDEPENDENT STUDY
    • TH 299, 399 PROFESSIONAL INTERNSHIP (3, 6 or 9)
    • TH 303    ACTING STYLES
    • TH 228    STAGE LIGHTING
    • TH 375    ADVANCED DIRECTING PRACTICUM (3)
    • OR TH 376 SENIOR PROJECT

Additional Responsibilities for the Directing Student

In addition to being fully prepared for studio work within a course, it is the responsibility of directing students to advance their work as director by assisting faculty or guest directors on productions, directing in the student workshop program, directing or assisting with opera workshop, and by proposing work for TH 375 - Advanced Directing Practicum to the faculty.

Suggested Electives Throughout the College

Although the real excitement of a liberal arts education is discovery, and many courses at Skidmore are potentially inspirational and useful for a directing student, the department believes that the careful selection of pertinent courses will be particularly valuable for the undergraduate directing student and suggests that the student review the catalogue descriptions carefully and discuss selections with advisors and the directing faculty.

 

Additional Information

Directing students should seek experiences during summer months which will amplify their work at Skidmore. If financially possible, students will gain a great deal by travel and/or through an internship in a summer theater.

Many students need to work during the summer. Our advice then is to find jobs which are close to a theater and find a way to volunteer for the theater when you are not at your place of employment.

It is imperative that students work closely with the faculty in seeking out information for summer work in theater and work or study beyond graduation from Skidmore.