DRAM30300 Directing for the Stage

Academic Year 2022/2023

This practice-based module introduces the art of directing for the stage through theories and procedures of production. It builds the skills and knowledge necessary for a dramaturgical analysis of contemporary drama and performance for production.

Stage directing is both a craft and an interpretive art. Through seminars and workshops, students examine the fundamental principles, procedures, and practices of stage direction. Students learn about the elements of direction, including play selection, text analysis, venue selection, casting, staging and composition, research, overseeing the rehearsal process, collaborating with the design team and technical crew, and developing a working knowledge of the economics of live theatre production.

Beginning with a non-verbal approach to composition and movement study, and progressing to more formal text work, the module offers an introductory experience through the application of the tools of picturization, composition, and movement. The module sessions culminate in the staging of a ten-minute performance.

This module has a significant amount of experiential in-class learning. Students will be expected to work as committed members of an ensemble, to participate in directing/acting exercises in class and to attend theatre productions in the local arts community outside of class time, and to document such attendance.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:

• Hold a solid foundation in practical directing skills for stage
• Explore and observe approaches to directing a variety of styles of theatre
• Develop practical workshop and directing skills
• Appreciate the technical aspects of directing a theatre production
• Identify specific resources to the process of analyzing a script, with a focus on selecting a central image
• Develop effective casting, staging and rehearsal techniques
• Apply principles of blocking, picturization, pacing and rhythm
• Critically evaluate the directing choices and skills of peers and self
• Create a plan for directing a specific play for a specific venue or festival

Indicative Module Content:

Week 1: The Director in Theatre History
Week 2: Contemporary Issues in Directing- Play Selection & The Casting Process
Week 3: Ground Plan
Week 4: The Table Reading
Week 5: The Text and the Through-line- The Text
Week 6: Blocking and Business
Week 8: Composition for the Stage
Week 9: Movement Workshop
Week 10: Run-Through Rehearsal
Week 11: Tech Rehersal:
Week 12: Showcase -Ten Minute Performance Festival

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Learning is a continual process that requires great commitment from each individual as you learn through your own experiences and through others in the class. Due to the practical nature of this module as an active learning community, absence will directly affect everyone in the class. This means that full and punctual class attendance in each scheduled class is essential and mandatory for success.

The module incorporates collective engagement and performance making. Therefore, being present in class is an essential part of both the teaching and learning process in this module. Students are expected to approach their work in a mature and professional manner. This includes diligent out-of-class preparation and respect for the ensemble. Final course grades will reflect the student's ability to meet deadlines, complete performance assignments with thoroughness and imagination, incorporating lessons into practice, develop scenes with believable and theatrical behaviour, and participating openly in class with thoughtful commentary, eager curiosity, and active listening. Individual conduct, speech and academic honesty in this module shall be governed by the University College Dublin regulations.

Class Participation
Participation in class involves a commitment to be a productive member of the class which involves much more than merely being present. It requires concentration, thoughtful responses during discussions, cooperation in group work, and commitment to the scene work and exercises. Effort, growth, and attitude will be key factors in determining participation grades. Wear comfortable clothing that will allow for freedom of movement.

Directing Exercises
Throughout the trimester, you will be engaging in different exercises as either an actor or as a director.
Each exercise will present challenges that you will have to meet. You must be in class to work on the scheduled workdays and be present for your assigned presentation. These presentations are opportunities to serve as actors for your fellow directors when you are not directing yourself. You must take your work seriously – it is an opportunity for all participants to plan, create, perform, reflect, and receive feedback.

Emotional and Physical Conduct
The nature of this course will necessitate some physical contact between students and between instructor and student. Some of our activities may ask for the actor to be emotionally vulnerable and require emotional contact between participants. If personal information is shared during the class, it is essential that no one makes value judgments or discuss classmates’ personal issues outside of class. There must be a bond of trust within the class that cannot be broken or damaged. If any student feels uncomfortable in any way, this must be discussed with the instructor as soon as possible to remedy the situation.

Safe Zones Statement
The facilitator considers this class to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thoughts is appreciated and encouraged provided you can agree to disagree. It is the facilitator’s expectation that ALL students consider the class a safe environment. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Students will be assessed through on-going rehearsal evaluations, participation, and peer review as well as self-evaluations. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Group Project: Students will create and/or direct a 10-minute theatre performance, based on research and performance techniques acquired. The subject matter will be chosen in negotiation with the MC. Unspecified n/a Graded No


Portfolio: Director's Notebook Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive ongoing feedback in relation to their developing creative work for performance. Students will receive feedback in preparation for assignments/tasks. Individual and group feedback will be offered in the post exam period.

Catron, L.E. and Shattuck, S., 2015. The director's vision: Play direction from analysis to production. Waveland Press.

Dean, A. and Carra, L., 2009. Fundamentals of play directing. Waveland Press.

DeKoven, L., 2006. Changing Direction: A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre: Foreword by Ang Lee. Routledge.

Hodge, F. and McLain, M., 2015. Play directing: Analysis, communication, and style. Routledge.

James, T., 2009. Script Analysis for Actors, Directors, and Designers. Elsevier.

Mitchell, K.,2008. The Director's Craft: A Handbook for the Theatre. Routledge.

Monta, M.F. and Stanley, J.R., 2008. Directing for Stage and Screen. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Name Role
Samantha Cade Tutor
Justine Zapin Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 11:00 - 12:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 25, 29 Tues 11:00 - 12:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 26 Tues 11:00 - 12:50