Cartoon by Max India

Appointment/Assignment of Directors

Working with Aspiring Directors

Directors must be current members of AWL.

AWL directors should either:

  • have prior professional experience of at least one professional contract
    as a director or
  • have acted as aspiring director for two AWL readings or
  • have prior directing experience with AWL and have been nominated
    by the AWL committee.

An AWL director may be asked to mentor an aspiring (non-professional or inexperienced) director to assist with the development of directing talent for AWL

Directors may decide for themselves whether or not to accept the responsibility of nurturing an aspiring director.  (Click here for our guidelines for aspiring directors.)  Directors who accept the responsibility of nurturing an aspiring director are expected to take the initiative of contacting their protégé and discussing/negotiating the process.
Directors are assigned to specific readings by AWL’s Directors Co-ordinators.  Decisions are based on directors’ professional experience. 

Accepting the Assignment and Meeting the Writer

Cartoon by Max India

Having been invited to direct a specific reading, the director is required to read the script as promptly as possible. If the assigned director is unwilling to direct the play, the Directors Co-ordinators must be advised as soon as possible, so that an alternative director may be appointed. 

The director should consult with the writer as soon as possible to discuss the play, its content and the writer’s intentions. 

The director should raise any practical and dramaturgical issues at the earliest opportunity.  In the event of any difference of opinion, the director and writer should seek to agree a mutually acceptable approach, bearing in mind their respective professional experience.  Where no agreement can be reached, it is expected that both will inform the Directors Co-ordinators immediately to allow an alternative director to be appointed.

Casting & Rehearsal

The writer may have suggestions as to the casting of specific characters.  The writer may even have written a part with a particular actor in mind.  All such suggestions and requests will be considered with regard to actors’ availability, recent
AWL castings and attendance at meetings when not cast. 

Cartoon by Max India

The process of making casting decisions is a matter for the director and Casting Co-ordinator(s) only.   N.B. Directors should be aware that writers are specifically advised not to approach actors directly to discuss casting possibilities at any stage of the casting process.

Rehearsals for a rehearsed reading are normally called for the day before the performance. The Emerald Room on the 4th floor of The Polish Centre is usually made available between 11.00am and 3.00pm (4 hours only) on the Sunday prior to the Reading, at the writer’s expense.

Alternative rehearsal venues and extended rehearsal periods are viewed by AWL as private arrangements.  The writer will be responsible for informing the AWL Chairman in good time to make the cancellation with the Polish Centre.  The writer will bear responsibility for the cost of hiring the Polish Centre rehearsal facilities if the facilities are cancelled after the Thursday prior to the reading. 

Once the rehearsal arrangements have been confirmed, the administration of the rehearsal and performance of the reading become the sole responsibility of the director.

The director should bear in mind that each reading should be presented with maximum dramatic effect, to allow the writer to gauge the play’s potential for development and to enable the audience to provide constructive criticism. Cartoon by Max India

The director will also be aware that valuable rehearsal time will be needed to explain his/her treatment of the play and the proposed blocking. In order to make the most of the time available, the director must plan a short briefing and prepare the blocking before the rehearsal is due to begin

If the director decides to employ the use of sound in any form, it is up to the director, and where applicable, the aspiring director to prepare this in advance and have the flexibility to change on the day, if necessary.

Cartoon by Max India As professional actors, the cast will expect the director to listen to their opinions and suggestions and concerns during the rehearsal.  The director must not ignore this important input to the rehearsal.  At the same time the director will be expected to maintain focus and direction to ensure the optimum use of a very short rehearsal period.

Should a short extra rehearsal be required, there will be time for this on the evening of the reading (from 6.15pm until 7.15pm) in the Bridge Room at the Polish Centre.

Directors are expected to view the reading of a play with the same commitment as a professional engagement.

AWL depends upon a spirit of positive collaboration by all members.  The involvement of writers, directors, aspiring directors and actors may be declined because of behaviour deemed to be inappropriate by AWL

Competition Nights

Competition nights are different in format: a number of short plays or sketches are read in one evening.  The duration and theme of these are set out by the committee some weeks before.

You may be asked to direct a sketch or short play for a competition night by the Directors Co-ordinators.  Rehearsal for this will normally take place in the Bar on the 4th Floor of the Polish Centre, which will only be available between 6.15pm and 7.15pm on the evening of the competition.

Casting for competition sketches is carried out by the Casting Co-ordinators in the weeks before the competition.

Often no director is appointed for a competition sketch, in which case the cast take advice from the writer, and organise their own rehearsal and staging.

Showcase Nights

Showcase nights have yet another format.  The programmes consist of monologues and speeches lasting (typically) no more than five minutes each.  These performances:

  • provide an opportunity for actors new to AWL to show their acting abilities to the membership, and in particular to AWL directors and Casting Co-ordinators;
  • give AWL writers additional opportunities to have monologues and short speeches heard for the first time.

Cartoon by Max India

New actors are free to decide whether or not to perform any script.

AWL directors are warmly invited to offer new actors any help that they may need when preparing their performance in a showcase.

Actors make their own rehearsal arrangements for showcase readings.