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Stage Directors


In ancient Greek times the choragus, or head of the chorus, coordinated the singing and movements of people in a theatrical production. Often playwrights staged and cast their plays, but it's uncertain if they "unified" their production. In ancient Roman culture, wealthy citizens organized plays and may or may not have taken part in directing the productions. Reports from the Medieval era (following the fall of the Roman empire through the 15th century) indicate that specialists helped produce special stage effects for productions and may have also managed them. Most Medieval theater in Western civilization related to religion and the Church. Many communities staged local productions of mystery plays (depicting Bible stories), morality plays (allegories for the virtues of moral life over evil), and passion plays (dramatizations of the Passion of Jesus Christ).

Professional acting companies emerged in the Elizabethan era and the time of William Shakespeare and the Globe Theater. By the 1800s, the first professional directors appeared on the scene. Actors, playwrights, theater owners, and theater managers frequently remained more prominent in connection with productions, however, until the 20th century when directors earned their current status.

Today stage directors are an essential part of every production. Musicals, dramas, comedies, and all other types of plays, whether produced on Broadway, in summer stock, or even community theater are guided by a stage director. Each director's individual artistic and creative vision drives the platy and may turn a production into a hit.