A theatre director or stage director is a practitioner in the theatre field who oversees and orchestrates the mounting of a theatre production (a play, an opera, a musical, or a devised piece of work) by unifying various endeavours and aspects of production. The director's function is to ensure the quality and completeness of theatre production and to lead the members of the creative team into realising their artistic vision for it. The director therefore collaborates with a team of creative individuals and other staff, coordinating research, stagecraft, costume design, props, lighting design, acting, set design, stage combat, and sound design for the production. If the production he or she is mounting is a new piece of writing or a (new) translation of a play, the director may also work with the playwright or translator. In contemporary theatre, the director is generally the primary visionary, making decisions on the artistic concept and interpretation of the text and its staging. Different directors occupy different places of authority and responsibility, depending on the structure and philosophy of individual theatre companies. Directors utilize a wide variety of techniques, philosophies, and levels of collaboration.
In some environements there is a convention of referring to the director as the producer.
In South Africa usage tends to follow the American rather than the British convention, where the director is the person responsible for the general interpretation of the play, for the conduct of the rehearsals, guiding and advising performers. (Referred to in Afrikaans – as on the European continent – as the regisseur.) The word producer is reserved, as in the movies, for the organisational person behind a production.
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