A Director’s Notes: Stage Directions

Always stress relaxation and natural movements in the Stage Directions. A primary part of the Director’s job is to oversee movement and flow; that is, to direct each actor precisely where they are to be on stage and how they should move as they deliver their lines. This is known as “blocking” the production. With children it is essential to explain the reasoning behind the direction, and to have them be a part of it. Explain that blocking helps develop the characters they play – so much is expressed through body language, on-stage and off!

When we say Stage Right and Stage Left, it is exactly that: As we are standing on the stage looking at our audience, Stage Right is our right; Stage Left, our left. Upstage and Downstage are likely self-explanatory (with Downstage being closest to the audience).

Please see here for our second scene from Twelfth Night, and note how Stage Directions are incorporated to add a dynamic quality to the exchange between Viola and the Captain. Also have a look at the Theatre Games link under Resources for more fun techniques that will help the children become more comfortable with moving on-stage.

The Role of the Narrator: Our Guide for the Adventure

Nothing can damage the rhythm of a performance like an unscripted silence! In all of our productions, we have included a Narrator to provide the guarantee and reassurance of a safety net for our fledging performers. As well as serving as one of the key characters in the production, the Narrator holds a copy of the play and follows along “on book,” always ready to instantly supply a line when and if necessary. This role could be filled by a teacher or an older student.

The Narrator and a podium (a simple music stand can also serve) should be positioned at either Stage Right or Left, where the children can easily look over and get help if they forget a line. The children’s confidence and self-esteem should never be at risk, and a responsive figure such as the Narrator helps to ensure that the young actors have everything in their favor to be comfortable on stage.

Speaking of Narrators – see how we incorporate that role in this scene from Twelfth Night!