Thirty years' experience directing plays and musicals with casts of young people.
Ten years in the writing.
A Comprehensive How-to Manual for Directors of Plays and Musicals with Casts of Young People from a Veteran Drama Teacher and Director
by Matt Buchanan
From choosing a play to striking the set when it's over, Directing Kids takes teachers, theatre professionals and others through every step of the process of directing and producing a play or a musical with a young cast. Topics include choosing an appropriate play, casting, assembling a support team, blocking and actor coaching, running rehearsals, dealing with parents, handling discipline, publicity and house management--all presented in clear, step-by-step chapters. Whether you're brand new to the rewarding experience of directing young people or an old hand, anyone who wants to help young casts create memorable theatrical experiences for themselves and their audiences will benefit from Directing Kids, a comprehensive guide to directing and producing plays with young people.
I wrote this book mostly because there wasn't one. Naturally there are plenty of books available about directing, but they're geared towards the director of professional adults. It's not the same thing. Similarly, there are plenty of books and other resources for drama teachers, but if they touch on the actual nuts and bolts of directing, they do so only briefly. Directing a play--directing it really well, which is no more than your students deserve--is not something you can just figure out how to do on your own. Yet school administrators who would never dream of hiring someone to conduct the school orchestra on the strength of her having played clarinet in high school think nothing of hiring someone to direct the school play on the strength of her having played Ado Annie. And the hard-working, dedicated teachers who find themselves in this position have few resources to call upon for help.
The book is written in plain language, and covers not only the craft and art of actually directing the play, but also all of the myriad other tasks a director of professionals would never need to deal with--such as set and lighting, publicity, scheduling, dealing with parents, etc. (Since, in most cases, the director of a play with young people is expected to also function as a default producer.) More importantly, the book approaches every aspect of directing with the particular strengths, challenges and needs that a young cast brings to the process firmly in mind. It is my hope that new directors of young people, and even experienced ones who want to get even better, will find this book a helpful resource, a fount of new ideas, or even a challenge to assumptions.
To get a better idea of what the book covers, you can download a PDF of the Table of Contents and the Introduction HERE.
The book is available on Amazon, and will soon appear on several other sites as well, but you will be doing both me and the publisher a favor if you order it directly from YouthPLAYS by clicking HERE.