Directors: The New Generation

  • Jane Edwardes


Directors have been the pantomime villains of recent years. Are they, some have asked, a necessary evil or just an evil? The overwhelming dominance of the Oxbridge educated director means that actors and directors no longer share their training in common and actors have become alienated by directors whose heads are crammed with intellectual concepts but who have little understanding of the process of acting. Directors are also criticised for productions laced with concepts that are designed to draw attention to their own talents rather than those of the playwright. The director is the most powerful figure in contemporary British theatre and yet he or she (increasingly a she) is often the only person in the room who has never been specifically trained for the job. And yet their job is enormous; directors are expected to be artists, leaders, administrators and enablers. Given such overwhelming expectations, it is perhaps not surprising that some directors are defensive and anxious not to reveal their insecurities, thus closing themselves off from the talents, intuition and potential of the different people in the rehearsal room who should eventually create the pudding that is the production.


Classical Director National Theatre Artistic Director Black Humour Cherry Orchard 
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  1. All quotations and paraphrases are from interviews conducted by the author in September 1991.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Theodore Shank 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Edwardes

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