The new church drama group will typically be mad up of people who have a vague desire to act, maybe someone who wants to direct and possibly someone who fancies having a go at writing. Together you begin to consider scripts and plan when you might perform. Perhaps we need to talk to the minister about themes? Perhaps we need to discuss the space we can use or the microphones available or the lighting or the video equipment or…
Aagh! We’re not doing any acting! We need a producer!
The producer is the manager. In a small group that makes him or her the fixer – the person who makes all the arrangements, who talks to the relevant people, who ensures that you have a place and time to rehearse and (when you are ready) a place and time to perform. Working with the director they ensure that any props you need are ready, any technicalities are taken care of. Will you be on a stage? Have you got a stage? Will the performance be publicized?
Of course, if you have a small amateur group it is quite likely that the person recognised as the leader will just take on the role of producer out of practicality. That’s OK. Your producer doesn’t have to be called producer. There just has to be someone carrying out that role, doing those jobs. Whether you are putting on some short skits in the middle of existing meetings or selling tickets for a major musical production, you can’t do it without a producer.
Now you may have noticed that the producer is responsible for quite a wide variety of things. No one person is likely to be excellent at handling publicity, microphones, props and liaising with the minister or preacher. That is why the producer, if they are wise, will delegate. They will seek out people who are good with these things, whether from within your existing group or elsewhere, and give them roles. Someone, somewhere will be excellent at making or finding props. Someone will know exactly how to set up lighting. The producer will find these people and delegate to them. On large productions they may even be given titles of their own – for instance technical director, costume designer. The more you perform or the bigger your productions, the more important this delegation becomes. No one person can be expected to do everything.
A note to all the actors, writers and directors – please be very nice to your producer! You get told that you have a slot to perform your drama on a certain morning at a certain time and probably don’t appreciate the negotiations that went into getting that to happen. They had to find a day when the theme fitted, find a space for you to perform where you didn’t get in the way of the band, ensure that a certain prop could be driven to that location on that day. You may never know these things, but they are true. So be nice.
Some of you in smaller groups will be saying: But our director does all of this stuff. Well, in that case your director is also your producer. What is a director? That’s another story and another article!
How To Do Drama is a slightly haphazard guide for the new or young drama group and its terrified actors, hopeful director and baffled script writer.
You can see our full collection of instantly-downloadable drama scripts at Drama scripts.