Find your tribe.
Why the hell didn't anyone tell me? Why didn't they tell me that being a director in community theatre wasn't just about the creation of a piece of theatre?
It would have been good to get a heads up, all those years ago, that I would be dealing with situations that have absolutely nothing to do with the darned script.
Oh, the sleepless nights; the conversations in my head with people that I want to smack around the head with a wet fish; solving problems that should never have happened.
People bring so much to rehearsals. Life, stress, health, insecurities. I decided long ago that the rehearsal space would be a safe space and that we would be problem solvers - "It is what it is" is my mantra - But oh boy, it can be tough sometimes.
Being the one who sets the culture of the group means you can't lose your cool. Well, you can but you've got to be careful with whom and how.
You can't carry the emotional and mental load of directing (which is leadership) alone. It's too much. You have to be able to share the load with someone who will allow you to 'download', problem solve, and sometimes just 'lose it'.
I have my people who know me well enough to know when to challenge me and when to stick a lollipop in my mouth to stop me whinging.
If you're in a position of leadership in your theatre company, or directing a production, make sure you've got someone who will be honest with you when you need some strong truth, someone who won't take your 'exhaustion rants' seriously and encourages you when you feel you're carrying the world on your shoulders.
I have a tendency to 'look after everyone' which is cute but stupid. I'm not strong enough for that. But when you have the right people around you, you find your fierce and achieve more than you ever would alone.
Sherryl-Lee Secomb is the creator of An Idiot On Stage.
The Idiot exists to encourage and equip community theatre to expect more and be extraordinary. Check out more of the Idiot at anidiotonstage.com.au. Follow the Idiot on facebook and instagram, and enjoy hundreds of theatre resources on the Idiot's pinterest boards.
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