Advice for Actors about working with Directors

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When working with a director, don’t: throw wild punches; give noogies to people in beanies; push people over from behind; or take random naps. This all looks bad to the director & will not help your chances of being cast again.

The Samuel French sponsored everything-theatre website Breaking:(Character), recently posted an article (originally from Dramatics Magazine) discussing the “dos & don’ts” of working with a Director. As varied as directors can be in personality, style, & taste, there do exist some basic theatre etiquette truths that actors (young & old) would be keen to observe when working with the old head honcho in the theatre space.

Key tips from this article include:

  1. Do the basics. Be on time. Know your lines. Be a pleasant as well as creative part of the room. Listen carefully. Contribute. Directors notice all this. They will give more to those who are readily helpful to the process.
  2. If you have a complex question or issue that will take some time to hash out, ask to see the director after rehearsal or before the next one. Directors would rather not bring the rehearsal to a screeching halt for an endless discussion.
  3. Do compliment the director when you feel a compliment is richly deserved. […] (However) we don’t like being buttered up when we know it’s butter. Real interest in what’s being done is always a pleasure for the director. We are in this together.
  4. You can, and should, ask for more time on a moment or scene when you are sure that the time will improve the work. However, don’t do this too often (unless you are playing Hamlet or Hedda), lest you be thought a rehearsal hog. Say, “Could we run those eight lines again?” or “Sometime could we have another work session on this scene?” But keep in mind that directors never have enough time. They may not be able to do what you wish immediately. The phrase “whenever you have time” helps.
  5. Discuss with the director—don’t argue. The rule of thumb is that directors always win an argument, but everybody wins in a discussion.
  6. Don’t say that something the director proposes “won’t work” or “can’t be done” until you’ve tried it three times. Then “discuss.”
  7. Learn your lines on time. If you are playing a smaller part and the guy playing Hamlet knows his lines before you do, the director will notice and make negative judgments about your work habits. Remember, when you need work or want more casting, you’ll wish you had been noticed positively.
  8. Please, please, please, please do not say, “My character wouldn’t do that.” First, it’s not “your” character; it’s the playwright’s character. Second, the shape of the character is a coproduction between you and the director. You don’t own it. Discuss the moment but do not say… you know what.
  9. Be sensible about the time you demand from the director. Everybody wants and needs her attention. […] Remember that there is never enough time. Have a sense of proportion. And don’t keep asking, “How am I doing?” It’s annoying, and it’s an unanswerable question. Basically, if you are in rehearsal, you are “doing” and it’s getting better. That’s how you’re “doing.”

Click here to read the entire article at Breaking:(Character).

Also, click here for past CYT Blog post on “What a CYT Director wants you to know about Auditions” or here for a CYT Blog post on the transition from “CYT Student to Director (Sort of)”.

Hope this helps! Wishing you a happy theatre life!


Looking for a Job?

Have you ever dreamed of working for CYT? Or perhaps you don’t know much about CYT, but you’re looking for an environment where talent is celebrated, family is valued, and work is done with excellence, integrity and FUN! Look no further. Here are some opportunities around the country that might be just what you’re looking for.


CYT Inc. seeks part time Administrative Assistant. Responsible for assisting in the day-to-day operations of CYT Inc., including, but not limited to, invoicing, fulfilling orders, travel plans, and event assistance. Located in El Cajon, CA. Click HERE for more details on the job and how to apply.


CYT Denver currently seeking class instructors in all disciplines of Theatrical Arts. For more information click HERE.


Spring Intern – CYT NYC seeks a “jack-of-all-trades” full-time intern who is willing to dive in and be a vibrant team member supporting CYT’s spring session and production of Willy Wonka, which will perform in an Off-Broadway theater in June.  Get a hands on look at how an urban-based, start up CYT affiliate is run and gain valuable experience for the future. Commitment length is negotiable:  mid-April to mid-May through end of June. There will be a modest stipend offered, but no housing available (sorry!). If interested and available, please send a resume and cover letter to

Theater Artists (ongoing) - CYT NYC seeks experienced, enthusiastic and committed Theater Arts teachers for future sessions in all disciplines and specialities including technical theater.  CYT NYC runs classes in both NYC and NJ with a Brooklyn-based area opening later this year.  Feel free to recommend qualified friends or family! If interested and living in NYC Metro Area, please send picture, resume and cover letter to


Still haven’t seen a job listed near you? CYT has 25 affiliate locations around the country and each city is always looking for new team members throughout the year. Go to and fins the city nearest you. Click on their “contact” page and shoot them an email! It couldn’t hurt! And if you aren’t already convinced, check out our previous blog post titled “8 Reasons to Work for CYT”.

8 Reasons to Work for CYT – by Sarah Preston, CYT Santa Cruz


About the Author: Sarah Preston started with CYT Santa Cruz in the spring of 2012. Since then, she has Stage Managed multiple productions, coached Improv, taught class and CYT@School, coordinated summer camps, assisted in fundraising, and serves as HYPE Advisor.

After 10 years of working with kids, I can honestly say I have never been more challenged and inspired than during my time with CYT Santa Cruz. It has changed the way I think about kids, artistry, families, and ministry.

Here are my 8 Reasons to Work for CYT

1. CYT makes you laugh

Once at auditions, an 18 year old (improv kid of course) sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” as his audition song. His final verse?

If you’re happy and you know it give a wink
If you’re happy and you know it give a wink
If you’re happy and want a creepy way to show it
If you’re happy and you know it give a wink

I always cherish moments like this because the kids remind me not to take things so seriously. So often I can get wrapped up in the craziness of shows, classes, CYT@School, HYPE etc that I forget about the real reason I work for CYT: to serve God by serving kids. When a kid tells a funny joke or makes a funny face, it awakens the Child-loving Holy Spirit inside my heart.

2. The kids give you perspective.

As HYPE Advisor, I try to encourage critical thinking during our meetings. Continue reading

Summer Camp in February!

It’s already February, and that means (believe it or not) that CYT summer camp planning is well on its way! CYT affiliates combined put on over 150 summer camps around the country each year. Each camp ends with a musical performance, showcasing material that students learned throughout the week. That’s a lot of singing, acting and dancing!

New CYT camp themes for 2015 include “Camp Awesome” (a totally, radical 80s inspired camp), “Camp All Aboard” (where campers travel via cruise ship to tropical locations around the globe), and “Aladdin” (CYT’s own adaptation of the classic tale). To find out more about the specific camps that CYT offers, email

In addition to using our own CYT in-house published materials, CYT also offer its students access to great shows that we’ve sourced from outside publishing companies. For example, last summer, CYT San Antonio performed Freckleface Strawberry based on the New York Times bestselling book by Julianne Moore, as part of one of their teen CYT Camps.

Photo by Carol Rosegg

Freckle face Strawberry the Musical – Photo by Carol Rosegg

Check out the fun news that CYT San Antonio’s Artistic Director, Sandi Mitchell, shared with us about that production of Freckleface Strawberry:

“The lyricist and songwriter for Freckleface Strawberry (the musical we did last summer as a teen camp) contacted us!  He even posted info (about our production) and our video on his Facebook page. What a tremendous honor! When one of our teens, Lauren Tysdal, heard that he had posted our video on his Facebook page she immediately said, ‘By people watching it and finding out what CYT is, it could open the doors for them to learn about Jesus! All glory to God!'”

CYT San Antonio

CYT San Antonio

And you thought it was just another summer camp! At CYT we don’t do “just” anything.

Don’t miss the opportunity to sign up for a CYT camp near you! Go to and search for a camp in your town!

Through the Looking Glass

EXPO_2014_LogoHalloween is not my favorite day. I can remember taking my young son trick-or-treating when he was a toddler. We went to a neighborhood that went all out with their decorations. House upon house had darkened their porch, made hatchets with dripping blood and had recordings of howling and moaning. Decorating with Evil. I remember my baby boy and the fear mixed with desire because he knew that if he could walk past the evil he would get…candy.

Halloween is about masks and disguises. It is about dressing up and pretending to be someone or something else. You’ve had that moment that someone walked up to you in a mask and just stood next to you. Standing there uncomfortable you wonder who it is…

Moses wore a mask. Really the burning bush, part the red sea, let-my-people-go, guy wore a mask. He had been up on Mount Sinai. Exodus 33:11 says, “The Lord spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to a friend.” While up on the mountain with God, Moses asked for something huge…he asked to see God. Not just a burning bush or a cloud but to actually see the glory of God. The problem is to see the face of the holy God would have utterly destroyed Moses.

So God set Moses in the cleft of a rock and covered his eyes until after God passed by. Moses was able to see the result of God’s glory – the trail that came after. That trail was enough to set Moses face aglow. When Moses came back down his glowing face freaked people out; they were terrified.

So Moses put on a mask. The Bible actually calls it a veil.

Seems like a pretty good idea right? I mean that way the people would not be afraid and could actually hear God’s message for them. And that worked pretty good until Moses started liking the mask a little too much. Remember the mask was not God’s idea…it was Moses’. The glowing face would fade the longer he was away from God’s presence.

The problem according to the Apostle Paul is that Moses would keep on the mask even though the glory of God faded from his face.

The commandments given through Moses were hard to keep. People make mistakes and sin. Sin takes us out of favor with God, and we no longer reflect His glory. That changed with Jesus. His death and resurrection changed things. He became the ultimate, eternal sacrifice for our sins. His sacrifice actually takes away the veil and we are able to fully reflect the glory of God.

Paul says, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is Spirit – makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” (1 Cor 3:18 NLT)

As Christians our dwelling in Christ transforms us into His image and reflect our Holy God to those around us.

Our theme for CYT in 2014 is “Through the Looking Glass”. It is based on 1 Corinthians 3:18 that we would reflect the glory of the Lord. The when people look at us they would see Christ. By ourselves we are not perfect but in Christ we are made clean and holy – for God’s glory.

Contributed by Pastor Tom Kirkendall, CYT Inc. Board Member

The World is a Stage

CPPerformers_2col recently put the spotlight on the CYT Denver community.

CYT student Ally Fritsch told the media outlet that she loves everyone at CYT because, “they are all so friendly and accepting of others.”

“For example, on my first day of rehearsals for my first show, I had just barely walked in the door when a really nice girl came up and befriended me.  She is one of my best friends now!”

Fritsch’s mom, Nancy, said the shows require a ton of effort to make them happen.

“There is so much love and dedication and it really shows in the high-quality productions,” she said.