The Elevated Stage: Creating Your Rehearsal Schedule | Britney Verria | Skillshare

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The Elevated Stage: Creating Your Rehearsal Schedule

teacher avatar Britney Verria, Performer. Director. Teaching Artist.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. TES Creating Your Rehearsal Schedule Introduction

    • 2. Assessing Givens

    • 3. Work Backwards

    • 4. Time Cushions

    • 5. Benchmark Goals

    • 6. Tech Week Checklist

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About This Class

Hi there! My name is Britney Verria, I am a professional theatre performer, director, and teaching artist. My passion for creating exceptional pieces of theatre has brought me my love of teaching theatre, and now I want to help you to best execute your project. In the community, amateur, and semi-professional theatre spaces, what separates the exemplary theatre programs from the rest is a smart, efficient use of time, talent, and resources. 

In this course, you will take your theatrical directing project from "the page to the stage" and map out your rehearsal schedule! At this point, you have decided on the written theatrical work that you plan to direct and have chosen your cast, crew, and creative team. You will learn to decide how many rehearsals to plan for, how to set realistic expectations for your time in rehearsal, and how to make the most of your time, resources, and team!

Meet Your Teacher

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Britney Verria

Performer. Director. Teaching Artist.


Hello, I'm Britney! I am a New England based professional theatre performer, director, and teaching artist. In addition to over a decade's worth of experience in this field, I hold a BA in Theatre Studies from Ithaca College as well as a Theatre Teaching Certificate for grades K-12 from the Rhode Island Department of Education. Outside of my passion for my performing arts career, I also enjoy knitting and sketching as hobbies :)

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1. TES Creating Your Rehearsal Schedule Introduction: Hi there. Welcome to the elevated stage. Creating your rehearsal schedule. My name is Brittney Veria. I'm a professional theater performer, director and teaching artist. This course is designed to take your idea from page to stage, allowing you to plan for the best use of your rehearsal time in five video lessons. The course picks up at the planning process, assuming that you have already chosen the written piece that you would like to direct and chosen your actors, crew and creative team. Let's make the most of the time. Talent and resource is that you've assembled and elevate your rehearsal schedule. Thanks for joining me. 2. Assessing Givens: Ah, before you can start dreaming about all that your project could be, you need to do what I call assess your givens, that is, take stock of all the resource is available to you, starting with time. When is your show going up? Sometimes this is set in stone. A theater has given you a production weekend when you're going up, and sometimes you have more freedom. Let's say, for examples sake, you have five weeks from now until your show opens. Next up, How many pages of content do you have to stage? Is it a 10 minute play? Is it a five act Shakespeare? Let's call it a two act play for now, with 6 to 7 scenes per act. Thirdly, what are your space limitations? Is your rehearsal space effectively flexible to your schedule? Are you guarantee just a few nights a week? Let's say you can have Monday through Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. And Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. This is fairly standard. Lastly, take stock of any special schedule considerations specifically in the amateur community and semi professional theater spaces. Such things are often unavoidable. These air just practical things to keep in mind, such as one actor is only available every other Sunday or another actor is going out of town for a few days. Knowing these things ahead of time and noting them in your planning can save a headache later. Now you've got your givens or known factors. Your list should look something like this. Head to the work backwards video for our next lesson. 3. Work Backwards: Let's talk about working backwards by this. I mean, looking at the opening weekend of your show and tracing your timeline back all the way to your first rehearsal. Structuring your rehearsal schedule this way helps you start with the goal in mind and allows everyone to think realistically in practically about the project ahead. So here we go. As a basic review, let's discuss the must haves in your rehearsal schedule that is Tech Week. Full show run throughs and stumble throughs, as well as regular blocking rehearsals where actors learn and rehearse your staging. F Y I Tech Week is reserved for technical and dress rehearsals. Stumble through Czar When you present a rough draft of all of your blocking and directing choices, run throughs of your show can happen after some kinks have been worked out in the stumble throughs and you've had time to fix or re stage things. Okay, let's review, Remember, were working backwards here in backwards order. We have opening night Tech week, full show run throughs and full show stumble throughs. Now the question just becomes about numbers. Let's go back to our list of givens. Look at the space category and see how many meeting times you're able to hold rehearsals per week. Now think realistically. On what day do you want to complete a rough draft blocking of the show? By this, I mean you're blocking doesn't need to be final until you are satisfied with it. But I highly advise giving yourself a date to complete the rough draft of blocking so the scenes will have started moving and your actors will have something to go off of. This will help everyone to feel more confident about the state of the production. Working with the five week rehearsal period. Example, the break down could work out like this. Let's say you've preliminarily decided that the run throughs should take place the week before Tech Week, and the stumble through should happen the week before that. That leaves you two weeks to block your show. Now pause Here again. Your list of givens comes into play. You must assess the time that you're spaces available and decide whether or not two weeks would offer you enough time to block your show. Keeping in our example, with space available Monday through Thursday nights from 7 to 10 p.m. And Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. Let's say that, yes, you believe that you can have your blocking done in two weeks. Otherwise, this would be a good time to consider getting rid of a run through or stumble through and moving the remainder of run throughs and stumble through is closer together, giving you more time to block. There's no simple answer here, but I hope you're starting to see how laying it all out now allows you to have a realistic expectation right away. Here's an example of how that would look. As you can see here. The first rehearsal of the show is in green. Almost two weeks from that is the rehearsal where you must finish your rough draft of blocking that is the date marked in orange. The following week has to designated rehearsals marked in pink thes air. Your stumble through dates a day has been left between these two dates as a cushion will touch on that in the next video. The following week has three dates marked in blue. They are in order, an Act one run through an act to run through and a full show run through with one day of cushion between the ACTU and full show runs. Lastly, Tech Week, An opening weekend are marked on our last week in yellow. So that's how we worked backwards and look realistically at how the basics of the schedule will play out Head to the time cushions video for our next lesson. 4. Time Cushions: this video less than will be quick. I just wanted to explain a major necessity for your rehearsal schedule. Time cushions these air additional days that should be put in your rehearsal schedule as TBD blocking or fix it times. All actors should be informed that they may be called in for rehearsal on these days, and you will notify them once the day gets closer and you've decided how to allocate the time. Some reasons for this are maybe someone called out sick from a rehearsal and a scene didn't get finished. Or maybe the blocking proved to be too challenging and the scene couldn't get finished in the previously allocated rehearsal time. It could always be the case that this time doesn't get used, But what's the worst that can happen? Maybe these days could be a great review day or fine tuning day. Trust me, adding these days and now can Onley help you later on in your process? Here's that example. Schedule I shall do in the last video with some added rehearsals. See here how have allocated time for blocking the scenes in purple and added a cushion time in orange. The full schedule can also be found in the class. Resource is section under the file labels T. E s your rehearsal schedule. Example. In template as a side note, there are two rehearsals marked here that I haven't mentioned yet. These are the two first rehearsals seen here in green. They are the Read through day and the Table Work Day. This is the ideal way to start any project, of course, but if you really are in a time crunch, they may need to be condensed down to one day to allow for other rehearsals. F y I The read through is when the whole cast sits down and reads through the entire show and table work is the day for the whole cast to discuss the story, characters and production through their perspective. Both are invaluable days for the director actors, an entire creative team to begin hearing the story told from the voices Who will be performing it. So that's how and why we map out the rehearsal schedule. Allowing for time cushions. Next up is our benchmark goal video lesson 5. Benchmark Goals: way. Benchmark goals are important parts of every planning process. These are great ways to check in on your progress and stay goal oriented throughout the entire rehearsal schedule. These air date set in your schedule. That act as due dates for parts of your rehearsal process may certainly add more, but here are some essential benchmark ALS. As I mentioned before, one benchmark all is completing your rough draft of blocking. Secondly, make sure to set a date for all of your actors to be off book. That is, to have all of their lines memorized. I would recommend setting this date for your stumbled Bruce. Then at Stumble Through, you can have a stage manager or assistant on book to feed the lines to the actors. Should they call line later. Have a firm off book date set for your run through when actors can no longer call for line . Next, have a date set for one to have your scene transitions completely organized and communicated to the caster crew handling the transitions. This goal we met in a variety of ways. It could be a side meeting during rehearsal time, an email that gets sent out or separate conversations with the people handling the transitions can be had whenever you have time. Transitions, of course, do not take precedence to seen blocking rehearsals, but they should at least be communicated to those handling them by the run throughs of the show and be running smoothly by your first night of technique. Another due date to say, is when you would like your actors to start rehearsing using costumes and props. You certainly don't want mid technique to be the first time your actors, air rehearsing were actually holding in watering pieces, costumes and props air more than just parts of your show. They help to create a world for your actors, so do yourself and your team of favor and start integrating them into the rehearsals, at least by your final rehearsal before Tech Week. These are the necessary benchmark goals to keep in mind during your rehearsal process with your actors. Check out our next and final video, where I will walk you through setting a Tech Week checklist 6. Tech Week Checklist: So here we are at your last video lesson. At this moment, you have all but finalized your rehearsal schedule, Taking into account all necessary factors. You set realistic yet challenging goals for yourself and your team. I wanted to create this last video lesson toe walk you through your expectations for Tech Week and Showtime by now you've seen this example schedule a few times again the final week before your show opens, his technique reserved for tech and dress rehearsals, marrying all of the creative and technical decisions you've made throughout your process. In the example schedule, you'll see that the Saturday before you open is usually reserved for a 10 out of 12 rehearsal were all cast and crew members are called for a 12 hour period with a two hour dinner breaks scheduled in the middle. Now that's at the professional level. Perhaps this is not an attainable goal for your rehearsal period. Regardless, I encourage you to use this day as a huge workday to catapult yourself for a successful tech process. By the end of this weekend, you should be ready for three full tech dress runs of the show for the upcoming week during your tech week, you should have separate actor call and current times indicated on your schedule. As seeing here, I would highly recommend setting and sticking to these times as religiously as possible. This will ensure that everyone keeps working. You can get as many clean show runs as possible and everyone's time will be respected. And this is the final note that I want to end this course on respecting the time of your cast crew and creative team members. This is the easiest way to ensure that you will have a positive, productive process and also a great way to kick off any new professional relationships you have made along the way. If you have any questions about this or any other video lesson or would like to reach out to me directly, feel free to visit my website at Britney, very a dot com and click the contact page. Best of luck to you on your project, and I sincerely hope that this course has served you well