The Nova Scotia High School Drama Festival

Preparing to Direct

with Dorian Lang

What is a director looking for in the words of a play? How can we unlock the world of the play, and what clues will uncover the mechanisms that drive the play? Dorian will share some simple tools for reading plays from the perspective of the director and asks participants to apply those skills to sample scenes. He will share Elinor Fuchs’ Visit to a Small Planet so that participants have a foundation in effective questions to keep in mind. The workshop will then move on to scenes from Shakespeare, Beckett, and others to observe the world of the play through a close reading of the text. This workshop will reveal that not only is there a wealth of information available in a scene, but that the questions directors ask will remain the same across styles of writing. Plays take many forms and playwrights use language very differently to illuminate a dramatic world, but this workshop presents foundational questions that a director can use to learn any play.

Materials needed (if any) (digital copies can be supplied)

  • Materials required:
    • EF’s Visit to a Small Planet
  • Sample scenes:
    • Hamlet Act 1 Scene 1
    • Waiting for Godot Act 1 Scene 1

All DramaFest Workshops have limited availability and may also be limited due to bookings by other classes.

The purpose of this lesson is to:

  • introduce skills to mine the text for dramatically significant clues for performance
  • introduce skills for world building as a director


Students will learn the most important components that they can use in directing:

  • How to pull information out of the text
  • How to build a world to inspire fellow artists

Dorian graduated from Dalhousie with a degree in Theatre Studies. Since graduating he directed and created theatre in Halifax, including productions of Hedda Gabler (Head First Productions), Spirits (Up the Hill Theatre), The Story of a Sinking Man (Kick at the Dark Theatre), Instrumental Widows (Us vs Them Theatre), So ho, by so (Ajar Theatre), The Yorkshire Tragedy (Villain’s Theatre) and Foreplay, or the Art of the Fugue (Lions Den Theatre). Dorian was awarded Best Director at Fringe for Spirits, and Kick at the Dark Theatre won Best Production from an Emerging Company at the Merritt Awards for A Story of a Sinking Man. Dorian was last seen on stage in a devised clown show called Worry Duck in the 2019 Halifax Fringe, and in the 2016 Shakespeare by the Sea productions of King Lear, and Pinocchio. View Dorian’s profile.

  1. Students remain seated throughout this workshop.

Please note: Theatre Nova Scotia respectfully requests that schools and community groups ideally do not cancel workshops once they are booked, unless absolutely necessary. If a group must cancel or reschedule, please give us a week of prior notice. In these precarious days for arts workers, TNS is going to great lengths to provide schools with exceptional theatre education and local artists with paid work in our industry. Please be aware that artists may have turned down other paid work to accommodate these workshop bookings. Thank you for your understanding.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions. 

Students stay seated throughout this workshop.