Make it achievable
Once you have decided on what performance you are going to do, you need to make sure that the work is achievable. Try to write down everything that your group of students are going to need to do and know in order for this performance to be a success. Once you have that list prioritise them. Is it more important that your students have time to rehearse than to know the entire theory of naturalism? Can they know a little bit in order for them to achieve their performance? Establish your level of expectation early on. Whilst you want it to be a brilliant performance, you know that there is only certain amount of time available to you and there is a balance between the minimum you want to achieve (a performance) and the ideal of what you want to achieve (a perfect, polished and professional piece of theatre).
Make it work backwards
Once you have your list of minimums and would like to achieve for your performance, you need to begin to plan your sessions out over the number of weeks you will be teaching. Always start at the end, with the performance and work backwards to the start of the project. That way you will begin to have a good understanding of the time frame you have and how long you can assign to the different elements of the performance development process.
Make it in real time
When you are planning out the sessions, you will want to give yourself enough time to do the final rehearsals, the normal rehearsals and the blocking. You’ll need to do a little maths, but add up the amount of time available to you and assign roughly 20% to the learning of new skills, 20% to blocking the show, 10% to finalising the show and 50% to rehearsing the play. Blocking the play really isn’t the most important element of the process, rehearsing and making sure that everything is right for the performance is the most important element. The focus is quality not quantity.
Make it flexible
Having said the above, it is also important that you make your schedule flexible. There can be all number of things that can affect the sessions and your progress from snow to attendance. So you must be flexible to move things, not do things or cover ground quicker than you thought.
Make progress over time
Make sure that you are able to spread the progress over the whole of the schedule or series of sessions. Everyone taking part wants to feel motivated by it and wants to see the show come together during the process and not just at the end. If it is small cast show, make sure that everyone is at every rehearsal to see the performance build, but give those not directly involved in the rehearsal of that scene something else to do. If it is very large cast, only call those involved directly in the scene(s) you’re rehearsing so you don’t have to deal with large numbers of bored and frustrated people.
Make it fun
It can be hard sometime when working towards a final product like a performance, to make it fun. However, remember why the participates are doing it – they are there not to be shouted at and always being told what to do, but to have fun and enjoy it. Your show will be better if the cast enjoy the process.