Directing in some form has always existed in the theater. In ancient Greece playwrights trained their chorus and actors, and medieval religious plays had either individual or group directors. During later centuries the stage manager was the forerunner of the director. In England, Madame Vestris and W. C. Macready were the first to place great emphasis on the importance of rehearsing, and they also introduced realistic scenery and acting techniques. The 19th-century interest in realism, coupled with far-reaching technical advances, made indispensable the director's function of integrating the various and increasingly complex aspects of play production.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.