Establishing character and plot

Director Michael Buffong guides two actors to a deeper understanding of the characters they play and their motivations

The aim of performing is to ensure that the playwright’s intentions can be communicated to an audience. Knowing what these intentions are will help a performer choose how to perform. It is a performer’s job to interpret and perform a character as appropriate to the demands of the performance. Creating this character is known as characterisation. This has to be held or sustained throughout the performance.

The medium of theatre affects how a performer interprets a script - traditionally, TV and film have required more subtle and controlled acting choices than theatre. Staging configuration should also be considered when deciding how to perform a script. If the performance is on stage, then the type of staging or space is crucial. For example, a performer in an intimate studio space might perform very differently compared to performing in a large, outdoor amphitheatre.


When working from a script, readthroughs are a chance to read through and analyse the play, helping to establish the plot features and characters. From this, discussions can begin on how best to transfer this all from page to stage and performers can experiment with how they will perform the lines.