Having directed more than 120 productions in the past 30 years, Lindsey McAlister (left), founder of the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation, sees a passion to learn as the key requirement for a theatre director. 'There is no specific requirement for the job. The challenge is that you can't learn this craft without doing it - yet no one will engage you unless you've already proved you have some aptitude for it,' she says A theatre director is the leader of a production and its creative team. He or she must bring together a group of talented individuals to create magic for audiences. Directors are responsible for the overall practical and creative interpretation of a dramatic script or musical score, taking into account the budgetary and physical constraints of a production. 'They are involved at all stages of the process, from the design, pre-production and rehearsal, right through to the final performance,' says McAlister. Some directors are also writers, designers and performers and may write, devise, and act in their own works. Theatre directing is not a nine-to-five job and there are no 'regular' hours. It can take years to break into the business, requiring stamina, persistence and sheer optimism. 'I advise anyone who wants to be a director to see as much theatre as possible, meet theatrical people and share ideas, apprentice with someone whose work you respect, form your own company to stage productions, work in any capacity in a theatre and observe the world,' says McAlister.