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From script to stage: A day in the life of a Perry Players director

Michael Stewart will be directing the Perry Players upcoming production of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' based on the novel and animated film.

PERRY, Ga. — Michael Stewart has been in theatre for most of his life, but it wasn't until 2020 when he began his journey as a director.

“I started doing community theatre very late in high school, early college and I’ve just been kind of feet [first] … my entire body enthralled in it ever since,” he said.

He's directing the Perry Players' upcoming production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame based on the novel by Victor Hugo and the Disney animated film.

He says he feels lucky to work with an amazing team beside him on a musical this large.

“I work with some of the greatest people in the area and we start as early as we can, the planning process. You know, just mapping out exactly how we want things to go. We try to be very meticulous in planning every single day throughout the process,” he said.

Stewart has taken the stage in his career, but he says lately he’s been bitten by the directing bug.

“Every now and then I feel that itch and I want to be onstage, so it’s been a couple years since I was on stage in a show, but I absolutely enjoy it and I feed off the energy of the actors I get to direct as well, which feeds that a lot of the time too,” he said.

He says the biggest asset for people who want to get into directing is to be familiar with many different aspects of theatre.

“I music directed, I worked on tech, I did a lot of stage crew work... so I think just having that experience and that exposure to different areas makes you a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident stepping into a role where you have to manage all those different areas,” said Stewart.

He says each show he's been a part of is a learning and growing experience.

“I have found something, a lesson, that I have taken as a director from every show that I have taken part in and I've taken it with me into the next as a lesson to be better as a director and as a leader,” he said.

You can see the Perry Players' production of the Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Perry Players Community Theatre from April 21 until May 8. For tickets, you can check out their website.

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