A theatre company must be organised before a play can make it into an actor's eager hands. The organizational structure of a theatre company depends on the company's approach to crafting the production. However, most theatre companies have similar structural foundations.
Features of a theatre company include an artistic director, who represents the vision of the company while the executive director manages the business end of the company. A theatre company must have a board of directors to be recognised as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. The ensemble is the core group of actors who work with the company. The company may also have a managing director who organises finances.
A production usually begins in the imagination of the artistic director. The artistic director reads a play and wants to produce it. The play is brought to the executive director and the board of directors, or for smaller theatres the entire company. The artistic director and managing director choose a time frame for the production and start scheduling auditions, production meetings, rehearsals and performances. The executive director and managing director begin planning marketing, fundraising and budgeting.
Theatre companies structure their organisations differently based on their needs; for example, a small company and a Broadway production have different needs and thus structure their organisations differently. A standard theatre company structure begins with a directorial head: an artistic director, producing director or executive director. The middle rang of the company's organisation is balanced with business functionaries such as a managing director, marketing director or financial director, who work closely with the artistic staff on funding for a production. Below the second rang of decision makers are educational directors and production managers and finally the actors, resident directors, designers and stage managers. When a production is in rehearsal production managers, directors and stage managers take on major leadership roles.