WATERFORD, CONN.: Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, National New Play Network, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation have announced the five emerging directors who will participate in the first-ever National Directors Fellowship, American Theatre has learned exclusively.
Lavina Jadhwani of Chicago, Portia Krieger of New York, Larissa Lury of New Mexico, Evren Odcikin of San Francisco and Martin Wilkins of North Carolina will be the first fellows. These directors were selected from a nationwide pool of more than 350 applicants.
“The makeup of this group is impressive, incredibly diverse and representative of those working in the industry today,” said Wendy C. Goldberg, the program director and artistic director of the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, in a statement. “This type of program has been a dream of mine, and we’re truly excited to help nurture and support the next generation of new play directors.”
Planned to run over five years, the program will provide a total of 25 early-career directors with 18 months of professional development opportunities and hands-on experience each, culminating in a potential directing opportunity at an NNPN theatre.
Jadhwani is a freelance director based in Chicago, where she is an artistic associate at Silk Road Rising and Oak Park Festival Theatre. She also served as the artistic director of Rasaka Theatre Company from 2007-2013, where she curated culture/clash: the nation’s first fully-produced South Asian short play festival.
Krieger is a New York-based director specializing in new work, who most recently served as associate director on Fun Home, which is currently in previews on Broadway. Her work has been seen at Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, and Ars Nova, and she has workshopped projects with Second Stage, Roundabout, New York Stage & Film, the Lark, Page 73, and others.
Lury is a freelance director and associate professor at New Mexico State University. She focuses on new work, both scripted and devised, and on the reinvention of lesser-known works, and she has workshopped shows with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, Keen Company, New Georges, and more.
Odcikin is a San Francisco-based director, and he is the director of new plays and marketing at Golden Thread Productions. He had directed productions for Impact Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater, Boxcar Theatre, and he has developed work with South Coast Repertory, the Lark, American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, and Bay Area Playwrights Festival.
Wilkins is the National New Play Network’s producer-in-residence at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte. He has developed new work with playwrights like Jocelyn Bioh, Darren Canady and Katori Hall at theaters such as the Alliance Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, the Hip Hop Theater Festival, the Lark and Primary Stages.
In addition to Goldberg, the selection committee included playwright/director David Auburn, playwright Deb Zoe Laufer, director/playright Robert O’Hara, artistic director of Actors Express Freddie Ashley, executive director of the NNPN Nan Barnett, director of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Gregg Henry and executive director of the O’Neill Preston Whiteway.