NEW YORK CITY: The Drama League announces an overhaul of its directorial service program, the Directors Project. The Drama League’s new programs are the result of a company-wide reevaluation undertaken during the pandemic, in conversations with artists, artistic leaders, producers, activists, and community members. Placing financial stability and guaranteed employment opportunities at the forefront of the initiatives, the new program portfolio expands fieldwide support for directors in the post-pandemic professional theatre landscape.
“Even as our emergency services ramped up during the pandemic, the Drama League felt it was necessary to take time to answer the calls from the field and deeply interrogate our program offerings,” said artistic director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks in a statement. “These programs, which we call the Directors Project, have been industry-leading for 40 years, but this moment brought forth clarity of a set of evolving needs directors and their collaborators have that we can respond to. We hope that other artist development organizations will join us in efforts to deepen, expand, and improve artist care in a fieldwide excavation of what ‘best practices’ can look like.”
In a statement, executive director Bevin Ross expressed gratitude to League alumni, members, the Drama League Directors Council, and theatre partners, including Dallas Theater Center, the Hangar Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre Center, New York Stage and Film, Red Bull Theater, Theatre Communications Group, and TheaterWorksUSA, to “more impactfully serve directors utilizing our resources, to address the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic upon the theatre’s ecosystem, and to confront and dismantle white supremacy inside the arts sector and our institution.”
The new initiatives include the Drama League Stage Directing Fellowships, which offer a two-year experience for early-career stage directors, supported by $100,000 scholarship prize per recipient ($50,000 per year), up to $10,000 in health care insurance reimbursement ($5,000 per year), and a range of opportunities at the organization’s theatre center in New York City and at the fellowship’s partner institutions. Two applicants will be accepted per cycle, the first of which begins May 2022. The deadline for applications is Dec. 31, 2021. The full program description can be found here.
There are also the Drama League Directing Assistantships, in which the Drama League will partner with established BIPOC/global majority stage directors to provide assistant directing opportunities on productions across the United States to the next generation of early-career BIPOC/global majority directors. For each recipient, the Drama League will pay the assistant director’s salary, and reimburse housing, travel and health care costs. In 2022, the Drama League directing assistants will be paired with Jennifer Chang, Lisa Portes, Nicole A. Watson, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh. Four applicants will be accepted for the 2022-2023 season. The deadline for applications is Dec. 31, 2021. The full program description can be found here.
The League will also offer the FutureNow Directing Fellowship, a 15-week experience for early-career stage directors, supported by a $10,000 scholarship prize per recipient and a professional directing contract to direct a TheaterWorks USA touring production and direct and the produce the second-stage season at Ithaca’s Hangar Theatre, as well as up to $1,500 in health care insurance reimbursement. Three applicants will be accepted for this fellowship, which will begin in May 2022. The deadline for applications is Dec 31, 2021. The full program description can be found here.
Finally, there are the Drama League Directing Residencies, which include the Beatrice Terry Directing Residency and the Next Stage Residency in expanded, reimagined formats. Details will be announced in mid-November when applications will open to director applicants for the 2022-2023 season.
Applications for the fellowship and assistantship programs are now available at dramaleague.org.
Drama League Programs are supported in part by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Hyde and Watson Foundation, Sylvia W. and Randle M. Kauders Foundation, Jolene McCaw Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council for the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, EY, and Leo Shull Charitable Fund for the Arts, as well as Drama League members, alumni, and individuals nationwide.
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