Introduction to Directing2018-10-02T13:47:10+00:00

Introduction to Directing

For groups of potential directors from backgrounds currently under-represented in theatre

A group of young people in discussion

Applications are now closed. We will be announcing the successful companies running Introduction to Directing courses in late November 2018. Please check back to see if there’s a course near you! 

“Our first RTYDS Introduction to Direction project helped us consider ways to support BAME directors across the work of the Rep and how we might work to introduce them to and support them within the wider theatre ecology. We can now do the same for D/deaf and disabled directors. We are beginning to talk to partners across the region about how we might continue to support these artists in a joined-up way.”
Tessa Walker (associate director, Birmingham Rep)


Introduction to Directing offers intensive practical training for people (over 18 years of age) who are interested in finding out whether or not a career as a director is for them. Each host theatre, company or consortium creates a programme of at least five full days which includes a mix of hands-on practical work, observation, discussion with experienced practitioners and an introduction to further opportunities.

Theatre companies are invited to identify a group of young potential directors, local to them, with whom they wish to work. Participants should live near to the theatre company and have a specific interest in directing rather than in acting or any other theatre craft. This opportunity is for people from backgrounds currently under-represented in UK theatre as a result of barriers arising from social, gender, financial, ethnic, cultural, geographic or educational disadvantage or disability.

Companies are invited to design and run a project best suited to introduce its chosen participants to the basics of theatre directing. £2,500 of support is available to enable the company to run an Introduction to Directing project.

Information for Theatre Companies

This is an opportunity for people (over 18 years of age) who are interested in finding out whether or not a career as a director is for them. It is aimed at people from communities presently under-represented in the theatre because of social, financial, ethnic, cultural, geographic or educational disadvantage or disability.

Theatre companies are invited to identify potential directors, local to them, with whom they wish to work. Participants should live near to your theatre company and have a specific interest in directing rather than in acting or any other theatre craft. All participants must be resident in the UK.

Companies are invited to design and run a project best suited to introduce its chosen participants to the basics of theatre directing. £2,500 of support is available to enable the company to run an Introduction to Directing project.

The programme is for professional producing theatre companies based in England (outside London), that have a practicing artistic director, a track record of education and outreach work and knowledge of artist development. The companies can be touring or building-based and of any scale. We welcome companies to apply as consortia, for example, a touring company can apply with a theatre.

You can apply for more than one of our programmes at the same time. If you do so, you will need to make clear how the strands of work would complement and support each other and also demonstrate your capacity to support more than one initiative.

We would like to see between five and ten people take part in the project and for it to contain at least five full days (six hours or more per day) sessions of contact time with the company.

The project must be led by an experienced professional director and should be fun and informative. It should provide an introduction to the role of the director, demonstrate the skills of the job, involve practical exercises and talk about possible career paths.

Each theatre company should design and run a project best suited to introduce their own participants to the basics of theatre directing.

Depending on the company and participants, the project may take place over a number of weeks or in a concentrated period, but it should add up to at least five full day sessions of contact time for participants.

You need to deliver your project within six months of your successful application.

Please download an Application Pack

Tell us briefly about what your project will entail, expected start date, who the potential directors taking part will be and how they might help us to meet our objective to find talent within under- represented communities. You should explain how your company intends to recruit the participants and how you will support and engage with them after the project ends. RTYDS is happy to provide advice and support if needed.

You should email your application to: rtyds@rtyds.co.uk

Once your application has been received we may ring you for an initial discussion to talk through your application.

Applications are assessed on the basis of:

  • the quality of the proposal and benefit to the potential directors
  • the track record of the company and artists involved
  • the clarity of approach in identifying and supporting under-represented potential directors

In each round we will aim for a geographical spread of theatres and a mix of smaller and larger companies.

Decisions will be made by the board of RTYDS, individual board members are not involved in considering applications from theatres to which they are personally connected.

The deadline is 12.00 midday on Monday 1st October 2018. Once you have submitted your application you will hear within a month of the deadline if it has been successful.

If you would like to have a chat before submitting your application please contact Davinia Jokhi, Project Producer, or ring 0161 883 0296.

All participants must be resident in the UK.

Guidelines for Directors

Participants for Introduction to Directing are recruited directly by participating theatre companies. No professional experience is needed to take part. Participants should be over 18 years of age, live locally to the theatre, and want to know more about directing in theatre.

If you are interested in becoming a director and taking part in an Introduction to Directing project, we recommend that you talk to your local professional theatre to see if they might apply to host one.

Feedback from participants and partner theatres

Tessa Walker, Associate Director, Birmingham REP
“Introduction to Directing has without a doubt diversified our pool of directors, all of whom are here a lot and see the REP as their home. They work on our shows, readings and workshops, see shows here, are very frequently in the office and using rehearsal space. They all became part of the larger Foundry and it’s hard to imagine a time when they weren’t around.”

Joe, Introduction to Directing participant:
“I’ve never experienced a course like that before. I believed that theatre was a closed off world; so being involved has been life changing.”

Dark Horse Theatre:
“It is essential for the survival of theatre that diversity is more widely represented.  Through funding a short course RTYDS gave emerging directors who will influence the future of theatre making the opportunity to work with Dark Horse – gaining insight into the rehearsal room process when working with actors with learning disabilities, dispelling the myths and giving the directors the skills and the confidence to follow a more open approach in their future careers.”

Raven, Introduction to Directing participant::
“I realised that directing is a two way street and that there is room for someone like me to find my way in.”

Widening participation

We particularly want to work with theatre companies to help to uncover more diverse talent across the country, discovering new directors and ideas in communities and groups currently under-represented in artistic leadership of UK theatre. To ensure that theatre companies reach as wide a demographic as possible we have drawn up a short document for theatres: Widening Participation Guidelines. If you have any additions to these guidelines please let us know.

If you would like to have a chat before submitting your application please contact Davinia Jokhi, Project Producer, or ring 0161 883 0296.

RTYDS Code of Conduct

RTYDS wishes to support those who take part in programmes in their right to an open and supportive working environment. Our Code of Conduct details the procedure for reporting a complaint and how RTYDS will act once a complaint has been received.

Theatre companies who have hosted Introduction to Directing

“Where opportunities for an emerging director are scarce this scheme is a gold-mine. The scheme enabled me to take my first steps in a supportive and inspiring environment. I am hugely indebted.”

Serdar Biliş
Artistic Director, Purtelas Theatre

Introduction to Directing has been hosted in partnership with: