Introduction to Directing

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

A mixed gender and ethnic group participate in a lively theatre-making workshop
We are thrilled to announce we will be working with The Core at Corby Cube to run Introduction to Directing in 2020

‘The course was an absolutely brilliant way for us to meet and engage with a number of artists previously unknown to us. It also allowed us to offer the first directing programme in the city for a number of years, ensuring there is a pathway for prospective directors’

Paul Smith, Artistic Director, Middle Child Theatre Company

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.

The deadline for applications has now passed.

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 for applications has now passed.

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.”

Ria Parry, Co-Director, The North Wall Arts Centre:
“This group has already proved a fantastic resource for The North Wall in terms of keying in to different projects happening locally, audience development for shows at the theatre, and meeting exciting new artists.”

Ruth, Introduction to Directing participant:
“I gained a priceless insight into the field from industry professionals. I also learned how to analyse scripts and gained first-hand experience directing actors.”

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.”

Sergej, Introduction to Directing participant:
“I really wanted to take a minute and just thank Middle Child. Everything was just great: the experience, everyone’s input, conversations, debates and the guests. All of the above created a huge debate within myself regarding what I am doing in my life with my life. I have applied all the things that were said to my own practice. I am speechless.”

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: