18-Month Residency

The RTYDS 18-Month Residency provides paid opportunities for early career directors and theatre makers to spend 18 months in a regional building-based company as a resident assistant director. Directors develop their creative skills, learn how a theatre runs and have the opportunity to make work.

RTYDS creates pathways for directors to develop not only their craft but also skills as future artistic leaders.

“RTYDS is where it really all began; it made me the director and artistic director I am today.”

Natalie Ibu (Artistic Director, Northern Stage)

We are not currently accepting applications for the 18-Month Residency.

Information for Directors

This is an opportunity for an early career director/theatre maker to work, train and learn at one of England’s leading middle-scale producing theatre companies and direct a piece of work. There is no upper age limit for the scheme, but directors should be over 18.

You will be mentored by the Artistic Director of the host theatre and gain a wide range of experience. As the industry continues to address the challenges created by Covid-19, activities undertaken on the RTYDS 18-Month Residencies will vary with each theatre. Ideally, each RTYDS 18-Month Residency will include assisting on productions, as well as programming, script reading and artist development. You will be given experience in all the theatre’s functions and learn about strategic planning, finance, fundraising, producing, press and marketing, administration etc. As part of the opportunity to make work, you might direct rehearsed readings, research and development projects, or a piece of work with young people/community group and direct a piece of work.

We are working in partnership with Ramps on the Moon and at least one of the four RTYDS 18-Month Residencies we are offering in 2021 will be awarded to a Deaf or disabled director/ theatre maker.

The RTYDS 18-Month Residency is a paid opportunity, with each resident assistant director receiving a salary of £25,000 per annum.

Quantifying level of experience is always complex, but we want to give some sense of what you might have done so far in your career without being too prescriptive.

We imagine the resident assistant director to be a director / theatre maker who has at least 18 months professional experience and can demonstrate a commitment to directing or theatre making. You might have been an assistant director, made your own work, worked with a youth theatre, or any combination of those.  By professional, we mean work made with a creative team that considers theatre making their primary source of income, or have ambitions for this to be the case. This includes work with young people and participatory work.

There is no upper age limit for the scheme, but directors should be over 18 and in the early stages of their career.

You should be committed to a career as a director /theatre maker and you should have an interest in regional theatre and developing audiences. You should be interested in gaining experience and skills through working as an assistant director as this will be a central part of the residency.

In addition, you should be interested in the artistic and operational running of a theatre building, cultural leadership, and the wider role of the artistic director.

We particularly welcome and encourage applications from individuals who identify as:

  • Deaf and/or disabled
  • Neuro-divergent
  • Working-class, benefit class, criminal class and/or underclass
  • Black Caribbean, Black African, South Asian, East or South East Asian, mixed or dual heritage, or have had a lived experience of racism*

*This includes but is not exclusive to people of Middle Eastern, Arab, Latinx, Jewish, Romany and Irish Traveller heritage.

The 18-Month Residency is also a training route and pathway into the industry for those artists who have not experienced further or higher education. If you have an MA in directing or have already had an opportunity to spend an extended time training or working in a theatre building as an assistant director or director, then this opportunity may not be for you.

We hope that when applying, directors / theatre makers will be interested in all of the opportunities offered by Curve, Derby Theatre, and Live and Northern Stage partnership. However, we understand that relocation may not be possible due to professional or personal circumstances such as caring responsibilities, your housing situation or access requirements.

We are committed to this opportunity being open to you, whatever your circumstances, including if you have been shielding or continue to shield. During the application process there is an opportunity to let us know if you can only consider a residency at a particular theatre.

There is no upper age limit for the scheme, but directors should be over 18 and in the early stages of their career.

*All directors / theatre makers must be resident in the UK at point of application*

If you are unsure if this opportunity suits your level of experience, please contact Manli Siu on rtyds@rtyds.co.uk or 0161 883 0296.

We are not currently accepting applications for the 18-Month Residency.

We are not currently accepting applications for the 18-Month Residency.

Information for Theatre Companies

This is an opportunity for a regional, building-based theatre company to host an early career director/theatre maker for 18 months.

Providing a chance to gain a wide range of experience, including developing their craft as a director/maker of work, learning about the how the building operates and addressing issues of cultural leadership. The director/theatre maker is mentored by the artistic director throughout the residency and they are recruited through an open application process facilitated by RTYDS.

We invite applications/expressions of interest from theatre companies interested in the residency and ask them to outline an activity plan and training programme for the director/theatre maker. We understand that programme planning is challenging right now but hope the placements can play a part in theatres recovery planning. We anticipate the directors starting residencies in autumn/winter 2021, but the timing will be at the mutual agreement of the resident assistant director, the theatre and RTYDS.

The RTYDS Board selects the host theatre companies to take part in the scheme and RTYDS works closely with the artistic directors of the host company to recruit a resident assistant director through an open application process.

We are working in partnership with Ramps on the Moon and at least one of the four RTYDS 18-Month Residencies starting in 2021 will be awarded to a D/deaf or disabled director/theatre maker. Theatres applying must be committed to making this opportunity inclusive, and adapting to the applicant’s circumstances, including if they have been shielding or continue to shield.

Funding: RTYDS provides a sum to each theatre company for the 18-month period. This is to cover a salary of £25,000pa for the resident assistant director and any on-costs.

In this round of applications, we are looking for a new partner to join the existing RTYDS 18-Month Residency hosts.

The residency is for early career directors/theatre makers with no less than 18 months’ professional experience and demonstrable commitment to a career as a director/theatre maker.

They will have an interest in regional theatre and developing audiences. As well as making work, they will be interested in the artistic and operational running of a building, cultural leadership and the wider role of the artistic director.

For the director/theatre maker, the 18-Month Residency is a chance to progress both their practice and artistic evolution and be a catalyst for a step change in their development.

There is no upper age limit, but the director must be over 18 years old and resident in the UK at point of application.

This residency is aimed at professional building-based producing theatre companies in England (outside London), with a practicing artistic director, a track record of education and outreach work and of artist development. Partnerships between venues will be considered.

Mid-scale touring or peripatetic producing companies may be considered in exceptional circumstances and they can apply as a consortium partner or in partnership with a building-based theatre.

You can take part in more than one of our programmes at the same time. If you do so, you need to make clear how the strands would complement and support each other and demonstrate that you have the capacity to support more than one initiative.

The artistic director is required to take an active part in the selection process of candidates alongside the RTYDS. They will be required to consider up to 100 longlisted applications and select and interview a shortlist of 20 directors in a two-stage interview process.

We expect the successful participant to be mentored by the artistic director and to gain a wide range of experience, which will ideally include assistant directing on productions, as well as programming, script reading and artist development. They will be given experience in all the theatre’s functions and learn about strategic planning, finance, development, producing, press and marketing, administration etc.

The participant must be offered an opportunity to make work as part of the residency. This might include directing rehearsed readings, research and development projects, young people’s work but ultimately will include the opportunity to direct a resourced piece of work.

The residency will start in 2021 and the start date will be at the mutual agreement of the resident assistant director, the theatre and RTYDS.

Applications are assessed by the RTYDS Trustees on the basis of:

  • The quality of the proposal
  • The benefit to the early career director / theatre maker
  • The artistic achievements of the theatre company
  • Demonstrable commitment and experience of artist development

Each year we aim for a geographical spread of theatres and a mix of smaller and larger companies across all the RTYDS programme strands.

Decisions will be made by the Board of RTYDS. Individual Trustees are not involved in considering applications from theatres to which they are personally connected.

We are no longer accepting theatre company applications for RTYDS 18-Month Residency 2021.

If you would like to have a chat about the RTYDS 18-Month Residency please contact Manli Siu, Programme Producer, on manlisiu@rtyds.co.uk.

Our other programmes

Current 18-Month Residencies

  • Portrait of Sam Holley-Horseman

    Sam Holley-Horseman at Contact

    About Sam Holley-Horseman

    Sam Holley-Horseman is a re-emerging neurodivergant Director, Facilitator and Writer. Her focus is on work with/for ND audiences and creatives and to explore better working practices for disabled artists. She originally trained at Rose Bruford.

  • Portrait of Omar Khan

    Omar Khan at Derby Theatre

    About Omar Khan

    Omar is a director based in the Midlands, making work that spans theatre, film, audio and VR. His work explores political and social issues that he shares a personal connection with, including; grief, spirituality and how we shape and build our identities. He is also a musician and a DJ, which feeds into his work.
    With a strong focus on collaboration, Omar enjoys working with new writers to build stories that challenge people’s existing perspectives and open audiences and collaborators’ minds to new ways of seeing the world.
    Wellness sits at the heart of Omar’s practice, working with communities to use theatre as a tool for self expression; giving people permission to play in a safe space.
    An alumnus of Birmingham REP’s Foundry scheme & Tamasha’s Directors Programme, he is currently an Associate Artist at Derby Theatre, where he runs the Years 4-6 Youth Theatre.

  • Portrait of Lilac Yosiphon

    Lilac Yosiphon at Curve

    About Lilac Yosiphon

    Lilac is writer-director and the artistic director of Althea Theatre. She is passionate about ensemble work, devising and interdisciplinary collaborations. Her practice explores intersectional representation focussing on themes of belonging, migration and our perception of home.

    Lilac’s work is profoundly collaborative, inclusive and emotionally connected. Her rehearsal room is full of open conversations in which the different aspects of the show are examined with honesty and rigour, explored on its feet with truthfulness and trust, to be shared with audiences in order to continue the conversation.

    She was recently associate director on 10 Nights (Graeae and Tamasha in association with Bush Theatre, dir. Kash Arshad).

    She is an MGCFutures Bursary recipient and a commissioned artist by Unlimited in partnership with Polka Theatre. She was a finalist for the JMK Award 2019 and the Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2021.

    Alongside her work as a theatre maker, Lilac facilitates workshops with young people and emerging artists in training at the National Youth Theatre. Graeae, Mountview and Guildhall.

  • Portrait of Rebekah Bowsher

    Rebekah Bowsher at Live Theatre and Northern Stage

    About Rebekah Bowsher

    Based in the North East, Rebekah is a playwright, dramaturg, director, screenwriter, disability consultant and actor who’s plays have been performed at venues including the Hampstead Theatre and Newcastle’s Live Theatre. She trained at the University of Leeds attaining a BA in Theatre and Performance, and has recently finished an MA Creative Writing through the Open University.
    She has been selected for a number of high profile schemes to develop both her writing and directing, including BBC’s Writers Access Group (2018/2019), Graeae Theatre Company’s Write To Play, Alphabetti Theatre’s Writer To Play and a 3 month attachment to the Greyscale Theatre Company as part of the Regional Young Theatre Directors Scheme. She was Writer in Residence at the Leeds Playhouse in 2016 and sits on the board of Unfolding Theatre, providing creative and access advice.
    In 2018 Rebekah received the Live Lab Bursary to develop her raw and incredibly emotive play, Spoon Theory, about a woman coming to terms with her new life, following an amputation, which was selected for performance at the Elevator Festival. She was also a recipient of the North East Artist Development Network Bursary in 2018/19 to develop her newest work Running Through Wheatfields, an imagined look at Theresa May’s life, which speculates on the issues surrounding being a high profile woman in politics. Since January 2021, Rebekah has been a recipient of the Arts Council England’s Developing Your Creative Practice grant, which she has used to hone her directing skills and begin developing a community informed devised show – The Cornershop Show.

Our success stories

What participants say about the scheme

Matthew Xia Associate Artistic Director at Manchester Royal Exchange:
“I can honestly say I don’t think I would have been eligible for this position without the time spent getting to understand the region [as part of RTYDS], ‘regional’ theatres in general and the role they serve in their locale. This placement has completely reframed my understanding of the necessity of theatre and the people it is for. It’s given me such a rich experience of what it takes to make theatre for specific buildings and audiences and also what it takes to run and programme those buildings.”

Jo Newman, Resident Assistant Director Salisbury Playhouse (now Wiltshire Creative) 2014-2016:
“Being part of the Regional Theatre Young Directors’ Scheme is such a valuable opportunity and I can quite honestly say that it has changed my life. After the first six months I have learnt so much and have been involved in activities ranging from artistic programming to community projects, have had the opportunity to work as an assistant director and work alongside some of the industry’s leading creatives in addition to having the space and time to develop my own practice as a director. Regional theatre is really important to me and it is fantastic to be part of the life of such a brilliant venue and work with Gareth Machin, artistic director, to gain an insight into how it is run.”

18-Month Residency participants

  • Portrait of Julia Thomas

    Julia Thomas at Curve Theatre, Leicester

    About Julia

    Julia Thomas is from Llanelli and was resident director at the National Theatre Studio in partnership with National Theatre Wales earlier this year. For National Theatre Wales Julia has been Emerging Director on A Provincial Life and Assistant Director on Iliad.  Julia has directed at various Welsh theatres including Blue/Orange at Sherman Theatre and Fun Palaces at Wales Millennium Centre.

  • Portrait of Lekan Lawal

    Lekan Lawal at Derby Theatre

    About Lekan

    Lekan Lawal is from London and trained at LAMDA. He recently worked as an associate for The Big House and is currently working on Measure for Measure at the Young Vic.

  • Portrait of Ben Occhipinti

    Ben Occhipinti at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

    About Ben

    Ben Occhipinti is from Wiltshire and worked with Salisbury Playhouse on several productions including Spread a Little Happiness and Jack and the Beanstalk, he has a passion for music theatre and opera and recently directed La Rondine with Iford Opera.

  • Portrait of Daniel Bailey

    Daniel Bailey at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

    About Daniel

    Daniel Bailey took part in the Young Vic’s Introduction to Directing and went on to be Director in Residence at the National Theatre Studio. He has developed work with theatre companies including Talawa, Paddington Arts and the New Vic Theatre.

  • Photo of Rebecca Frecknall

    Rebecca Frecknall at Northern Stage (recipient of the Christopher Whelen bursary)

    About Rebecca

    Rebecca Frecknall was recipient of the National Theatre Studio’s Resident Director Bursary and was awarded one of the Jerwood Assistant Director Bursaries at the Young Vic. She has directed work at Southwark Playhouse, Greenwich Theatre and the New Diorama.

  • Photo of Jesse Jones

    Jesse Jones at Royal & Derngate, Northampton

    About Jesse

    Jesse Jones is the Co-Artistic Director of The Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol which he founded in 2011. In 2013 Jesse was Assistant Director to Bijan Sheibani on the National Theatre’s production of Emil and the Detectives.

  • Photo of Jo Newman

    Jo Newman at Salisbury Playhouse (now Wiltshire Creative)

    About Jo

    Jo Newman is Co-Artistic Director of Birmingham based Tin Box Theatre Company and has developed work at theatres including Birmingham REP, mac, Battersea Arts Centre and New Diorama Theatre. Jo was a member of the REP Foundry, Birmingham REP’s Artists Development programme.

“The value and cultural importance of the scheme cannot be underestimated. The opportunity to be immersed in all areas of the theatre business and creation of work is unrivalled. There is no doubt in my mind that, without this extraordinary chance, I would not have had the experience or confidence to the director I am.”

Vicky Featherstone
Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre

18-Month residencies have been hosted in partnership with: