About Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme

“I owe my career to this apprenticeship and it means a great deal to me that Curve will welcome a trainee during my first year as Artistic Director. The RTYDS recognises the need for true diversity throughout the arts and the importance of encouraging theatre makers from all backgrounds, ensuring British theatre better reflects the world we live in.”

Nikolai Foster
Artistic Director, Curve Theatre, Leicester

The Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) is a professional artist development programme for new and early career theatre directors in the UK. The scheme seeks out and nurtures the most talented theatre directors at the early stage of their careers; developing their skills and experience by placing them in the UK’s leading regional theatres and providing unique training and professional development opportunities.

Current RTYDS Programmes and Theatre Partners

Introduction to Directing Three-Month Placements 18-Month Residencies
Intensive practical training for directors from under-represented communities to discover if directing might be a future career. For new directors from under-represented communities at the start of their professional career. Placing early career directors who have some professional experience and a commitment to making their career as a director in theatres where they can develop their skills and learn what it takes to run a regional theatre.

Paines Plough

Prime Theatre

ThickSkin Theatre

Tobacco Factory Theatres

(Temporarily reconfigured as Assistant Director Placements in 2021)

Mandeep Kaur Glover at Eastern Angles

Mian Rahman at Freedom Studios

Hannah Harris at Mind the Gap

Jameela Khan at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Siobhan McAuley at Open Clasp Theatre Company, Newcastle

Sirazul Islam at Pilot Theatre

Danielle Kassaraté at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Amelia Thornber at Wise Children

Sam Holley-Horseman at Contact, Manchester

Lilac Yosiphon at Curve, Leicester

Omar Khan at Derby Theatre

Rebekah Bowsher at Live Theatre and Northern Stage, Newcastle

Eclipse Theatre: Slate/HOME, Manchester

Third Angel Theatre

The Core at Corby Cube

Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Strictly Arts

Talking Birds

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

The North Wall, Oxford

Middle Child Theatre and Hull Truck Theatre

Sameena Hussain at Leeds Playhouse

Jay Zorenti-Nakhid (previously Crutchley) at Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol


History of RTYDS

In 1960 Howard Thomas, then Managing Director of ABC Television, introduced the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme, working with Brian Tesler to help further the careers of aspiring theatre producers and directors. It was his belief that television had every reason to be grateful to the theatre for its supply of creative talent. The scheme was conceived as a way of repaying the debt.
The project continued to be run by Thames Television but went on to attract the interest of other regional network companies who were envious of its success. Eventually support was offered from all ITV companies across the country and administration of the scheme passed to the central ITV Fund. However, following the reallocation of ITV contracts in 1991, this support gradually came to an end. Thames Television, despite being one of the companies to lose their contract with ITV, asked that the project be returned to its administration. They then invited individual ITV companies to sponsor directors in their local theatres. As a result, the scheme was re-launched in 1993 with the financial support of Scottish Television, Central, Channel 4 and Thames Television itself.

Thames ultimately passed the administrative responsibility to Channel 4 and, on the fortieth anniversary of the programme, the decision was taken to rename it The Channel 4 Theatre Director Scheme. Following 12 successful years of support, Channel 4 discontinued its involvement in 2007 and ITV once more took over the leadership of the scheme until 2009.

Jack Andrews MBE administered the project for 20 years and over this time ensured that it continued to grow from strength to strength. In 2007 he retired and invited the Young Vic to take over his managerial responsibilities for the scheme. In 2012 RTYDS undertook a major review of its work and the re-imagined scheme made a successful funding application to ACE in 2013.

In 2014 the RTYDS became an independent company limited by guarantee and an Associate Company of the Young Vic.

The scheme can claim an impressive list of past participants. Many directors have been or are now artistic directors of the UK’s leading theatres.

Brian Tesler CBE
“When we began the scheme in the early years of Independent Television, ABC was part of ITV’s original crazy quilt of a network. We were the weekend company for the North and Midlands and the scheme was designed specifically to support the many fine repertory theatres that graced our region: hence its original title – the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme. To watch the scheme grow in its scope and range since those early days and to observe over the years the remarkable wealth of talent it has nurtured has been a heart-warming experience for those of us who were in at its birth.”

Who we are

Our Staff

  • Photo of Sue Emmas

    Sue Emmas, Artistic Director

  • Photo of Gina Fletcher

    Gina Fletcher, Executive Director

  • Photo of director Anthony Lau

    Anthony Lau, Associate Artistic Director

  • Photo of Manli Siu

    Manli Siu, Programme Producer

  • Photo of Shahreen Vayani

    Shahreen Vayani, Trainee Programme Producer

  • Photo of Sarah Penney

    Sarah Penney, Freelance Project Producer

  • Photo of Nassy Konan

    Nassy Konan, Freelance Project Producer

Our Board

  • Photo of Livvy Brinson

    Livvy Brinson, Director of Fundraising, Kiln Theatre

  • Photo of Sarah Frankcom

    Sarah Frankcom, Director and Dramaturg

  • Photo of Theresa Heskins

    Theresa Heskins, Artistic Director, New Vic

  • Photo of Natalie Ibu

    Natalie Ibu, Artistic Director, Northern Stage

  • Photo of Graham Lister

    Graham Lister, Arts and Cultural Advisor

  • Photo of Gareth Machin

    Gareth Machin, Artistic Director, Wiltshire Creative

  • Photo of Jack McNamara

    Jack McNamara, Artistic Director, Live Theatre

  • Photo of Grahame Morris

    Grahame Morris, ex Chief Executive, Sheffield Theatres

  • Photo of Amit Sharma

    Amit Sharma, Theatre Director

  • Photo of Leo Skilbeck

    Leo Skilbeck, Writer/Director, Artistic Director, Milk Presents

  • Photo of Erica Whyman

    Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director, RSC

  • Doreen Foster, Director at Warwick Arts Centre

  • Atri Banerjee, Director

  • Photo of Caitriona Shoobridge

    Caitriona Shoobridge, Director

Our Patrons

  • Photo of Michael Billington

    Michael Billington

  • Photo of MIchael Boyd

    Michael Boyd

  • Photo of Michael Grade

    Michael Grade

  • Photo of Phyllida Lloyd

    Phyllida Lloyd

  • Photo of Adrian Noble

    Adrian Noble

  • "Photo

    Indhu Rubasingham

“This scheme works with and within the theatre profession in a most inspiring way. Young directors are enabled to both work and watch. The best of contemporary theatre practice is laid before them in an idealistic situation – warm, paid, rigorous, challenging and creative. I am full of admiration for Jack Andrews, its administrator for 20 years, who has spent much of his life making the scheme possible.”

Annie Castledine (Director)