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.
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.”