RTYDS Assistant Directors

A young, black woman leads a theatre-making workshop

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have temporarily re-configured our Three-Month Placements for 2021. In their stead we will be offering 10 Assistant Director bursaries to provide directors and theatre makers with the opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge working as an assistant on a live, digital or hybrid production.

We anticipate offering the first five assistantships in this application round, and to reopen for applications in the autumn. This will depend on the level of interest and strength and geographic spread of applications.

The RTYDS Assistant Directorship is a paid opportunity for a director at the start of their professional directing career to work as an assistant director on a live, digital or hybrid production. The assistant will be hosted by a theatre or theatre company and they will assist on a show of any scale and can tour (the company will provide expenses for per diems, travel and accommodation as appropriate).

There is a bursary of £500 per week for up to eight weeks (total £4,000) for the assistant. The eight weeks can be divided between pre-rehearsal, rehearsals and production run but rehearsals should run for at least three weeks.

When applying theatres and companies can either:

  • Apply with a nominated director
  • Run an open recruitment process to identify the director

RTYDS will support companies and theatres running an open recruitment process.

Given the uncertain times we understand that schedules may change. However, if the proposed project doesn’t proceed or is postponed for more than three months, we may not be able to continue with the partnership.

At this time, we want to find as many ways to provide freelance artists with support and opportunities. Consequently, companies and theatres who host an Assistant Director will be asked whether you can work with RTYDS to offer additional opportunity beyond the assistantship for a wider group of artists on our network. This might include an online workshop exploring the rehearsal process for the show, providing access or insights into Board meetings, running discussions around commissioning or programming choices for the company etc.

The opportunity is for adults over 18 years of age from backgrounds currently under-represented in UK theatre as a result of barriers arising from social, gender, financial, ethnic, cultural, geographic, educational status or disability.

In this strand of our work we are particularly keen to encourage companies to support artists who are Black, South Asian, East or South East Asian, mixed or dual heritage, or have had a lived experience of racism, artists from working, benefit, criminal and underclass backgrounds, or those who identify as Deaf or disabled,

There is no upper age limit. The director must be resident in the UK at point of application and live near to the theatre or company.

The opportunity is for directors at the very start of their professional directing career. They may have taken part in an RTYDS Introduction to Directing project or they may be a director the theatre has met through outreach or participation work, training, or your artist development program. The theatre can apply with a director / theatre maker who is known to them or they can run an open recruitment process to identify the director.

The assistant director will have had limited opportunities to make their own work, work as an assistant with professional actors, or study directing in an educational context. However, they should be able to show a commitment to a career in theatre directing. This is the chance for the assistant director to gain first-hand experience in a professional but supported environment.

We will work with the company or theatre to ensure that appropriate access provision is in place for all assistant directors. RTYDS will agree a contribution to access costs with each theatre.

Information for Theatre Companies

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. Companies can also apply as consortia, so for example a company can apply in partnership with a theatre.

Companies can apply to more than one RTYDS programme at the same time. In this case, the company will need to make clear how the strands of work would complement and support each other and demonstrate that there is capacity to support more than one initiative.

This opportunity is a way of supporting a director at the very start of their professional development. The assistant directorship should take place over the course of one production period (up to eight weeks). The director will assist on a show and have the opportunity to be in rehearsals, technical rehearsals and previews, working closely with the director. They should, where appropriate, also continue with the show for its run.

Ideally, this will be more than an observation role and they will be involved in all aspects of bringing the production to the stage and may have specific responsibilities relevant to the production as appropriate.

Where possible, the assistant director will get some access to the pre- production process of design meetings, casting, research and planning. Part of the fee can be paid pro rata to cover the attendance of these sessions and meetings.

We encourage the company to think about what specific skills or knowledge will be developed through assisting on the show.

There are two application forms available.

If you are applying with a nominated assistant director, you can download the application form HERE.

If you intend to run a selection process, you can download the application form HERE.

Please return the completed form to application@rtyds.co.uk by noon, Tuesday 4 May 2021

Have more questions?

Prior to the application deadline, there will be a Q&A session to answer any questions you may have about completing your application form or more generally about the RTYDS Assistant Directors. This will be held on Monday 19 April at 12 noon. SIGN UP FOR THE Q&A HERE.

Applications are assessed on the basis of:

  • the quality of the proposal and benefit to the assistant director
  • the track record of the theatre or company in artist development
  • the background and experience of the new director or the approach to open recruitment

We will aim for a geographical spread of theatres and a mix of smaller and bigger 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.

We anticipate offering the first five (of ten) assistantships in this application round, and to reopen for applications in the autumn. This will depend on the level of interest and strength and geographic spread of applications.

Applications to host an RTYDS Assistant Director should be submitted by noon, Tuesday 4 May 2021

We anticipate offering the first five (of ten) assistantships in this application round, and to reopen for applications in the autumn. This will depend on the level of interest and strength and geographic spread of applications.

We held a Q&A session to answer any questions about the RTYDS Assistant Directors, with Sue Emmas (RTYDS Artistic Director) and Anthony Lau (RTYDS Associate Artistic Director). You can watch the recording below:

If you would like to have a chat before submitting your application please contact Manli Siu, Programme Producer, at RTYDS@rtyds.co.uk

We have versions of our forms and guidance in large print and screen reader friendly versions, as well as versions based on the British Dyslexia Association style guide. Please see below:

Theatre Companies applying with a director – application forms

Application Form

British Dyslexia Association Style Form

Large Print Form

Screen Reader Friendly Form

Theatre Companies applying without director – application forms

Application Form

British Dyslexia Association style Form

Large Print Form

Screen Reader Friendly Form

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Forms

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

British Dyslexia Association style Form

Large Print Form

Screen Reader Friendly Form

Information Sheets

British Dyslexia Association style – Information Sheet

Large Print – Information Sheet

Screen Reader Friendly – Information Sheet

Information for Directors

Participants for the RTYDS Assistant Directors opportunity are recruited directly by participating theatres and companies. The companies will apply with a nominated director or run an open recruitment process.

Participants should be over 18 years of age, live locally to the theatre or company and want to learn more about directing in theatre. No professional experience is needed to take part.

There is no upper age limit.

All participants must be resident in the UK at point of application.

If you are interested in the RTYDS Assistant Director opportunity, we recommend that you talk to your local professional theatre or company to see if they might apply to RTYDS to host one.

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