RTYDS Directors

The past participants of this scheme forms an impressive list – many of the directors are now, or have been, artistic directors of some of the UK’s leading theatres.

Portrait of Madeleine Kludje

Portrait of Nickie Miles-Wildin by The Mancorialist

  • Nickie Miles-Wildin
  • Co-Artistic Director/CEO
  • DaDa Fest
  • Associate Director
  • Graeae

Portrait of Lekan Lewal by Wolf Marloh

  • Lekan Lawal
  • Associate Creative Director
  • HOME

Photo © Wolf Marloh

Portrait of Taio Lawson

My time as an RTYDS…

“My time as an RTYDS resident director was invaluable. You can’t get that hands on training anywhere else, and the lessons I learnt over the eighteen months will stick with me for the rest of my career. I was exposed to texts that I hadn’t had the chance to play with before, and got the chance to understand some key aspects of running a building, which were far more complicated than I initially thought. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Portrait of Elayce Ismail

Portrait of Daniel Bailey

The RTYDS 18-Month…

“The RTYDS 18-Month residency, has been the best scheme for my artistic development, it has given me the confidence, skills and relevant experience to pursue a career as an artistic leader. The support has been invaluable, the positive impact unmistakable. The city and the building (Birmingham Rep) have nurtured my ambition and the connection to the communities and artists in Birmingham has been life changing.”

Portrait of Rebecca Freknall

My RTYDS placement…

“My RTYDS placement threw me into the heart of one of the UK’s top producing theatres, allowing me a rare and thorough insight into the role of the Artistic Director and the importance of Regional theatre. The 18 month bursary allowed me to focus fully on my craft and ambitions as an artist and gave me the opportunity to direct my first professional production. The RTYDS is one of the most important and influential schemes of its kind and joining its alumni was a turning point for me in my career.”

Portrait of Jesse James

Working at Royal…

“Working at Royal and Derngate on my 18 month RTYDS residency has been invaluable in my development as a theatre director. Not only have the skills learnt in the rehearsal room continued to seep into my practise as a director but the unparalleled access to the running of an organisation has massively contributed to the development of my company The Wardrobe Ensemble. The theatre has continued to support and grow the company from studio spaces to the mid scale. The relationships with collaborators and organisations made while on RTYDS are meaningful, exciting and game-changing. All there really is to say about RTYDS is ‘DO IT!’”

Photo © Emma Hare

My year at the Royal…

“My year at the Royal Court in 2008/9 was a game-changer but in ways I could never have imagined. I spent a year developing my craft and confidence on the most eclectic portfolio of work and watching the secret magic that happens when you bring an extraordinary voice together with interrogative directors and bold actors. My residency harnessed instincts that – previously – were born out of closing my eyes, clenching my teeth, muddling through the dark and transformed them into a process. I learnt that answers are overrated and it’s all about asking questions and I learnt about the culture and rhythms of a building. RTYDS is where it really all began – it made me the director and artistic director I am today.”

Photo © Robert Day

Portrait of Jo Newman

  • Jo Newman
  • Director

The RTYDS residency…

“The RTYDS residency was a totally brilliant and hugely valuable opportunity to understand all aspects of running a producing theatre through assistant directing opportunities, directing opportunities, programming, working with emerging artists and on a range of projects across the building and beyond. It involved relocating from Birmingham to Salisbury, getting to know Salisbury Playhouse’s audience and creative community and connecting up with other South West organisations. And support from RTYDS to learn and develop and be part of a network of RTYDS bursary recipients. Following on from the residency I was offered role of Associate Director to build on the work I’d started and I’m still there. I can’t emphasise how beneficial this opportunity was to my professional development – it enabled me to hone my skills as a director, gain an intrinsic understanding of the running of a regional producing theatre and build a really meaningful relationship with that building and region. RTYDS are life changers.”

Photo © Barbara-Leatham

Portrait of Matthew Xia

The work I’m making…

“The work I’m making now is a direct result of my RTYDS residency at Liverpool, I fell in love with the North and stayed.”

Photo © Robert Day

Portrait of Max Webster © Kaitlin Randolph

The placement totally…

The placement totally changed my career. Before that I was kicking around, mixing bar work, fringe shows and some assisting. A year at the Exchange in Manchester helped me understand professional theatre from the inside out: what programming is; how you might start thinking about a theatre’s audience; and, perhaps most importantly, where I might fit in within the mad system of British theatre. At the end of the year they took a big chance on me and offered me a show. It was a big act of trust. And to this day I am extremely grateful.

Photo © Kaitlin Randolph

RTYDS is an…

“RTYDS is an invaluable organisation that helps us make a difference to the national landscape”

Photo © Joel Chester Fildes

Portrait of Nikolai Foster

I owe my career to…

“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.”

Photo © John Hunter

Portrait of Vicky Featherstone

The value and…

“The value and cultural importance of the scheme cannot be underestimated. The rigorous and challenging selection process is possibly the most terrifying thing I have ever done. The opportunity to be immersed in all areas of the theatre business and creation of work and as a developing director to find a home for 18 months to learn, watch and think is unrivalled. There is no doubt in my mind that without this extraordinary chance I would not have had the experience or confidence to be the director I am or to have set up the National Theatre of Scotland.”

Photo © Rebecca Reid

Portrait of Rupert Goold

RTYDS changed…

“RTYDS changed my life. It’s the best scheme of its kind.”

Photo © Johan Persson

Portrait of Topher Campbell

  • Topher Campbell
  • Director

If you are serious…

“If you are serious about being a director this is the scheme to get on. It really set me up in terms of understanding the industry and helping me get to grips with the craft of directing. I did my first professional show as part of the scheme. It would be great to see many more young Black directors coming forward and taking the opportunities that this scheme has to offer.”

Portrait of Robin Belfield

The time I spent at…

“The time I spent at The Nuffield Theatre in Southampton equipped me, not only with skills for the rehearsal room, but also skills needed to lead a company. Most valuable of all though was the opportunity to try ideas, succeed and sometimes fail, within a supportive, creative environment.”

Portrait of Theresa Heskins © Andrew Billington

RTYDS taught me…

“RTYDS taught me that I didn’t want to run a building.  So…that must be why I’m here at Staffordshire’s New Vic, relishing the opportunity RTYDS gives me to persuade the next generation of directors of the value of an audience-focused, culture-defining, regional theatre adventure.”

Photo © Andrew Billington

Portrait of Dominic Hill

The RTYDS gave me…

“The RTYDS gave me an invaluable opportunity to discover practically how a regional producing theatre operates – and above all to start working on a main house stage. My journey to the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow can be directly traced backed to my time on the RTYDS and the doors it opened for me 20 years ago”

Photo © Eamonn McGoldrick

Portrait of Daniel Buckroyd

Portrait of Clare Lizzimore

  • Clare Lizzimore
  • Director

I can’t imagine a…

“I can’t imagine a better training. It is rigorous, fun, and utterly life changing – a real privilege to be offered the space to challenge your own tastes, to be part of a culture and to learn how artistic programmes are forged. It is rare thing to be given a safe training umbrella under which you can be bold, make mistakes and really chase what the craft of directing is, and in this way to really hone your directing skills; sharpening the tool kit that you will carry with you long after the year is complete.”

Photo © Teddy Wolff

Portrait of Lorne Campbell

Portrait of Serdar Biliş

Where opportunities…

“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.”

Photo © Danska Saroee

Portrait of Jo Combes

When I won…

“When I won my bursary to the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2002, I was thrown into the deep end of theatrical life. The bursary gave me an existence as a director in my own right that I would never otherwise have had, and it allowed me to form a relationship with a very special theatre building that I would, without the scheme, never have experienced. I am now, officially, an Associate Director here, and have graduated from the Studio to the Main House. The scheme has changed my life in so many ways, it made me the director that I am now and the things I learnt on my year play into my rehearsal room on a daily basis.”

Portrait of James Dacre

Photo © Christine Allum

Portrait of Femi Elufowoju, jr

The scheme has…

“The scheme has undoubtedly changed my life and career path. Back then (1996), prior to the award I was an emerging director faced with limited resources and opportunities to kick start a burning ambition. The scheme came to the rescue and after a year’s attachment at Theatre Royal Stratford East, I was armed with confidence and multi-skills to set up my own theatre company and produce drama contributing to the grand design of Britain’s vast and diverse theatre landscape.”

Photo © Adrian Lourie

Portrait of John Tiffany

Looking at a list of…

“Looking at a list of the key figures in British Theatre it’s hard to find someone who didn’t begin their careers as part of this scheme. It’s incredible, really. What’s also fundamental to its success is the way the scheme’s facilitators seem to be able to place young directors in an environment where they will thrive. I was fortunate to be placed at the Traverse in 1995 working with both Ian Brown and Philip Howard at a time when playwriting in Scotland was entering a golden age. Being part of this scheme defined the director I wanted to be and gave me the resources to become it.”

Portrait of Jez Bond

The scheme gave…

“The scheme gave me a wonderful opportunity to train at a major regional theatre, where I gained not just directing experience but an understanding of the running of a large scale theatre building, its staff and its audiences. These twelve months particularly inspired me and enabled me to grow as a director.”

Portrait of Sarah Punshon

The time I spent at…

“The time I spent at the West Yorkshire Playhouse was incredibly educational – I worked with brilliant actors, directors, designers and writers; learned how a big theatre works; developed several projects of my own; directed in big and small spaces; and generally had 18 months of life-changing experiences. Ever since, the contacts, knowledge and skills have been helping me, leading me into new opportunities, and shaping my career.”

Portrait of Dominic Leclerc

  • Dominic Leclerc
  • Director

The scheme was…

“The scheme was seminal in my development as a director. As Resident Director at Sheffield Theatres in Michael Grandage’s final year with the theatre, I assisted on many of the shows, as well as choreographing much of the season. The scheme gave me the confidence to direct on large, epic stages, and allowed me to develop my craft within a supported and inspirational environment.”

Portrait of Adrian Noble

  • Adrian Noble
  • Theatre Director

This has been a…

“This has been a model scheme for young directors and has certainly been a landmark in many careers, including my own. The dedication shown in the search for talented young directors and the skill put into match-making director with theatre has been exemplary.”

Photo © Ken Howard