Frequently asked questions about RTYDS

A young person of colour deep in thought

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about RTYDS. We have split this into general FAQs and programme-specific FAQs.

The general FAQs are questions about RTYDS and the directors / theatre makers that we support.

The programme FAQs contains questions that are specific to our programmes, which include Introduction to Directing, Three-Month Placement, 18-Month Residency and Associate Artistic Director placements, and our Craft and Career Development programme. We have also introduced RTYDS Assistant Directors and Artistic Associates for 2021.

If you have a question that you cannot find the answer to, please Contact Us.

General FAQs

What is a regional theatre company?

A regional theatre is a professional theatre company that produces plays, musicals, ballets, operas or comedy. The term regional theatre most often refers to a professional theatre outside of London. It is often used to particularly refer to theatre buildings but can also include companies that exist to tour and don’t have their own space.

At RTYDS, we are committed to providing support to artists who live and make work outside of London – to rebalance the focus of resources and opportunities.


What do we mean by an under-represented community?

RTYDS’ ambition is to help change the face of UK theatre so that it fully reflects contemporary society. At present, the theatre sector does not adequately reflect the breadth of the communities it exists to serve- in its workforce, its audiences, or the creative work it produces. We are convinced that working with the theatre sector to develop a diverse cohort of directors and artistic leaders is the surest and most enduring way to drive this change.

The Introduction to Directing and Three-Month placement strands are targeted at directors / theatre makers 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.

The Artistic Associate and 18-Month and Associate Artistic Director Residencies are recruited through an open process and we do not exclude anyone from applying who meets the criteria. We are especially keen to hear from directors and theatre makers from backgrounds and circumstances presently under-represented in the theatre because of social, gender, financial, ethnic, cultural, or educational disadvantage or disability for these opportunities.

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

  • D/deaf and/or disabled
  • Neurodivergant
  • 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*
  • LGBTQIA+

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


What do we mean when we ask for ‘professional experience’?

Sometimes we will ask for applicants to have professional experience to apply for our programmes. For example, applicants to the 18-Month Residency should have at least 18 months of professional experience.

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.


As a director can I take part in all  RTYDS programmes?

The different levels of the programme are designed to stand alone but, potentially, a director might progress from an Introduction to Directing project to a Three-Month Placement at a suitable point in their artistic development. In time they may also apply for an 18-Month Residency, and then to an Associate Artistic Director opportunity.


I am still at College/University, can I apply?

To take part in all our schemes you should not be in full time education.


Is there an age limit?

We have no focus on age – the artists we work with are over 18 years of age but there is no upper limit for any of our schemes.


I have applied before, can I apply again?

There is no limit to how many times you can apply as a theatre company or a director.


What is Manchester Royal Exchange and the Young Vic’s relationship to the scheme?

The RTYDS is an Associate Company of Manchester Royal Exchange and the Young Vic. It is based in Manchester at the Royal Exchange and also has an office at the Young Vic in London. The Artistic Director of RTYDS also works part-time as the Young Vic’s Associate Artistic Director. There is no formal relationship with the Young Vic or with the Young Vic’s Director Program which includes the Genesis Directors Network and Jerwood Assistant Director Scheme.


Programme-specific FAQs

I am a director/theatre maker – how do I apply for the Introduction to Directing project and Three-Month Placement?

If you are a new director/theatre maker who is interested in taking part in either of the above programmes, you should contact RTYDS to find out if theatre companies near you are participating in the scheme. These programmes are primarily aimed at new directors/theatre makers who are new to theatre, regionally based and from backgrounds or communities under-represented in UK theatre.


Is the 18-Month Residency paid?

Yes. This is a full-time paid role, with each resident assistant director receiving a salary of £25,000 per annum.


What level of experience do I need to apply for an 18-Month Residency?

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.

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 the opportunity may not be for you.


Should I attach reviews of my work with my application for the 18-Month Residency?

No. This is not part of the application process.


If I need to relocate to undertake the 18-Month Residency will I get financial help?

£500 is available per director towards relocation costs.


Do I choose the theatre where I will be based for the RTYDS 18-Month Residency?

We hope that when applying, directors/theatre makers will be interested in the opportunity offered by any of the host theatres. However, we understand that relocation may not be possible due to professional or personal circumstances such as caring responsibilities, housing issues 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.


What is the RTYDS Craft and Career programme?

We work in partnership with theatres and companies to provide workshops, programmes and digital opportunities for artists.

In response to the pandemic, we moved many of our Craft and Career workshops online and increased the scale of the programme. We held 117 sessions, with 1,714 participations by directors, theatre makers and artists from across the country.

Recent examples include our partnership with Young Vic Directors Program, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Ramps on the Moon, Leeds Playhouse to provide digital discussion groups, workshops and opportunities to observe a rehearsal room through our ‘Zoom Chair’ project.


Our programmes for directors and theatres

Our success stories

“The Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme offers an amazing opportunity to anyone wanting to learn about directing plays and running theatres. Year after year it produces some of our most exciting young directors, many of whom have gone on to run some of our most important theatres. It is a complete training, looking at every aspect of the theatre industry. It’s properly run, properly mentored and has a success rate second to none. It has become an invaluable part of the cultural life of this country.”

Michael Grandage
Artistic Director, Michael Grandage Company