The trustees of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) have decided not to proceed with an 18-Month Residency at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

RTYDS is the UK’s foremost programme of professional development for directors and theatre makers. The RTYDS 18- Month Residency places talented, emerging directors as paid resident assistant directors with theatre companies across the country. Here directors develop their craft, skills and leadership potential.

After an open recruitment process Birmingham Rep was one of the theatres initially selected to host an 18-Month Residency in 2021.

RTYDS is particularly focused on working with directors from communities consistently under-represented in UK theatre. This may be because of barriers arising from ethnicity, socio-economics, gender, geography, being disabled or educational disadvantage.

When Birmingham Rep announced their decision to host a Nightingale Court, the RTYDS trustees met to consider the implications for the 18-Month Residency at the theatre. The decision conflicts with RTYDS’s commitment to artists from Black, LGBTQIA+ and working/benefit class communities. After careful discussion, the RTYDS trustees decided the quality of the opportunity available to an artist could be compromised by the presence of a Nightingale Court. Proceeding with the residency would undermine vital relationships with directors, theatre-makers and partners who work with RTYDS.

Grahame Morris, Chair of the Board of Trustees of RTYDS, said:

“We recognise that theatre companies are having to make difficult decisions in order to safeguard the future of cultural buildings and the artists, workers and audiences who engage with them. However, we have decided that to proceed with this residency at Birmingham would not support our commitments to inclusivity and providing opportunities for artists from marginalised communities to fulfil their creative potential.”

RTYDS is continuing the recruitment process for an 18-Month Residency at Contact in Manchester as planned and will now begin an open recruitment process to identify another theatre to replace Birmingham Rep as a residency host in 2021.