Three-Month Placement

For early career directors from backgrounds currently under-represented in theatre

Three-Month Placements are temporarily on hold

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have temporarily re-configured our Three-Month Placements for 2021. Please visit our RTYDS Assistant Directors page instead.

RTYDS Assistant Directors

In light of the current health emergency we are not currently accepting applications for Three-Month Placements. For more information click here.

“On this placement I was able to assist direction, create a movement sequence, run my own workshops with the LGBTQ+ youth of Watford, learn from dozens of staff members and become a better creative within this tumultuous world of the arts. All because of my willingness to be open, creative and vulnerable. This placement is a much about you as it is about the show.”

Vedi Roy, Three-Month Placement Director, Watford Palace Theatre

The Three-Month paid placement allows theatre companies to host a new director at the very start of their professional directing career. The director will spend three months learning about the role and skills of a theatre director. This can be a full time commitment or structured as a more flexible longer placement. RTYDS offers theatre companies up to £5,000 to host a Three-Month Placement in their organisation.

Information for Theatre Companies

This opportunity is for a new director (over 18 years of age) at the very start of their professional directing career. They may have taken part in an Introduction to Directing project or they may be a new director the theatre has met through other outreach work or training.

The new director will spend focused time with the theatre company learning about the role and skills of a theatre director. The attachment should last for the equivalent of three months full time.  This can be a full-time commitment or be structured as a more flexible longer placement if this suits the needs and commitments of the director.  The placement should be tailored to their needs but still paid at the equivalent of the full-time rate.

Up to £5,000 is available to cover the costs of the placement. We expect that at least 80% goes directly to the participant. All participants must be resident in the UK.

The placement 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 or educational disadvantage or disability. In this aspect of our work we are particularly keen to encourage companies to support people of colour and D/deaf and disabled directors at an early stage of their development. Although women are under-represented in theatre at a senior professional and leadership level, they are well represented among early career theatre directors. Companies should be clear when applying about how gender is a barrier to a particular individual’s career development. There is no upper age limit.

The new 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 able to demonstrate a commitment to a career in theatre directing. This is the chance for the placement to gain first-hand experience in a professional but supported environment.

The director should live near to the company and should have demonstrated a specific interest in directing rather than in performing or any other theatre art.

If the theatre does not have an obvious candidate to nominate it might be useful to consider running an RTYDS Introduction to Directing project first.

If a director has access requirements that may require additional support to enable them to attend the placement, please get in touch with RTYDS to discuss how we might be able to help.

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 touring 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 also demonstrate that there is capacity to support more than one initiative.

This placement is a way of supporting a director at the very start of their professional development. We encourage the company to design a placement that best suits the director’s needs.  The placement might involve attending design meetings, observing or assisting in rehearsals, supporting participation work, shadowing members of staff etc. Learning about the director’s role in the leadership and operation of the company is also important.

At the core of our work is identifying and nurturing new and emerging artists; often these artists have grown up with digital media and new technologies are inherent in the way they create and communicate.  We ask our partner organisations to endeavour to include digital and new technologies within their project activity plans.

Evaluation of this scheme over the past 5 years shows that the directors benefit greatly from having access to the early production process.

For example, the director should be invited to join the company at design meetings at the outset of the production for which they will assist, as this will give them the in-depth knowledge of the production from the very beginning. This time should be paid as part of the Placement.

The Three-Month Placement is not transferable – the award is based on the specific opportunities laid out in the application and the participation of the director attached to the application.

In light of the current health emergency we are not currently accepting applications for Three-Month Placements. For more information click here.

Applications are assessed on the basis of:

  • the quality of the proposal and benefit to the new director
  • the track record of people involved
  • the background and experience of the new director

In each round 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 have paused applications for the Three-Month Placements. To keep up to date with further announcements follow us on social media or sign up to our e-newsletter.

If you would like to have a chat before submitting your application please contact Gina Fletcher, Executive Director on 0161 883 0296 or

All participants must be resident in the UK.

Guidelines for Directors

Participants for the Three-Month Placement are recruited directly by participating theatre companies. No professional experience is needed to take part. Participants should be over 18 years of age, live locally to the theatre, and want to know more about directing in theatre.

If you are interested in doing a Three-Month Placement in a theatre, we recommend that you talk to your local professional theatre to see if they might apply to host one.

Sarah Van Parys, Three-Month Placement Director:
“The placement was brilliant and has enabled me to set up my own theatre company and produce shows to a higher standard than I had done previously. I have made lots of contacts both in Liverpool and London and have been able to feel more confident in applying for assisting jobs. RTYDS mainly gave me the confidence to continue my journey as a director no matter how tough times get and gave me a clearer sight of motions I need to set in place to become a professional theatre director and run a successful theatre company.”

Bristol Old Vic:
“Sarah often, unconsciously at times, acted as a role model for our younger theatre-makers, or theatre enthusiasts who hadn’t necessarily gone to drama school, by demonstrating that there are other routes into professional theatre and your attitude and approach can be just as important as your experience and background.”

Our other programmes

Current Three-Month Placements

Three-Month Placements

“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.”

Robin Belfield
Theatre Director & writer

Three-Month Placements have been hosted in partnership with: