Set to launch in July 2015, the fellowship will afford 25 young directors the opportunity to observe and participate in the O'Neill's National Playwrights Conference, followed by the Kennedy Center's MFA Playwrights' Workshop and Directing Intensive and later the O'Neill's Directing Symposium. The fellowship culminates in a directing residency at an NNPN core member theatre. According to the O'Neill, "NDF is 18 months of practical, hands-on training, mentorship and - most importantly - concludes with a professional lead directing opportunity. It connects directors to a vast network of playwrights, expands access to professional support services, and provides laboratory-like settings for observation and experimentation, equipping tomorrow’s stage directors with the skills, knowledge, and network to advance new play development and production around the country."
The five-year joint initiative is sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.