Following a company-wide evaluation and conversations with artists, activists, and arts leaders undertaken during the pandemic, The Drama League has drastically re-imagined its Directors Project, the organization's core development program for early and mid-career theatre directors. The new program portfolio will expand the support offered with a greater financial investment and additional programming in an effort to address systemic inequity and pay disparity in the field of directing.
“Even as our emergency services ramped up during the pandemic, The Drama League felt it was necessary to take time to answer the calls from the field and deeply interrogate our program offerings,” said Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks. “These programs, which we call The Directors Project, have been industry-leading for 40 years, but this moment brought forth clarity of a set of evolving needs directors and their collaborators have that we can respond to. We hope that other artist development organizations will join us in efforts to deepen, expand and improve artist care in a field-wide excavation of what 'best practices' can look like.”
Some details for the expanded programming initiatives include:
- The two-year Stage Directing Fellowship will offer two early career directors a $100,000 scholarship, health insurance, and directing opportunities at The Drama League's Theater Center in New York and at partner theatres (including Dallas Theater Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre Center, New York Stage and Film, Red Bull Theater, and Theatre Communications Group).
- Partnering with BIPOC/Global Majority Directors Jennifer Chang, Lisa Portes, Nicole A. Watson, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh, The League will pair one recipient of the Directing Assistantship with one director to assistant direct their projects. The Drama League will pay the assistant director's salary, housing, and health care costs.
- Under the mentorship of Tony Phelan, participants in the Film and Television Fellowship program will receive a 16-week production experience over the course of two-years that includes a $20,000 scholarship and health insurance reimbursement, along with the opportunity to direct a short film to premiere at DirectorFest.
- Three fellows will be selected for the FutureNow Directing Fellowship, which will partner with Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, and TheaterWorksUSA in New York City to offer fellows a $10,000 scholarship, as well as directing contracts at both theatres.
- The Drama League will also continue the Beatrice Terry Directing Residency and the Next Stage Residency, and the New Visions/New Voices and The Essentials educational initiatives in expanded and re-imagined forms.
For more details on all of these programs, visit DramaLeague.org.