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Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme to help the future of British theatre making to flourish

  • Date: 21 May 2014
  • Area: London
Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme

Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme. Credit: Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme

A re-envisioned Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) is set to reshape the future of British theatre by seeking out and developing the talent of exceptional emerging theatre directors.

The scheme, which is supported by £450,000 of public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, draws on a major consultation with regional artistic directors and industry leaders. The reimagined scheme is designed to provide sustained support for the development of new and diverse talent in contemporary British theatre.

RTYDS is the UK's longest running training scheme for young directors and its alumni include Vicky Featherstone (Royal Court Theatre, London), Teresa Heskins (New Vic, Stoke-on-Trent) and James Dacre (Royal and Derngate, Northampton).

It provides 18-Month residencies to allow participants to take up placements in some of the UK's leading regional theatres. The residencies nurture directing talents whilst also providing them with essential training in the operational running of a theatre - both of which are essential for a strong, successful and sustainable theatre sector.

RTYDS Chair Sue Emmas: "Artists from certain social, cultural and educational backgrounds have been long underrepresented in the arts, and the reinvigoration of RTYDS demonstrates our deep commitment to developing the diversity of our theatres by extending our own track record in attracting and engaging with the broadest possible community of directors. Over the next three years we are determined to ensure that at least 25% of RTYDS participants are from diverse communities, a figure that represents a 10% increase on the past five years. In partnership with theatres up and down the country we will be able to reach new artists from their local communities, the long-term impact of which is profound and transformative for the future of theatre".

The Scheme's work is underpinned by three core values: to find and support new directors from under-represented communities;  to offer opportunities for emergent directors to move away from assisting, make their own work and gain a practical understanding of how theatres operate; and to support the development of future artistic directors.

Joyce Wilson, Area Director, London, Arts Council England, said: 'The Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme is a vital part of ensuring England continues to produce some of the world's leading theatre directors and one that it is really important for us to support. It offers young, talented individuals from under-represented communities throughout the country an opportunity to realise their ambitions and to follow in the footsteps of leading directors such as Vicky Featherstone, Michael Boyd and Lorne Campbell. The goals of this project resonate strongly with our own, nurturing new talent, building sustainability by teaching operational as well as directorial skills, and providing a pathway for talented young people from diverse communities.'

From 2014 the scheme will run three programmes, providing support for directors across various stages of their careers.

Introduction to Directing for groups of very early career directors

Each year for the next three years 5 regional theatres will be supported to run targeted participation projects through their education and creative learning departments; enabling them to proactively engage with their local communities and to identify bright new talent.

Three-Month Placements for individual early career directors

Six early career directors will also be offered financial support for placements in regional theatres; proving them with invaluable insights to help them develop their skills.

Both the Introduction to Directing for groups of very early career directors and the Three-Month Placement for individual early career directors will engage with emerging talent from broad social, ethnic, educational and cultural backgrounds, supporting them as they begin establish their directorial careers.

18-Month Residencies for individual emerging directors

Over the next three years the RTYDS will offer eight 18-Month Residencies for individual emerging directors. The residencies will provide the opportunity for those directors to continue their artistic training and experience, working on productions and also directing their own projects.

For more information about the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme, please click here.