New Fellowship Program to Advance 25 Early-Career Stage Directors
Photo Credit: S & A

New Fellowship Program to Advance 25 Early-Career Stage Directors

nullFYI for those of you who are pursuing careers as stage directors. An opportunity to grow that you might be interested in. Good luck! Maybe this will be the beginning of a long career that eventually sees you directing on the grandest stage of all – Broadway – where black directors are certainly lacking. Kenny Leon and George C. Wolfe are likely the 2 most visible, and most active.

Details via press release below… 

The Eugene O’Neill Theater CenterThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing ArtsNational New Play Network, and Stage Directors & Choreographers Foundation announce the launch of the National Directors Fellowship (NDF).  With substantial funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the five-year joint initiative will fast-track the professional development of 25 early-career stage directors, continuing the advancement of new artists and new plays in America.

The Fellowship is designed for early career directors – whether actively assisting or transitioning into the field – seeking an opportunity to lead direct, and who demonstrate heightened interest in new work.  The O’Neill will accept applications for the National Directors Fellowship January 12-16, 2015.

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 O’Neill has shaped the new play landscape for fifty years, and I’m grateful to collaborate with the Kennedy Center, NNPN, and SDC Foundation in supporting early career theater directors,” states O’Neill Executive Director Preston Whiteway.  “Too often, emerging directors find themselves on a “hamster-wheel” of endless assisting gigs, with little or no opportunity to take the reins on a professional production.  The National Directors Fellowship seeks to break through this logjam and launch new directing careers, while supporting our emerging writers.  This program would not be possible without national leadership support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and I’m thankful.”

“For some time now, I’ve been interested in creating a program for emerging directors. We’ve been developing ways at The O’Neill and elsewhere to better support the new play director,” says Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director of the O’Neill’s National Playwrights Conference.  “The Director Fellowship program fills a very specific need in our field since few opportunities exist for this type of directorial training and experience. I’ve been encouraged by this collective response, ensuring strong support networks, mentorship, practical experience, and expanded real professional opportunities for the directors who will shape storytelling on our stages for generations to come.”

Fellows begin in July of each year, observing and participating in the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. The Fellows then move to the Kennedy Center for the MFA Playwrights’ Workshop and Directing Intensive, led by NNPN and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.  In January, the Fellows will reconvene for an intense two-week Directing Symposium at the O’Neill.  The fellowship concludes with a directing residency at an NNPN Core Member theater.

For additional information, application requirements and deadlines, visit or email

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