The Essentials


The Essentials:
Workshops for any Artist's Toolkit


The Essentials are four online workshop classes, each consisting of two separate sessions over two days, that cover topics ranging from text analysis to branding strategy for artists and more. Sessions run 2-3 hours each, with participants being able to meet one-on-one with workshop leaders in select sessions.

Participant rates include full interactivity, all class guides and exercises, and personal communication with the session leader and others. 
Observer rates come discounted and are for those who wish to view the seminar without participating in the full experience.


[SOLD OUT!] THE ESSENTIALS BUNDLE, which includes all workshops with full participant access (eight sessions total), is available for $199 (regular price $280).
     Audition Techniques - Feb 5 & 12 | 7pm - 9pm EST
     Personal Branding - Mar 11 | 6pm - 8pm EST & Mar 18 | 15-minute scheduled personal materials consultation
     Text Analysis - May 8 & 9 | 10am - 1pm EST
     The Art of the Pitch - May 18 | 6pm - 8pm EST  & Jun 2 | personal pitch feedback workshop


Students, Drama League members, and AEA/SDC members can access discounted rates.



The Other Side of the Table:
Audition Techniques for Directors

February 5 & 12, 2021
Feb 5
| 7pm - 9pm EST [Participants & Observers]
Feb 12 | 7pm - 9pm EST  [Participants only] 

[Sold Out] Participant (General Admission): $50 | Observer: $30

The old saying is true: casting is everything. But finding the right actors, in the right roles, is easier said than done. How do you choose? What techniques can strengthen your ability to quickly and effectively match actor and role? And how do we change the process itself so that it reflects our creative and ethical values? The Other Side of the Table: Audition Techniques for Directors moves the selection process out of relying on instinct to skills any director can employ to attract talent, explore possibilities, and make the tough choices. Developed from interviews with dozens of acclaimed directors, agents, and casting directors, Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks will lead participants in techniques to reveal unconscious biases, and offer pathways to ensure your production is inclusive, equitable, and diverse.

There are two options for taking this class. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with Stelian-Shanks and the other participants live on Zoom, and receive feedback on projects in both sessions. Observers will be able to audit the first session.


Sign Up Here:   [Sold Out] Audition Techniques (participant)    Audition Techniques (observer) 



Standing Ap(art):
Personal Brand Marketing for Directors & Creatives

March 11 & 18, 2021

Mar 11 | 6pm - 8pm EST [Participants & Observers]
Mar 18 | Participants only: 15-minute scheduled personal materials consultation

[Sold Out] Participant (General Admission): $50 | Observer: $30

In the digital age, the idea that your artistic work should just “speak for itself” ignores the realities of our interconnected world, where artists must present themselves in multiple arenas and mediums to rise above the noise. As social media and the internet become essential tools to network, connect, and collaborate, how you present yourself and your artistry requires sophistication and dazzle. Standing Ap(art): Personal Brand Marketing for Directors & Creatives will show you how to authentically and dynamically present who you are to the community, the industry, and the world. Associate Artistic Director Nilan and freelance director Emily Lyon will reveal strategies and tips on websites, resumes, social media, and connectivity to support you and your art.

There are two options for taking this class. Participants will have the opportunity to interact in the class live on Zoom and will be able to sign up for exclusive 1-on-1 private sessions to receive individual feedback and assistance on creative materials. Observers will be able to audit the first session.

Sign Up Here:   [Sold Out] Standing Apart (participant)    Standing Apart (observer)   



Text Analysis for Directors & Creatives

May 8 & 9, 2021

May 8 | 10am - 1pm EST
May 9 | 10pm - 1pm EST

Participant (General Admission): $50

Back by popular demand, Text Analysis for Directors & Creatives is a hands-on seminar by Sarah Wansley designed for directors looking to explore and refresh their process or artists who are interested in directing, with a goal to develop their own rigorous approach to effectively analyze scripts and articulate vision. The workshop will explore concepts of event, main dramatic question, objectives, obstacles, dramatic structure, and defining the world of the play.

The virtual workshop will consist of two three-hour classes live over Zoom, and there will be short readings and some prep work outside of the class times. There is no observer option for this class.

Sign Up Here:  Text Analysis   



The Art of the Pitch:
Sharing Your Vision as a Director

May 18 & June 2, 2021

May 18 | 6pm - 8pm EST  [Participants & Observers]
Jun 2 | Participants-only pitch workshopping session

[Sold Out] Participant (General Admission): $120 | Observer: $55

The Art of the Pitch: Sharing Your Vision as a Director leads participants towards the discipline of authentically framing your conceptual ideas in compelling, concise, and strategic ways. Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks and a community of directors will share their experiences and findings pitching to gatekeepers across the regional, commercial, and international scenes. The Drama League has been a leader in this training with their acclaimed Directors Project, which has been developing the careers of directors for nearly 40 years.

There are two options for taking this class. Participants will have the opportunity to interact in the class on Zoom and will be able to get personal feedback on their pitch in the second session. Observers will be able to audit the first session.

Sign Up Here:  [Sold Out] Art of the Pitch (participant)     Art of the Pitch (observer)



Want to do them all? Sign up for the Bundle! 




Emily Lyon (she/her/hers) is a director and dramaturg who brings her clarity of audience and facility with text and storytelling to her design and communications work. As a marketer and designer for over 12 years, Lyon has created branding collateral for The Drama League, New York Theatre Workshop, The Shakespeare Society, Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre, and others. She has created logos and branding, style guides, posters, key art, playbills and other pieces for more than 10 organizations. As a director, Lyon has directed 8 world premiere plays, and worked with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, The Old Globe, Geva Theatre, LaMaMa, Yale Rep, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Hedgepig Ensemble, The Folger, and others. EmilyALyon.com

Nilan (he/him/his) is a performer, creator, and arts leader. He serves as the Associate Artistic Director of The Drama League and is a founder of the creative content production company A CERTAIN SOMETHING. His work has been seen nationally/internationally at theaters and film festivals as the Harlem International Film Festival, PlayMakers Repertory, Downtown Art, Playback Berlin, Madrid International Film Festival, 48 Hours in Harlem, and more. He is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.

Gabriel Stelian-Shanks (he/him/his) is the Artistic Director of The Drama League, and a founding member of the creative content company A CERTAIN SOMETHING.  One of the co-directors of Peculiar Works Project’s Obie-winning THE VILLAGE FRAGMENTS, he has directed over sixty productions across the United States, Europe, and South America. He received the Theatre Project Honor for Outstanding Vision in the Theatre, and was recognized for his arts leadership by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. This year, he was nominated for Best Director at the 2020 Madrid International Film Festival; his short film “The Damnable Deprivation of Dmitri” was chosen to open the 2020 New Masculinities Festival.

Sarah Elizabeth Wansley (she/her/hers) is a New York-based director, producer, and educator. Sarah is the Artistic Producer at Chautauqua Theater Company and was the inaugural recipient of the Cleveland Play House Artistic Directing Fellowship for Women. Recent directing projects Egress by Melissa Crespo and Sarah Saltwick at Cleveland Play House, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. by Alice Birch at Dobama Theatre, The Seagull by Anton Chekhov with the CPH/Case Western MFA program, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, and The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey at Chautauqua Theater Company. She is a New Georges Affiliated Artist, a 2018 Drama League Resident Artist, a 2015 Drama League Directing Fellow and a member of the 2011 Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Sarah received her MFA in Directing from UCSD.