Welcome to the Drama League Directors Project Fellowships.  These extraordinary, award-winning programs are designed to help early and mid-career directors take the next big step in their professional evolution.  The five areas of focus each offer unparalleled opportunities for training, network development, production opportunity, and artistic growth.  Below, you'll find detailed information on each of the initiatives and the 2017 fellowship recipients.  

Sherri Eden Barber, Program Director
(212) 244-9494

Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Executive Artistic Director
(212) 244-9494


Detailed information about each of our programs can be found by clicking the links below:

Classical Directing Fellowship For Artists Of Color

New York Directing Fellowship (formerly titled Fall Directing Fellowship).

- Hangar Directing Fellowship

- The Leo Shull New Musicals Fellowship

- Directing Fellowship in Film & Television


The Drama League DirectorFest production of Out At Sea by Slawomir Mrozek, translation by Nicholas Bethell, directed by 2016 Directors Project Fall Fellow Sarah Elizabeth Wansley.  Photo: Richard Termine.


2017 Fellowship Recipients

Classical Directing Fellowship

The Drama League Classical Directing Fellows will enjoy summer residencies at three of America’s leading theatrical homes for classical work – The Old Globe, The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare & Company – assisting on mainstage productions and directing in their educational and touring programs.


Justin Emeka specializes in new approaches to "classical” texts as well as imaginative stagings of popular and emerging playwrights.  In New York, he adapted and directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo n Julietat the Classical Theatre of Harlem.  Recent production’s include Lydia Diamond’s Stick Fly at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle; Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit ’67 at Karamu House in Cleveland and Alice Childress’s Wedding Band at Oberlin College.  Mr. Emeka has an MFA in directing from the University of Washington and is an associate professor of Theatre and Africana Studies at Oberlin College.


Kholoud Sawaf is a Syrian director from Damascus.  She has worked as a theatre and documentary maker in Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and United States. In collaboration of TheatreSquared, she’s adapting and directing R&J Damascus, a recipient of a $250,000 grant through Doris Duke Foundation’s Building Bridges Program. Some of her directing work includes: The Chairs (U of A), Merci Maurer (devised) with ArkansasStaged and Vietgone (TheatreSquared, 2018).  Assistant directing credits include:Vietgone (Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Manhattan Theatre Club). BA: American University of Shajrah, Mass Communication. MFA: University of Arkansas, Directing.

New York Directing Fellowship

An immersion for four directors in directing opportunities in the professional theatre, both regionally and in New York City, culminating in a festival of their work Off-Broadway.


Bonnie Gabel is a queer director, performance-maker, and community organizer based in New Orleans, LA.  As co-director of LAST CALL she creates innovative, multi-platform performances that document and interpret LGBTQ history. She is an ensemble member of NEW NOISE and writes for Pelican Bomb. She is co-directing the nationally touring performance Alleged Lesbian Activities. Her work is funded by MAP, The National Performance Network, The Network of Ensemble Theaters, and Alternate Roots. She studied internationally with the Moscow Art Theatre and the DAH Theatre.  She holds a BFA in Performance & a BA in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. bonniejeangabel.com


Matt Dickson is a New York based director. Recent credits include: The Cider House Rules (Rutgers University), Leah Nanako Winkler’s The Adventures Of Minami (The Brick), Kid Prince & Pablo (Ars Nova), Silver Men (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Brian Quijada's Where Did We Sit On The Bus? (Kennedy Center), Charles Mee's A Perfect Wedding (Atlantic Conservatory), Carmen (NY Opera Exchange), and Aykroyd (Fordham University). Regional credits include: Lanford Wilson's Home Free! and Michael John Garcés Audiovideo (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Upcoming: Blood Wedding (Rutgers University). As an actor he has appeared on Broadway in War Horse and The Coast of Utopia (Lincoln Center), and Off-Broadway in Nicky Silver’s Too Much Sun (Vineyard). B.F.A. from Boston University. mattjdickson.com


Flordelino Lagundino is a New York-based director, producer, and actor. He is the artistic director of Leviathan Lab and former associate producer at La Jolla Playhouse. His directing credits include: Sweeney Todd, Doubt, Yellowman, Animals Out of Paper, Cedar House (Perseverance Theatre);Like a Lizard, Words Words, Passage, (Leviathan Lab); Flipzoids, True West, Shakespeare’s R&J, The Reincarnation of Stories (Generator Theater Company); In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Much Ado About Nothing, Stone Cold Dead Serious, In the Blood (Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company). Directing fellowships: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage. Education: MFA in acting, UT-Austin; MFA in directing, Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company. www.flordelinolagundino.com.


Rebecca Martínez is a Brooklyn-based director, choreographer, and deviser. Her work focuses on audience connectivity and social practice. Upcoming: Ms. Julie, Asian Equities (Brave New World Repertory Theatre, NYC) and 26 Miles (Profile Theatre, Portland, OR). Rebecca is an ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre, a Co-Curator of Working Theater’s Directors Salon, a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, INTAR’s Unit52, the 2015-16 SDCF Observership Class, the Latinx Theatre Commons and Ghostlight Project Steering Committees, and an Associate Member of SDC.  Awards include the Lilla Jewel Award. Rebecca is an artist with the Center for Performance and Civic Practice. rebeccamartinez.org

Hangar Directing Fellowship

A practicum in artistic leadership of a regional theatre, where fellows lead a resident acting company in programming, directing, and producing the second stage season at the Hangar Theater in Ithaca, NY.


Michael Alvarez is an international theatre director.  He’s directed at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Arcola Theatre, and Westminster Library in London, at the Brighton Festival; and he was a guest director in Slovenia. Other UK experience: a workshop with Punchdrunk, producing at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and leading new musical workshops with Mercury Musical Developments. Selected NY credits: Trouble: A New Rock Musical(NYMF), Pistrix (Midtown Festival), Back (Gallery Players). Recently he directed Salome by Oscar Wilde at Calarts. Member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Education: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama; and California Institute of the Arts. Michael-Alvarez.com


Jillian Carucci is a director, teaching artist and producer. Directing: Biohacker (Exquisite Corpse Company), Mirror, Mirror (Tunnel Theatre), Identity (Tony-Award winner Alice Ripley’s solo show). Teaching: scene study and devising (McCarter Theatre Center and Premiere Stages), monologues and business of theatre (CAP21 Conservatory). Currently developing a new play in residency at The Tank. Director of the Industry Practicum and Showcase program at CAP21. Co-founder of Tunnel Theatre, SDC Associate, member of the League of Independent Theater. Graduate of Westminster College of the Arts of Rider University. www.jilliancarucci.com


Tom Costello, freelance director and Ithaca native, is the Director of Artistic Development for Pipeline Theatre Company and an Associate Artist at the Flea Theater. With the Flea: the world premieres of Smoke by Kim Davies,The Wundelsteipen by Nick Jones; with Pipeline: Sleepless City by Tim Chawaga, Shakespeare the Dead by Alex Mills, Bubble and Squeak by Evan Twohy (Samuel French finalist); with Libra Theater Company: The Thirteenth Commandment by Joshua H. Cohen; with Dramatic Adventure: productions devised in Slovakia and Ecuador. Faculty member at Atlantic Acting School where he most recently directed Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play. BFA from NYU/Tisch. www.tomcostello.net


Gabriel Weissman Directing: Steel Magnolias (Co-directed with Marsha Mason, Bucks County Playhouse); The Birds (also adaptation, Scranton University); Mille Miglia (also adaptation, from teleplay by Athol Fugard),Zastrozzi (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Making the Move (Edinburgh Festival Fringe) as well as work with NYMF, National Black Theatre and NYC Children’s Theatre. Associate/Assistant Directing: Long Day’s Journey Into Night, China Doll, The Winslow Boy (Broadway); Many Off-Broadway/regional productions with Roundabout, Atlantic, Second Stage, Vineyard, Public and Signature Theatres. Co-writer of Loose Canon (licensed by DPS); MTC Fellow; LCT Directors Lab; Three seasons at Williamstown Theatre Festival.www.gabrielvegaweissman.com

The Leo Shull New Musicals Fellowship

The Leo Shull Fellowship for New Musicals places an early-career director as part of the creative teams of two new musicals at SigWorks, the developmental workshop and festival at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.  The fellow is also mentored by Sigworks director Joe Calarco before returning to New York to direct their own presentation of new musical scenes.


Laura Brandel is a NYC-based director/choreographer of new musicals, plays, and devised work.  Artistic Producer, NYTB’s New Works Series (2008-2016).  Director of Dramatists Guild Fellows Presentation (Playwrights Horizons).  Directing: Mackenzie & The Missing Boy (MTF),The Good Girl and Body and Soul (Manhattan MT Lab), Deux Femme (The Lark), Missing Karma (Samuel French OOB-Festival), A.R.T./New York Gala honoring S. Epatha Merkerson.  Choreographer: Cry Eden (Access Theater), Hit the Wall (Barrow Street), a cautionary tail (The Flea). Consultant to Larry Keigwin on Rent Off-Broadway, Assistant Director Doctor Faustus (CSC).  Member SDC, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, DNA’s Choreolab. BA in Dance/Dance Education from Hunter College. www.LauraMovesPeople.com.


Any questions can be directed to directorsproject@dramaleague.org.