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The Drama League Fellowships, part of an umbrella of programs collectively known as "The Directors Project," are intended for directors to advance their careers, hone their artistry, and elevate their work to the next level of their professional development. Each Fellowship has a clearly-defined area of focus that offers industry-leading opportunities for training, network development, mentorship, production experience, and creative growth.









These Fellowships vary in both area of specialization and in intended participant: some are intended for early-career directors, and some are intended for mid-career directors. At the top of each application form, these designations will be specified.

How do we define 'early-career'? Generally, we see it as a director who has worked as a director in professional or semi-professional theater for roughly 2-6 years; has not had a Broadway, Off-Broadway or major regional production; and generally, has completed fewer than five production assistantships. How do we define 'mid-career'? Directors whose experiences exceed the above criteria. Applicants who are unsure of how they fit into these categorizations should contact us directly before applying, to discuss their specific circumstances and program suitability.

Applicants must have directed at least four non-collegiate productions, and cannot be enrolled in a university B.A., B.F.A., M.F.A., or M.A. program in 2019.
Applicants are NOT required to have a university degree, but should have commensurate professional experience.
Applicants must make themselves available for program components during the program period. This means that applicants cannot participate in other developmental fellowships during this time window. Applicants who have taken directing commitments during the program period may, due to lack of available time, have to forego one or more elements of the program, at the discretion of the staff.
Applications open each autumn for the fellowship cycles that begin the following spring. Payment of one application fee lets you apply to as many of the fellowships as you wish. Once you have opened an account in our Application Portal and paid for your first application, you will receive private links to all other Drama League Fellowships Applications for that year. If you wish to apply to other fellowship programs, use these private links so no additional fees will be assessed. Below, you'll find detailed information on each of the initiatives and recent fellowship recipients.
Thank you for participating... we look forward to learning more about your work!


2019 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.


RAZ GOLDEN is an East Coast-based stage director of new plays and classics. Recent directing credits include regional work in the Williamstown Theatre Festival Directing Studio: East ot the Sun, In The Same Space, If You Want My Heart (Come and Take It), and in Pittsburgh; Guts: A New Musical (Turnaround Theatre Co.), and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Scotch’n’Soda Theatre). Assistant directing credits include; Long Lost (dir. Daniel Sullivan), Emma and Max (dir. Todd Solondz), Dangerous House (dir. Saheem Ali), and Crowns (dir. Regina Taylor). He is a member of the 2018 Williamstown Directing Corps, a Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow, and an alumnus of the McCarter Theatre Directing internship and City Theatre Directing Observership. BA: Carnegie Mellon University.




TAI THOMPSON is a New York City-based multidisciplinary artist. Tai has assisted on large-scale productions throughout the US including Amparo -- an immersive walk through Cuba's revolutionary war, 3/Fifths -- a macabre carnival and cabaret set in SupremacyLand, and the site-specific history series set in historic motels across Miami -- Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana and Miami Motel Stories: MiMo. She wrote and directed the comedic one-woman play Not Quite Ripe and is currently writing Lucky, which focuses on what it really means to love and how one family's inability to successfully share it affects their community. She is a 2018 SDCF Observer assisting Timothy Douglas on The Color Purple at Portland Center Stage. She was also a 2018 inaugural NAMT Observer assisting Stephen Brackett on the new musical A.D. 16. Tai holds degrees in Studio Art and Theatre from Florida State University.




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.


NJ AGWUNA is a theatre and film director. She approaches theatre with curiosity and wonder, believing that theatre can not only heal us, but show us all the possibilities of the world that we inhabit. She has worked on a national and international scale exploring classic text, developing new plays, devising, and investigating new ways to explore trauma and mental illness through theatre. Some of NJ's credits include immersive work with Third Rail Projects and Punchdrunk, Harold Pinter's One for the Road as part of the Segal Center's Re-Reading Oppression, Julius Caesar, Theatreworks USA's Freedom Train National Tour, Endangered: the ECO Musical (AD), and What She Found (won Best Drama at FRIGID). She is currently developing a new rock musical, Only Human, and is a teaching artist with Tectonic. Directing MFA: Columbia University, SDC Associate. www.njagwuna.com



CHIKA IKE is a theatre director. Recent productions include the world premieres of A Swell in the Ground, Franklinland, In the Blood, No Child..., Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea, and Don’t Smoke in Bed. She has also worked with The Public Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Victory Gardens, About Face Theatre Company, Chicago Inclusion Initiative, Chicago Dramatists, Prologue Theatre Company, and the Chicago Home Theatre Festival. She has received the SDCF Gielgud Directing Fellowship, the Bret C. Harte Directing Fellowship, and Victory Garden’s Directors Initiative. She is a proud ensemble member with the Gift Theatre where she also serves as the director of the 4802 New Play Residency Program. Current and upcoming projects include Kentucky by Leah Winkler (Gift Theatre), and The Death of the Last Black Man... by Suzan-Lori Parks. www.chikavike.com




REBECCA MARZALEK-KELLY is a Brooklyn-based director and choreographer. Her work has been seen at BAM (Fisher), The Public Theater, PS122, BRIC House, The Bushwick Starr, and Terminal 5. She's directed multiple productions with the experimental company Fovea Floods. Directing highlights include Fasten and The Turn of the Screw. She assistant directed with LAByrinth Theater while in residence at The Public Theater. As a guest artist at Skidmore College, she directed Who Will Carry the Word and Let the Right One In. Most recently she was a directing observer on Hadestown at the Walter Kerr Theatre, observing Rachel Chavkin. Through TCG and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, she’s a three-time Leadership U(niversity) Serving the Field grant recipient. Her training includes Williamstown Theatre Festival, SITI Company Summer Intensive, SDC Foundation Observership Class, and Skidmore College. Member of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.



LINDSEY HOPE PEARLMAN is a Brooklyn-based director and writer. As a director, her work has been seen at The O’Neill Theatre Center, The Flea, Goodspeed Opera House, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Santa Fe University of Art & Design, The Adobe Rose Theatre, Dixon Place, and Barn Arts Collective. Her play Lucy received an EST/Sloan Commission and was performed by an international devising ensemble. Her play Viv is for Vengeance received an Honorable Mention from the American Playwriting Foundation’s Relentless Award. Her viral video "Make America Great Again" has been viewed over 20 million times on Facebook and YouTube. Assistant Director: Bandstand on Broadway (directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler - TONY Award, Best Choreography 2017). SDC Associate Member and 2-time SDC Observer. Co-Artistic Director, Up & Down Theatre Company. Graduate, London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA) B.A Hamilton College. Upcoming: MacGyver the Musical. www.lindseyhopepearlman.com




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.


SHARIFA ELKADY is a trans Egyptian-American director from Charleston, SC. She is the artistic director and founder of Sojourner Stage Theatre Company as well as a 2018-2019 Directing Apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Directing Credits include: 3:59AM: A Drag Race for Two Actors by Marco Ramirez, In The Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks, For Colored Girls by Ntozake Shange, Fugue In A Nursery by Harvey Fierstein, Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, Harriet Tubman Visits A Therapist by Carolyn Gage, The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, and Same Time Same Place by Tasha Gordon-Solmon. Recent assistant directing credits include: Pipeline (Steve H. Broadnax III), A Doll's House Part 2 (Pirronne Yousefzadeh), The Corpse Washer (Mark Brokaw), The Santaland Diaries (Meredith Mcdonough), Dracula (Drew Fracher) and The Royale (Sharon Graci). She has also completed internships at Weston Playhouse in Weston, Vermont and Theater J in Washington, D.C. Elkady graduated cum laude from Winthrop University with a B.A. in theatre performance and a minor in sociology.



ISMAEL LARA, Jr. is a Latinx director from Southeast Texas. He champions work that aids the fight against injustice and creates a bridge between underrepresented communities and the theatrical institution. Selected Directing credits: And All the Dead Lie Down by Harrison David Rivers (Convergence-Continuum, workshop), Aunt Leaf (Cleveland Play House), The Mint Play (Cleveland Public Theatre). Selected Assistant credits: Guards at the Taj, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Junk, The Chinese Lady (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), The Family Claxon (Cleveland Public Theatre, World Premiere). He has worked with San Francisco Shakespeare, Faultline Theater, TASC CLE, Ensemble Theatre, French Creek and Playwrights Local. Ismael is part of the 18/19 SDC Observership Class and will be attending Northwestern to receive his MFA in Directing beginning Fall 2019.



AMANDA McRAVEN directs and produces collaborative, feminist, socially-conscious theater and performance. Director: 16 Winters or The Bear’s Tale (American Shakespeare Center), Penelope, (California Repertory Theater), The Pliant GirlsMacbethAntigone (Fugitive Kind), Much Ado About Nothing (Manawatu Summer Shakespeare, NZ), Famine Plays (Theatre of Note), The WolvesThe Seagull (University of Virginia), She Kills MonstersBlind Mouth Singing (Cal State Long Beach), Arcadia (Cal State Northridge). Assistant Director: The Clean House (Lincoln Center Theater), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Hamlet (South Coast Repertory), The Merry Wives of WindsorRoom Service (Utah Shakespearean Festival), Red Noses (The Actors’ Gang). Fulbright Award (Community-based Theater, New Zealand), LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award (The Pliant Girls), SDC Associate, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, MFA UC Irvine. amandamcraven.com



SOPHIA WATT is the associate director at Rec Room Arts and a freelance director in Houston, Texas. Directing credits include: The Effect (Match), Oleanna, The Visit and Creatures of Habit (The Landing Theatre Company), Hedda Gabler (part of Rec Room’s artist residency), Three Sisters (University of Houston, guest artist). She has assistant directed for Theresa Rebeck at the Alley Theatre, and James Bohnen and Bill Brown at the University of Houston. She is an artistic associate with Titan Theatre Company and an alumni of Barn Arts Residency, the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, and SDCF observership class 2016-2018. BFA: The Hartt School. MFA: University of Houston. Sophiawatt.com





The Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellowship

The Leo Shull Fellowship for New Musicals places an early-career director as part of the teams of new musicals in development as part of New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Season.  The fellow also returns to New York to direct a one-act musical as part of DirectorFest.


BEN RANDLE recently relocated to NYC, after spending 15 years in San Francisco creating original musicals and plays, as well as directing West Coast and regional premieres. For four seasons, he was Artistic Associate at New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC), San Francisco. Recent World Premieres include Plover by Ryan Fogarty (2018 Samuel French Festival), Salome, Dance for Me, an original glam rock musical he conceived and directed by trixxie carr with SF Opera's Robert Mollicone (NCTC), Sagittarius Ponderosa by MJ Kaufman (NCTC), Warplay and Into the Clear Blue Sky by JC Lee. Regional premieres include Sons of the Prophet by Stephen Karam and The Submission by Jeff Talbott (NCTC). Other credits include Sweeney Todd (Ray of Light Theatre), Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Douglas Morrison Theatre). Ben has worked at California Shakespeare Theater, Aurora Theatre, ZSpace, and West Edge Opera. B.A.: San Francisco State University. Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow 2017-2018. Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab.




Directing Fellowship in Film/Television

The Fellowship for Directing in Television is a career development initiative for stage directors to observe the craft of film/TV direction.  Through network building with industry professionals and shadowing successful film/television directors, the Fellow will gain essential skills and contacts to begin working in both mediums.



JAKI BRADLEY is a Brooklyn-based director of new plays and musicals. Recent projects: Good Men Wanted, Radio Island (NY Stage and Film), 1969: The Second Man (NYTW Next Door), Breeders (NLTP, TONY Critic's Pick), and Mama Metallica (Denver Center New Play Summit). She has developed and presented work with The Public, Williamstown, Soho Rep, Clubbed Thumb, Goodspeed Musicals, Arena Stage, and Ars Nova. As an associate, she worked with Chris Ashley, Michael Greif, Leigh Silverman, and Daniel Aukin. She has been a member of the Civilians R&D Group, an Artist-in-Residence at Ars Nova, Drama League Artist-in-Residence, member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Williamstown Directing Corps, Lincoln Center Director's Lab, and U.S. Fulbright Scholar. Her first feature film, an LGBTQ+ thriller set on Fire Island, is currently in post-production. jakibradley.com  




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




The Drama League DirectorFest production of She Persisted directed by 2017 Directors Project Musical Fellow Laura Brandel.

Elijah Caldwell , Latoya Edwards, Tanesha Gary, Aaron Phillips.  Photo: Michael Bonasio.