New York Directing Fellowship

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Open To: Early-Career Stage Directors; Mid-Career Directors Interested in this Fellowship should contact The Drama League to determine if the program is a suitable match for their needs.



2013 Master Directing Retreat.  Actors Kelley Curran (L) and Ariel Shafir in a scene from Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Fellow Elizabeth Carlson.  Photo credit: Kalina Wagenstein.

Founded in 1984, The New York Directing Fellowships bring extraordinary emerging stage directors into an extended program of creative advancement, industry-focused development, professional assistantships, and an opportunity to present their work to the field as part of the Off-Broadway festival DirectorFest, the nation's preeminent festival highlighting rising directorial talent.  The Fellowships nurture artistry, open doors, and usher in a maturation of skills and talent, preparing a director to work professionally at the highest levels the field can offer.



May 13-17, 2019: Professionals Week is an intensive immersion in the professional theater. Fellows will attend performances, participate in seminars and workshops with prominent industry professionals, and participate in discussions designed to prepare you for the demands and expectations of the field.
July 28-August 1, 2019: Fellows will participate in the Regathering Weekend and the Master Directing Retreat, an extended directing workshop under the guidance of a master director and teachers. Regathering Weekend will focus on practical skill acquisition, while the Master Directing Retreat will be held at a retreat center. Professional actors will join the directors for an immersive exploration of a specific text or playwright. 
The New York Directing Fellows will assist on productions at major regional and/or New York theaters with leading theater artists. Each Fellow completes one or two assisting assignments depending on length and availability. These are designed for each director’s needs and curated by Drama League staff. 
January 2020: The New York Directing Fellows stage one-act productions as part of DirectorFest, The Drama League's annual festival dedicated to the art of professional directing in the United States.  The festival takes place in New York City for an audience that includes artistic directors, producers, interested industry professionals, and others. DirectorFest is fully produced using professional casting directors, designers and production personnel. Post-production, the directors meet with theater professionals for an in-depth discussion of their work. 
The stipend amount will be determined in April 2019.  For the 2017 cycle, the Stipend was $7,225 for the 17 active weeks of the fellowship (between late May and late January), paid in equal installments. The amount of the Stipend will be disclosed prior to acceptance.
Fellows are provided with housing in New York (if needed) during Professionals Week, Regathering Weekend, DirectorFest and the Master Directing Retreat; round-trip transportation to, and housing for, their assistantship assignments (if needed). 




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.



Photo: @Catalinmedia


JENNIFER CHANG is a multidisciplinary artist whose work has been honored with an Ovation Award and the Stage Scene LA award, among others. She is a founding member and current Artistic Circle member of Chalk Repertory Theatre where she served as Artistic Producing Director and produced, directed, dramaturged and acted in numerous plays over the course of eight seasons. She has taught in the conservatory at the East West Players and guest directed at USC and at Texas State University, San Marcos for the Black and Latino Playwrights Conference and is a professional actor with many stage and screen credits. She is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographer’s Society (SDC - associate), Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), and Actor’s Equity Association (AEA). She is the current Head of Undergraduate Acting at UCSD. BFA - Tisch/ NYU; MFA - UCSD. Director's Lab West, National Director's Fellowship Finalist 2017.


TARA ELLIOTT is the director of critically-acclaimed shows BURQ OFF! and NOT THE ONE, and producer of the Gotham Award-winning web series “Shugs & Fats,” now in development with Amazon Studios. She translated and directed the English language workshop premiere of prize-winning Chilean play LAS ANALFABETAS and is currently developing a performance exchange with Cuban theater company Teatro El Portazo. She is the recipient of a Tow Travel Grant for research in Cuba, a CUNY Diversity Projects Development Fund Grant, and has developed plays in residencies with KO Festival of Performance and Barn Arts Collective. She has created and directed educational, community, and professional theater in Russia, Italy, France, Chile, Costa Rica, London, New York, Seoul, and various U.S. states. In NYC, her work has been seen at Walkerspace, HERE Arts, The Cherry Lane, Dixon Place, Robert Moss Theater, and The Barrow Group among others. MFA Directing, Brooklyn College.


SEONJAE KIM is originally from Seoul, South Korea. Riot Antigone, her original Riot Grrrl musical adaptation of Sophocles' tragedy, premiered at La MaMa and received productions at ANT Fest and Bryn Mawr College. She recently served as Associate Director for the immersive musical KPOP (Ars Nova/Ma-Yi/Woodshed Collective.) Her work has been seen at Atlantic Theatre Company, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Dixon Place, Williamstown, PEN/World Voices Festival, New York Theatre Barn, Prelude Festival and Chicago Fringe. She has worked with Pam MacKinnon, Bill Rauch, Stafford Arima, Lee Sunday Evans and is an alumna of Directors’ Lab West, SITI Company Summer Workshop, Williamstown Directing Corps and various residencies at La MaMa Umbria. Honors: Van Lier Fellowship (Asian American Arts Alliance) Mike Ockrent Fellowship (SCDF) and Robert Moss Fellowship (Playwrights Horizons) New Georges Affiliated Artist. BA: Northwestern


DENNIS YUEH-YEH LI earned his MA in Performance Studies at Tisch School of Arts, New York University. He works as a director, playwright, performer, and performance artist, creating productions addressing sexuality, literature, philosophy, and politics.  Dennis endeavors to make powerful and transcendental performances to stimulate compelling reactions in the audience. Highlighted directing productions include BLIND (Theater for the New City), THE (NEW) TRIAL (Theater for the New City), and CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS (Judson Memorial Church). Currently, Dennis is an Associate Artistic Director of The Living Theatre.


The Drama League is a dedicated advocate for increased diversity and for the inclusion of artists of color and of disability in all our programs. We aim to achieve full inclusion in all our programs, providing opportunities for directors to tell their stories, so that we make a theater that truly reflects the society in which we live; where each artist is considered on his/her merits as an individual; where the stories being told are drawn from authentic and diverse experiences; and where our individual humanity can be celebrated. To this end, the Drama League actively encourages and seeks applications from directors of all communities, especially those that have traditionally been denied equitable opportunities.

The Drama League does not and shall not discriminate, and will take affirmative actions to ensure against discrimination, on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, the selection of fellowship and residency artists; selection of staff, artists, partners, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors and clients; and provision of services.

"The Drama League took a risk and gave me an opportunity no one else would - they produced a play I directed in the heart of New York City and invited everyone to see it.  Every professional opportunity I've had since is the resulte of that chance they took on someone unknown and untested.  I will always be eternally grateful to The Drama League for their belief in me and for the continued nurturing that has endured over the years." 

- Mark Brokaw, 1986 Drama League New York Fellow, Director of the Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella