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 11-15, 2020: 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 directors for the demands and expectations of the field.
Early August 2020: 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. 
Dates TBD: The New York Directing Fellows will assist on one (1) production at a major theater in the United States helmed by leading theater directors. These are designed for each director’s needs and curated by Drama League staff. 
January 2021: 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 2019 cycle, the Stipend was $7,000 for the 14 active weeks of the fellowship (between mid-May and late January), paid in equal installments. The amount of the Stipend will be disclosed prior to acceptance.
Fellows who live beyond a 50-mile radius of New York City are provided with housing in New York (if needed) during Professionals Week, Regathering Weekend, and DirectorFest.  Housing and transportation is provided for all Fellows for the Master Directing Retreat; round-trip transportation to, and housing for, assistantship assignments (if needed) is also provided.

Transportation and housing is NOT provided to attend finalist interviews in New York City.



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.


The Drama League is a dedicated advocate for diversity, anti-racist practice, and 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