Next Stage Residency

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Mariana Newhard and Lipica Shah star in the World Premiere of Assembled Identity, directed by  2017 Drama League Resident Director Kristin Marting, at HERE Arts Center in New York City. (© Steven Pisano)

The NEXT STAGE RESIDENCIES deeply engage stage directors as full partners in the creative process of theatre-making, and provide the developmental resources to advance their careers. In the program, we provide a process-oriented home for a theater director for one year, giving them space, time, and financial resources to grow and deepen multiplle creative projects in a generative context.  


This residency includes:

RESIDENCY SPACE    A fixed number of hours of complimentary rehearsal space, to be used over the course of one year.  
(In previous years, Next Stage Residencies have included between 15 and 50 hours of rehearsal and administrative space, commensurate with the needs of their projects.)

RESIDENCY STIPEND    A stipend for the developmental expenses of the residency will be awarded.
(In previous years, Next Stage Residencies
 have received between $1500 and $7500 to cover developmental expenses, commensurate with the needs of their projects.)

PROFESSIONAL MENTORSHIP    The artist will receive professional mentorship from The Drama League Artistic Staff.


While we ask for the residents to apply with a specific project in mind that will be developed as part of their residency, NEXT STAGE is invested in the individual director, not one specific project. Over the course of a year, a director may have multiple pieces in different stages of development. We, therefore, do not limit the residency to only one project. At the beginning of the residency, The Drama League will work with each director to construct a calendar of activities supported, in part, by the stipend; the director may choose to supplement the stipend with funds raised elsewhere, if they wish.

Next Stage Resident Directors must attend a gathering of all supported artists each February, and must hold at least one (1) Open Rehearsal during their residency.  Details for these requirements are included in the application.

If you have questions about which residency is most appropriate for your project, please call (212) 244-9494 to discuss options in depth.  We are happy to speak with you!





Nell Bang-Jensen

Nell Bang-Jensen is a theater director/creator who has created five full-scale, original works, in addition to directing and producing for many of Philadelphia’s major theater institutions including Pig Iron, the Wilma and the Painted Bride. Her interests in radical models for community engagement, social practice, devising, and new play development guide much of her artistic work.  She recently served as the Associate Artistic Director of Pig Iron through a Leadership U Grant, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Theatre Communications Group; a fellowship given to eight rising artistic leaders nationally.  Recent directing credits include The Caregivers (Pig Iron), The Real Whisper (César Alvarez’s Polyphone Festival), and Practice Wedding (Painted Bride).

Nosejob is an original theater work that examines the relationship between desire, seduction, consent and masculinity. It weaves together narratives from a 9th century abbey, a contemporary college campus, and an imagined future where the patriarchy has actually crumbled.  This piece was inspired by the story of Ebba, a nun who lived in Scotland circa 870 A.D. When Viking invaders pillaged her abbey she famously cut off her nose; an act of self-mutilation that she hoped would help her avoid being raped and ensure her ascent to heaven.   It has been suggested that this is the origin of the saying “cutting off your nose to spite your face”. Nosejob explores this story and how women who compensate for violent male behavior have continued to be glorified in the twelve centuries since.  


Shayok Misha Chowdhury

Shayok Misha Chowdhury is a queer Bengali director, writer and performance-maker. He is currently a Resident Artist at Ars Nova, a member of the SohoRep Writer/Director Lab, a Resident Director at The Flea, and a recent New York Theatre Workshop Directing Fellow. His work has also been developed and seen at Signature Theatre, SPACE on Ryder Farm, HERE Arts Center, NYMF, the New Orleans Film Festival, and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Upcoming projects include rasgos asiaticos (SohoRep & CalArts Center for New Performance) and MukhAgni (Ars Nova). He is on  faculty at Williams College. MFA: Columbia. shayokmishachowdhury.com

Beast Thing: A ghost town emaciated by its own secrets. A Saint charged with eating the town’s sins. The animals are dying mysteriously, the dogs are barking incessantly, and underneath it all there’s a lurking frustration that we’ve heard this story before. Aleshea Harris’ Beast Thing is a critique of our racialized national mythology: the nostalgia-inducing tropes, at once violent and pastoral, that we call Americana. We are playing with estrangement to pull apart the seams in those same-old small town tales.



Ashley Brooke Monroe

Ashley Brooke Monroe is a Brooklyn-based theatre director whose primary interest is in developing new plays and musicals. Recent credits include Julius Caesar (CSC), Tommy’s Girls (Fordham/Primary Stages), Fun Home (Cape Rep), and Orlando (Fordham). She assistant directed the Broadway production of Indecent and has assisted Sam Gold on the Tony-winning musical Fun Home, Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie and The Mystery of Love and Sex at Lincoln Center. She often creates site-specific work, including What We’ll Do by Sheila Callaghan, Red Sky at Night by Blake Bishton and Age of Extinction by Willie Johnson. She has developed work with NYTW, The Public, Musical Theater Factory, The Flea, Soho Rep, IRT, and New York Theatre Barn. Originally from Austin, Ashley holds a BFA in Dramaturgy from the University of Oklahoma. 

Biting Hands: New couple Lucy and Alfonso have a lot in common: they both love jazz, hate incompetent ER nurses, and are quadriplegics who use an identical computerized voice. Their mothers only see differences. Alfonso’s mom writes off anyone who isn’t a Spanish-speaking PhD candidate. Lucy’s mom won’t let her date, period. With Lucy’s 18th birthday and legal independence looming, she hopes to defy her mother through an illegal and irreversible plan. Laura Winters’ new play Biting Hands is equal parts hilarious coming of age story and a brutal dissection of disability, class, and race in present-day America. 


Madeline Sayet

Madeline Sayet is a director of new plays, classics and opera who believes the stories we pass down inform our collective possible futures. For her work as a director she was named to Forbes’ 2018 30 Under 30 List in Hollywood & Entertainment, and has been honored as a TED Fellow, a MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, a National Directing Fellow, and a recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award. Upcoming directing: ​Whale Song by Cathy Rexford (Perseverance Theatre), ​Henry IV (CT Repertory Theatre), ​Midsummer Nights Dream (South Dakota Shakespeare). www.madelinesayet.com

Hart Island Requiem: Larson Award recipients Ty Defoe (Book & Lyrics) and Tidtaya Sinutoke (Composer) invoke the silenced voices of the land on which we stand. Hart Island is a real place that you can take the MTA Ferry to, which most of us will never hear about. It is a potter's field located in the Bronx, where over one million people have been buried, from 1869 to the present day. This immersive, investigative theatre piece reveals the stories of the people who were tossed out and buried there, because America did not want them. Their ghosts gather at an abandoned theme park where they remember their lives and deaths. Amidst them, one young spirit wonders what it would be like to be one of the living.