Artist F.A.Q.

General Questions

Absolutely! There are two ways to reach us. The first is via email, at artistic@dramaleague.org. The second is to attend our free Q&A sessions, where you can meet and talk to our artistic staff members about your application. We offer them in the lead-up to the application deadlines each year, in both online sessions (via Zoom) and in-person in New York City. If there are sessions upcoming, you’ll find them at the bottom of our Events Calendar.

The Drama League offers Fellowships, Residencies, Assistantships, Exchanges, and other Opportunities to engage, learn, and join the community.  You can find each set of programs, with the resources each program offers, in links from our homepage.

A lot!  The Drama League recently altered and expanded its programming, and each has its own application and area of focus.  We strongly encourage you to read about each of them in depth.

There’s no such thing as a perfect fit. Perfection is a myth!  If you feel a program is generally of use to you, we look forward to reading your application.

The two-year programs aren’t for everyone, we understand; they are for directors who are interested in a deep, extended commitment…which means, of course, that other opportunities may not be possible during the time period. Please make sure that you are fully committed to participating in the entire program as your personal priority BEFORE applying. Applicants must be available for all program components during the program period without exception. Conflicts with the program components will result in the cancelation of those components, without being rescheduled, and a resulting reduction in the program and its effectiveness.
The Drama League supports your directing career… congratulations on the gig! Conflicts with program components, however, will result in the cancelation of those components and a reduction in the program, without being rescheduled. Therefore, we encourage you to prioritize this program should you decide to apply. We promise, it will be worth it… and it offers a number of directing opportunities as well!

Applications - Eligibility Questions

That’s up to you! You can apply for as many as you wish…however, not every director is suited for every program at every point in their careers. Drama League programs are specifically designed for directors facing certain moments in their career paths, and others are intended for directors that have faced inequity in their fields. Some are for theater, others for film and television. Some programs are two years in duration, others just a few weeks. More information can be found on each individual program’s pages…find the ones that are right for you!

Yes, but they’re simple.  Applicants must have directed at least three things — productions, workshops, one-night events, etc. — outside of an educational learning context before applying. This can be any project where you directed performers in a live setting (and that includes film/video, where you would have directed performers on set). By “outside of an educational learning context,” we mean three projects that were directed OUTSIDE of your student learning in an educational program like a high school, college, or university. (We value student work as a learning opportunity, but for our programs, we want to make sure applicants have ALSO begun the journey in making work outside of their school experience.) Similarly, due to the time commitments of the various programs, recipients cannot be enrolled in any undergraduate or graduate degree program during the program’s period of support.

Don’t worry about it! We understand that the path to a directing career varies widely, and that the idea of three things may not emcompass the wide breath of experiences directors have. All we ask is that you tell us about that experience in your application answers, and that you tell us why you’d benefit from the program offerings. As always, we also accept your questions at artistic@dramaleague.org, but you’re the expert on yourself — if you think you’re ready for these programs, so do we!

No.  We understand that directors come to their profession from a variety of paths and experiences.

The answer is (a qualfied) yes. Our programs are available to any director who feels they are right for them. However, any applicant who is not a U.S. citizen will need to obtain all documents and permissions (visas or otherwise) to spend the right amount of time in the United States…which ranges from two separate weeks (residencies) to two years (certain fellowships). AND, even though our programs are educational in nature and not considered employment, they come with a monetary scholarship prize that some nations (including the United States) may consider taxable. Please check with your own country’s embassy, ministry or municipality to ensure you understand the responsibilities you undertake when applying. One other thing: The Drama League offers air travel for some of its programs, but these are based on domestic (U.S. originating) flights. You will have to fly to/from the States first, and The Drama League will handle travel in those programs in country.

To be fair to all applicants, there will not be a deadline extension. We suggest finishing your application and submitting it at least 72 hours before the deadline.

In very loose, general terms, we think of an Early-Career Director as someone who is at the beginning of their professional journey…beginning to work beyond the completion of any educational path they have taken. A Mid-Career Director, then, might be someone who has been working in the field for 4-5 years or more, and an Established Director would be anyone who has done more than that. 🙂 HOWEVER, we understand these categories, even as general as they are, are not incredibly effective when elucidating the career paths of artists. They are not important or discussed in our selection panel’s deliberations. Why not? Well, just because you’ve worked consistently for ten years does not mean, for instance, that opportunity has come your way; similarly, directors who have only been working a few years may have moved quickly to big opportunities, and not need the same things their peers need. In truth, every individual comes to directing on their own individual path; to speak with Drama League staff about your specific experience and its appropriateness for any specific opportunity, please email artistic@dramaleague.org with your questions.

Of course!  It is hoped, however, that they will note this in their application narratives, and address the reasons they feel they are the ideal candidate for the opportunity.

Applications - How To Apply Questions

All of our applications require your legal name, address, telephone number, and email address.  In addition, you’ll be asked to provide your pronouns, a headshot or professional photo of yourself, your professional website, a URL link to samples of your directing work (either photos or videos), and two professional references (just their names and contact infomation, not letters from them).  You will also submit a number of short essays answering various questions related to your directing. For the Directing Residencies, which develop new works, you’ll also need to upload work samples of the script, and have the permission from the author to apply.

In general, we’d like you to connect your personal experience to the wider world: to help us understand why you direct, and why you make the art you make. We encourage you to use direct, concise language, and steer clear of jargon. Follow the “less is more” rule; you do not have to use the maximum word count. Mentioning influences, inspirations and references are helpful contextually for the application readers, who may be unfamiliar with your work. When Drama League applications ask for work samples; we suggest that the language you use about your work match what the panel will see in the samples. Being specific with rich, sensory language can help us understand how your directing relates to the work samples you are sharing.

 

What are we looking for? Authentic, creative people with a clear and exciting point of view on the world. We’re looking for directors with a desire to make even better art in the future. Almost all of our applications ask you to tell us about the way you direct, and what the needs you have that we can help with. Although our applications do not ask for an “artist statement” (we reject the field’s desire to force artists into boxes), the advice in this article is terrific for guiding an approach to our application in general.

To us, your Directorial Practice should tell us why you are a director in the first place. It can be your history, or your influences, or a discussion of work you are drawn to, techniques you’ve employed in your work, what makes you want to direct…and (hopefully, and most importantly) why are you unique from everyone else applying. Essentially, we hope you’ll tell us what makes you YOU, as a director. Your Directorial Process, on the other hand, is HOW you direct, the actual process of preparation and execution you use when directing a play, musical, film, or other live performance. Some things that you might want to discuss here are how you read the text, how you take notes on it and prepare, how you approach research, how you execute the process of rehearsal, or production meetings, or casting, or previews, etc. Directorial Practice is who you are; Directorial Process is how you do it. Speak from the heart, and speak about yourself…we understand these are difficult questions (that’s why we ask them!), and we look forward to learning about you through what you choose to share with us.

No.  Our application software, Submittable, allows you to begin your application and save your work to return to at a later time.  The Drama League will not be able to view your application until you confirm that it is complete in their system.

Yes, but you may request a fee waiver for any application by emailing artistic@dramaleague.org. We want to support directors who want to be a part of this community, and we will not allow the application fee to be a barrier for anyone.

Applications - Other Questions

To be fair to all applicants, there will not be a deadline extension. We suggest finishing your application and submitting it at least 72 hours before the deadline.

Generally, we begin to review applications in January and end sometime in April. All programs follow different processes during this time, so some begin as late as March. All applicants in programs are notified no later than late April.

No. Because we do not have written consent and a verified pre-event set of applicants and guests, we do not (and will not) record those sessions. We also want applicants, in those sessions, to speak freely, and recording would impede the communications of those participants. However, if you’re unable to attend any of the sessions, we’re happy to answers your questions individually at artistic@dramaleague.org!

Drama League Stage Directing Fellowship

About the Drama League Stage Directing Fellowship

The scholarship prize for this opportunity is $100,000 over two years.  For twenty-two months, it is disbursed in equal installments.  For the final two months, payments will be scheduled in conversation with you, so that it can cover expenses for your final directing opportunity once it is scheduled.

Many!  In addition to network expansion and learning opportunities, there will festival readings to direct, multiple artistic team projects to be a part of including Assistant Director credits, a residency at a major theater company that will include internal or external directing opportunities, and an Off-Broadway production at Keen Company.

The experience at MTC and MTC (yes, both the same abbreviation!) are designed to be similar, but each provides its own unique relationship to the institution. For that reason, applicants are matched by The Drama League to the track that best suits both the institution and the recipient. If you are offered one of these Fellowships, you will be informed which track you are being offered.

Film & TV Directing Fellowship

Yes.  This Fellowship is a bridge for theater directors to make their first foray into these related, but different, fields.

No.  However, we do expect there to be evidence of interest and curiosity beyond a passing interest. This is intended for theater directors who are serious about expanding their work into film, television, streaming, or other related disciplines.

Drama League Film Fund

Specifically, the fund is intended to help theater directors — who often don’t have a lot of filmed material to share with potential producers — make pieces that showcase their artistry. So the Film Fund is specifically interested in supporting short films, proof-of-concept pieces, pilots for TV/streaming/indie series, and other kinds of material to advance your work. We will also consider, however, applications for feature films in development, series, and hybrid works. 

We think of The Drama League Film Fund as a way to help theater directors, who are already working on a film or television project, to obtain funds so that the work can happen. The Drama League will not be an active producer of the film in any way, and will only receive producer crediting in our agreement with the recipients. To put it another way, any director applying to this project will need to be a self-producer, or have a producer (or producers) on the project already.

In order to be able to evaluate your application fairly, we need to see the totality of the vision AND the plan for execution. While we understand that these projects sometimes come together slowly, we need to be certain of the project’s viability. So if you do not yet have a script or a plan, it may be too early to line up financing like that offered by the Film Fund.

Rose Directing Fellowship

The Rose Theatre will offer the recipient housing in a private room in a beautiful home near the theater. You’ll be well taken care of!

No, the recipient will be responsible for their own travel around London while there. However, the staff of the Rose will make every effort to help you obtain tickets to performances at other theaters, and to connect you with interesting people in the London theater community.

Similar to production and arts leader practices in the United States, you will have a regular schedule both for production (rehearsals, meetings, tech, previews, etc.) and a schedule as a member of the team at Rose. The particulars of the schedule will be worked out with the Rose Theatre leadership as we get closer to the Fellowship period.

FutureNow Stage Directing Fellowship

For the 2024-2025 cycle, the answer is no. The Drama League and The Hangar Theatre are longtime partners, who are taking this time to re-evaluate the Hangar experience and determine the most impactful ways to uplift emerging directors in the future. We hope to return this to the program offerings in future years.

A remount, in this case, means a pre-existing production that is being recreated for a national tour. This means that you will be using the original production’s notes on staging, choreography, and production elements with the goal of getting it as close to the original production as possible. However, you’ll be involved in the selection of the new cast, and how you rehearse and direct these elements are all YOURS. You are directing, in your process. This is an essential skill set for any one interested in being a freelance, resident, or associate director on major productions around the world.

Beatrice Terry Directing Residency

Great question!  The residency begins with the writing process, and ends with the Open Rehearsal presentation of the piece directed as an in-progress reading. We respect, however, that directors work at different paces, so we’ll work with you to make sure your distribution of rehearsal hours support your particular process of creation as a writer-director. The entire process must begin in July with a Writing Week at New York Stage and Film, and the final open presentation at The Drama League completed by the following spring…but within that year, we’ll work with you to create a timeline that’s most effective for you!

The Beatrice Terry Residency is designed for early or mid-career stage directors who identify as writer-directors… who most often write the productions that they also direct. While anyone who identifies in this manner is welcome and encouraged to apply, it is our hope that this dual focus is a longtime, integral part of your artistry.

We get this question more often than one might expect. For the Beatrice Terry Residency, we employ an inclusive understanding of women and nonbinary folk. The Residency seeks to make space and resources for these communities, who often encounter additional barriers when they choose to both write and direct their work simultaneously…barriers that men have historically NOT faced in the field. While we accept applications from everyone, of course, we ask that you consider the legacy of sexism, misogyny, transphobia, and bias that have historically plagued the arts sector, and our attempts to counter those forces specifically in this opportunity.

Next Stage Directing Residency

The idea behind the Next Stage Directing Residency is to assist in that sometimes-difficult middle section of a piece’s development — that period when the piece is past its genesis, but needs deep thought, refinement and interrogation by artists before it is ready to be produced. Simply put, we’re hoping to take your piece to the “next stage” of its journey, in a director-led, rehearsal-based developmental workshop that follows the questions and impulses of the director.

At The Drama League, we’re deep believers in the idea that community is key to artistic endeavor, and that providing a moment of open interaction in a developmental process can provide crucial insights for the creators and joyful discovery for everyone involved. We’ll work with all recipients to make sure the moment of open rehearsal is safe, supportive, enjoyable, and art-forward.

To create a full developmental process, the recipient will receive an August residency at Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education, a gorgeous arts development space in Cambridge, NY, about three hours north of New York City. There you’ll be joined by some collaborating artists (usually a few actors) and Drama League staff to explore the piece in the rehearsal rooms and theatres of Hubbard Hall. At the end of the time there, there will be an open presentation of the work-in-progress, as well as a moment to plan for the second week of the Residency, which takes place at The Drama League in New York City.

Drama League Stage Directing Assistantships

There is no specific industry standard for the role of Assistant Director. However, it is a crucial position on many theatrical creative teams. In most cases, they are there to support the Director in their work on the production. This can mean anything from administrative tasks to coffee runs, but it also means creative support…the Assistant Director make take notes for the director or take their own, for instance. They may support with staging, or support in production and design meetings. They are often utilized significanly in tech and previews to help shape the performance. Every director uses the Assistant Director slightly differently, but the best directors utilize this position as a second eye on the process, and benefit from two heads looking at the same issues.

No. Directing Observerships, which are offered by other organizations or by theater companies themselves, are a chance to watch a production process….to learn literally by observing. However, observers generally have no artistic role on the project they are observing. It is not a credited position on the artistic team. Assistantships, at least how they are conceived at The Drama League, have a codified role in the room.

Because of the timing of the application process, it is almost always impossible to know the show you will be working on….theaters simply don’t lock in their performance schedules publicly this far in advance. However, applicants who are selected as Semi-Finalists will interview directly with the Mentor Directors, and if we know what the show is at that point, we’re happy to share it! Some of the theaters that have participated in the past include some of the largest in America — Manhattan Theatre Club, Denver Center Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Trinity Rep, Guthrie Theatre, and Seattle Rep, among others.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?

We are here to help.  Feel free to reach us at artistic@dramaleague.org
Due to volume, it may take us up to three (3) business days to answer, but we will!