The Drama League Stage Directing Assistantships

Applications Open Now
Deadline: January 2, 2024


Lamar Jefferson and Kimberly Marable in the 2023 Guthrie Theatre production of "Blues for an Alabama Sky," directed by Nicole A. Watson. Jessica Natalie Smith served as Assistant Director through The Drama League Stage Directing Assistantships program. Photo: Dan Norman

In an effort to remove barriers to access that disproportionately affect BIPOC/Global Majority directors in the early stages of their careers, The Drama League Stage Directing Assistantships partners with acclaimed BIPOC/Global Majority stage directors to provide assistant directing opportunities on their productions across the United States to early-career BIPOC/Global Majority and/or historically marginalized directors.


The goals of this program are urgent and necessary.  First, the assistantships address disproportionate barriers to access that are pervasive, industry-wide, and damaging to the field’s future viability to operate.  Secondly, they offer a rare opportunity for the passing of knowledge, skills, and experience from generations of BIPOC/Global Majority directors to the next, as well as techniques to successfully employ against racism, inequity, and injustice in rehearsal, casting, and production procedures.  Third, it ensures a multiplicity of voices in this important and vital creative role, better serving the entire community of audiences, artists, and citizens.


The assistantships offer a peer-to-peer mentorship model to recipients.  The Drama League will provide each assistant director’s remuneration, travel, housing, and pre-production preparation resources.  Bridging theater and practice, this program opens the gates of professional production, provides essential community-building and care, and offers an experience of the field when rooms are led by BIPOC/Global Majority directors.

Assistantship Outline

Assistantship Duration

Pre-Production (varies, remote), Rehearsal/Tech (4-7 weeks)

Assistantship Frequency

Offered every year
(production location varies)

Assistantship Recipients

Three recipients each cycle

Scholarship Prize

$850/wk for in-person rehearsal duration up to opening night, not to exceed seven weeks (and may be less, depending on production)

Program Timeline

Click each month for program details

Additional Benefits

  • Travel to/from city of rehearsals/tech/performance provided; up to $200 reimbursement for in-city transportation
  • Additional Housing reimbursement of up to $200/week for in-person duration for recipients living more than 25 miles outside the metropolitan area of the production‚Äôs base
  • VIP Pass to all publicly offered Drama League programming during Assistantship
  • Access to¬†Alumni Programming and Events
  • Lifetime Drama League¬†Artistic Membership
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Early-career directors are eligible to apply who have not held the position of assistant directors on more than three Broadway, Off-Broadway, or LORT productions.  

This program deeply encourages applications from early-career stage directors who self-identify as Global Majority, Black, African-American, Hispanic, Latine (Latino/Latina), AAPI (Asian-American/Pacific Islander), Indigenous, MENASA (Middle Eastern/North African/South Asian), Biracial persons, Mixed-Identity persons, Persons of Color, and/or people of historically marginalized communities, for whom this program was designed in mind. Directors must exhibit through their application materials professional experience as a director in the early stages of their career.  Applicants currently enrolled in a program of higher learning will not be considered until after it is completed. Applications are welcome from directors whose paths to direction may have been nonlinear or nontraditional.    

2024-25 Mentor Directors

2023-24 Assistantships

  • Michelle Chan, assistant director for Mentor Director May Adrales on “Poor Yella Rednecks” by Qui Nguyen, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, NY, September 2023
  • Diego Alejandro Gonz√°lez, assistant director for Mentor Director Tatyana-Marie Carlo  on “La Broa’ (Broad Street)” by Orlando Hernandez, Trinity Rep, Providence, RI, January 2024
  • Sanhawich Meateanuwat, assistant director for Mentor Director Desdemona Chiang  on “Sanctuary City” by Martyna Majok, Seattle Rep, Seattle, WA, March 2024
  • Vanessa Ogbuehi, assistant director for Mentor Director Dawn Monique Williams  on the world premiere of “Welcome to Matteson” by Inda Craig-Galv√°n, New Jersey Repertory, Long Branch, NJ, September 2024


  • Susana Jaramillo, assistant director for Mentor Director Pirronne Yousefzadeh on “The Ants” by¬†Ramiz Monsef, Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles, CA, March 2023
  • Jean Carlo Yun√©n Ar√≥stegui, assistant director for¬†Mentor Director Lisa Portes on “Laughs In Spanish” by¬†Alexis Scheer, Denver Center Theatre Company, Denver, CO, January 2023
  • Jessica Natalie Smith, assistant director for¬†Mentor Director Nicole A. Watson on “Blues For An Alabama Sky” by Pearl Cleage, Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN, January 2023
  • Kendra Ware, assistant director for¬†Mentor Director Jennifer Chang on “Everybody” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Antaeus Theatre Company, Los Angeles, CA, August 2022

You may find your answer on our F.A.Q. page for artists, 
which includes information about eligibility, application materials, and more. 

Why This Matters

As the nationwide data in Stage Directors and Choreographers Union‚Äôs 2020 ‚ÄúNext Stage Report‚ÄĚ revealed,¬†only 11% of directors hired on Broadway or in stock theaters identified as persons of color, despite being 44% of the general United States population in the 2020 Census.¬† Among the country‚Äôs largest theaters, LORT A+, zero directing contracts were filed by BIPOC/Global Majority directors with SDC in the 2018-2019 season.¬†Facing these undeniable barriers to equity, there is a wide call in the American Theatre community, and in society, to center communities of color to address the generations of industry-wide centering of whiteness.¬† The Drama League recognizes this call to action, and joins the many similarly-minded programs that have initiated in recent years across the field, including the¬†BIPOC Casting Fellowship, the TCG¬†Theaters of Color Re-Grant, the SDC Foundation¬†Lloyd Richards New Futures Residency, the¬†Shubert BIPOC Artistic Circle,¬†the¬†Black Theatre Coalition Apprenticeship¬†and¬†BTC Broadway Across America¬†programs, and¬†New Victory Theatre‚Äôs LabWorks, among others.¬† The Drama League, however, will address specifically¬†the role of director-led learning via production, the first program to do so.¬† The Drama League Assistantships were developed with a working committee of the¬†Drama League Directors Council, an advisory body of leading freelance stage directors, artistic leaders, educators, and film/tv professionals.¬†¬†


The Drama League Fellowships are career-transforming opportunities for stage directors focusing on creative learning, skill building, and career development.


The Drama League Residencies develop and incubate director-led projects for live performances, utilizing the resources of the Drama League in New York City.

About the Drama League

The Drama League is a creative and career development home for directors, and a platform for dialogue with, and between, the audiences they inspire in theater, film, television, online, and anywhere live performance is found.  Launched in 1916, The Drama League is one of the longest continuously-operating arts service organizations in the United States.  To be a part of our community supporting future generations of artists, please visit