The Drama League Stage Directing Assistantships
Open September 2023
THE DRAMA LEAGUE STAGE DIRECTING ASSISTANTSHIPS
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.
Pre-Production (varies, remote), Rehearsal/Tech (4-7 weeks)
Offered every year
(production location varies)
Four recipients each cycle
$600/wk for in-person rehearsal duration up to opening night, not to exceed seven weeks (and may be less, depending on production)
Click each month for program details
July (TBD, occasional, online/remote)
ASSISTANTSHIP PREP WORKSHOP
Assistant directorships begin with discussions of the practice, expectations, and evolving role of assistant directors.
- Travel to/from city of rehearsals/tech/performance provided; up to $200 reimbursement for in-city transportation
- Housing reimbursement of up to $250/week for in-person duration for recipients living more than 25 miles outside the metropolitan area of the production’s base
- VIP Pass to all publicly offered Drama League programming during Assistantship
- Access to Alumni Programming and Events
- Lifetime Drama League Artistic Membership
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.
2023-2024 Directing Mentors
- Susana Jaramillo, assistant director for Mentor Director Pirronne Yousefzadeh on “The Ants” by Ramiz Monsef, Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles, CA, March 2023
- Jean Carlo Yunén Aróstegui, 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
Why This Matters
As the nationwide data in Stage Directors and Choreographers Union’s 2020 “Next Stage Report” 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’s 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’s 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.
See Current Fellows
About the Drama League
The Drama League is a home for stage directors, and a platform for dialogue with, and between, the audiences they inspire. Founded in 1916, the organization is one of the longest-running, continuously operating arts service organizations in the United States. To support its programs for artists, or to become a member of its community, please visit www.dramaleague.org.