The Drama League International Directors Exchange

Made possible with the generous support of the Trust for Mutual Understanding and with the assistance of our partners and friends at Art Office Foundation, The Center for International Theatre Development, and the U.S. Embassies.
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The poster image of the Bulgarian premiere of AVENUE Q, developed in the International Directors Exchange and directed by American West Hyler at the Sofia Puppet Theatre. The production won numerous Ikarus Awards, the Bulgarian equivalent of the Tony Award.

The International Directors Exchange provides a wide range of opportunities for directors around the world to share training methodologies, to perform research, to collaborate creatively, and to share production opportunities in multiple nations. Since 2009, The Drama League has supported hundreds of artists in Bulgaria, China, Georgia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States in a globally-focused approach to theatrical understanding and artmaking.  As of February 2023, The International Directors Exchange has supported over 112 stage directors and arts leaders, 12 living playwrights, 26 productions, 168 actors, 19 collaborating organizations, and over 500,000 audience members in Belarus, Bulgaria, China, France, Georgia, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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Director Christian Bakalov puts the final touches on his large-scale performance piece PURE, for its 2020 U.S. premiere in New York City as part of The Drama League's International Directors Exchange.

The Drama League International Directing Exchange supports directors at any stage of their professional career.  Please see our F.A.Q. page for eligibility questions.  Applications are especially welcome from directors who identify as members of populations that have historically been denied equity, access, inclusion or belonging in the field and in society, who have been marginalized, underrepresented, and/or those whose paths to direction may have been nonlinear or nontraditional.

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Director Lila Neugebauer (third from right) and playwright Clare Barron (fourth from right) lead a New Play Development workshop at the Teatrul de Comedie in Bucharest, Romania, 2015.

Exchange History

Click each year for the IDE's timeline and program details
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The 2018 Directors Delegation to the ACT Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, featured (clockwise from top left) Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, director Zi Alikhan, Associate Artistic Director Nilan, director and Co-Artistic Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre Estefania Fadul, National Advisory Council member Susan Lang, playwright Tim J. Lord, director and Associate Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre Center Nicole A. Watson, and director Rebecca Martinez.

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


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.