Saying goodbye to a year gone past and hello to a new one is always slightly frightening. For artists it’s even worse, as you might not know what your next project is, or if a new one will stand on its own two feet. For the StoneCrabs Young Directors, the new year brings excitement and hope, but also nerves and lots of pressure.

2014 is the year Play-ground, our young directors’ festival, comes to life. December was a month of fundraising for us, with our Sponsume campaign kicking off – and I’m not going to lie, we have lost faith in arts funding in this country many times during the holiday season. But now it’s a new year, a fresh breath of air for the directors, and we are back, ready to meet our target with a fundraising event in January and our big, final shout out to the industry with our festival.

We spent most of our time together in 2013 learning the craft of the creative team: how to produce our own show, cast it, get money and most of all be extremely prepared for every possible challenge thrown our way. 2014 is going to be the icing on the cake – over the next two months we go into production, with our auditions in January and then rehearsals in February. Now is the time we can challenge our directing skills and have fun – this is, after all, what all of us love and why we do what we do. It’s time for the creative fluids to flow, and I know we are all bubbling with excitement.

However, despite the creative aspect being what we all love so much, now is also the time to plan and be efficient. Our casting calls are going live through Spotlight and various casting sites this week, and then it’s time for auditions. Time to put a face to our beloved characters, time for them to have a voice, a life. The actors are the ones who breathe life into a play, not the director. We guide them through the world of the play and their characters, but we won’t feel it and experience it the way they do. That’s why this is the most important part of the process – without the right actors, everything falls apart.

Then comes our fundraising event on Friday 17 January – The Big Mix – at The Big Red in Deptford. We’ve planned a night full of entertainment and a chance to pitch in and support our festival, and no doubt it will be a night buzzing with creativity. If you are curious, follow the event on Twitter: @SCYD2013

After painting the town red and creating one big artistic party, we will be thrown into our rehearsal period in February. This is the time we all long for: exploring our plays with our actors and creating an unforgettable theatre festival.

There’s a lot to do, and it won’t be easy. But being an artist is all about the risks and the hard work that we curse and love at the same time. I can’t imagine a better start to 2014 than firing off a creative project like this.

Camilla Gurtler

Photo by Flickr user Amani Hasan under a Creative Commons licence.