News: RTYDS announce biggest round of regional director placements

A scheme that supports young directors from under-represented backgrounds has announced the winners of its directing placements in theatres across England.

The Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme (RTYDS) revealed on 20 June, that seven directors will receive a paid three month placement at their local theatre, and five theatres will host Introduction to directing projects, in their largest roll-out to date.

Sue Emmas, the Artistic Director of RTYDS, said: “RTYDS aims to change the face of British theatre.

“We want to give opportunity to directors from under-represented communities to become the future directors and leaders of British theatres.”

The placements aim to support emerging directors from under-represented backgrounds. The recipients include Alix Harris at the Barbican Theatre, Plymouth; Nikki Hammond at Core at Corby Cube, Leah Francis at Mind the Gap, Meghan Doyle at Northern Stage, Newcastle, Monique Touko at Royal Exchange Manchester, Omari Swanston-Jeffers at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Elmi Ali at Contact Theatre, Manchester.

Ali, one of the winners, said: “Directing has been the carrot at the end of the stick, the thing that you aspire to, that pushes you forward but is ultimately out of reach.”

“The RTYDS paid placement with a company and the opportunity to learn is a godsend to young aspiring directors like myself.”

Following an overhaul in 2014 by Emmas, RYTDS now support young directors through three strands: Introduction to directing, three month placements and 18 months residencies.

Created in the 1960s, alumni from RYTDS include Vicky Featherstone and Michael Boyd.

Emmas spoke about her company addressing the imbalance of opportunities between London and the regions: “It is a misconception that to make brilliant work you have to head to London; that every emerging director really wants to or can live and make work in the capital.

“London shouldn’t be seen as the endgame, just part of a larger, rich national landscape.”

Image: Elmi Ali by PabloM