One of the only programmes of this type in the country, the StoneCrabs Young Directors’ Training Programme aims to help train and develop the potential of a group of theatre makers in the beginnings of their career.

It has been almost a year since Headways Festival at The Albany, Deptford and the culmination of my training with StoneCrabs Theatre Company. The festival sold out almost every play and was a roaring success, as stated by audience, press and industry. Throughout our training, we wrote, as a collective, a series of articles on what being a director is really like. Now, we can look back and reflect on what we learnt and where our training has taken us.

The StoneCrabs Directors Programme took us on a six-month journey that incorporated all different aspects of creating theatre. The clear focus was on directing, and included workshops from directors such as Greg Eldridge, Almiro Andrade and the StoneCrabs team, with the opportunity to try out our own work and ideas. However, we also had workshops on sound design, set design and talks from casting directors, artistic directors and writers. Every Wednesday, we attended producing meetings as a collective to get Headways Festival up on its feet and you should not underestimate the duty that the company has done by providing us with such a smorgasbord of training.

So, what exactly are we doing now? A lot can happen in a year with a load of training, a bit of ambition and a lot of hard work.

Tom Ward (@04TWard), director of The Worker in Headways Festival says that ‘the StoneCrabs programme not only helped to develop my ability to make directorial decisions with confidence, but it also forced me to articulate my artistic visions with clarity. Above all, I have been able to be part of an invaluable support network of directors.’

See Tom direct Thirst by Eugene O’Neill (28 February- 11 March) at The Space.

Jesse Haughton-Shaw (@JHaughtonShaw), director of The Jewish Wife, is now running and creating work with Blue Guitar Theatre, alongside co-artistic director Kay Dent. Recently, she created an adaptation of Cain by Lord Byron at The Hope Theatre, which included a combination of Bryon’s original text and new writing, written by the company. Blue Guitar is now in the process of developing a series of projects. Keep in touch with Blue Guitar.

As for myself, I am now working as a freelance theatre director and producer. After I directed The Fat Man’s Wife as part of Headways Festival, I went on to work alongside other StoneCrabs Directors, Jesse Haughton-Shaw and Ria Samartzi, as well as with (d)Deaf accessible Hot Coals Theatre Ensemble, Old Sole Theatre, and many others. For me, the programme provided practical training as a director and producer, with writer workshops being invaluable for my current project: a one-woman, new writing, dark comedy. The company helped me learn about the relationships between disciplines and the artistry that goes into collaboration. Above all, it allowed me to explore the work I want to create in the future- and believe me, that list is endless but I hope it never stops growing.

I (@Becca_Gwyther) will be directing Claustrophilia, at VAULT Festival 2017.

This year’s cohort is hosting Stomping Ground with a spectacular collection of plays being performed. Emily Marshall says ‘StoneCrabs Theatre Company has been absolutely invaluable to my training; providing me not only, with the outstanding opportunity to practice my craft in a professional capacity, but teaching me the practical and artistic skills I will need, along the way.’ From one year to another, we wish you the best of luck in the festival and in your future. Catch Stomping Ground (15 – 17 March) at The Albany, Deptford:

StoneCrabs is doing an incredible thing by providing training which is often inaccessible due to the sheer cost and prospect of student loans. If you are ever questioning if you should apply to be part of the programme, my answer will always be ‘yes’. The work above is an example in itself of the springboard that the programme gave us into the theatre industry. Other previous participants have gone on to take MAs in theatre directing, work as writers, producers and designers, but it is safe to say that StoneCrabs are the ones who gave us the opportunity to try everything out with space, time, advice and encouragement.

This blog post was written by young director Rebecca Gwyther.