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.

Our first few months of the StoneCrabs Young Directors Programme has brought about its challenges and successes. We come into December with a great deal of achievements and positive gains but the struggles along the way mean that there is no rest for us over Christmas! We will continue working hard to get Headways Festival up and running in March so alongside the mulled wine and Christmas pudding there is something else to be thinking about.

Going into the New Year a large proportion of our funding is secure, with Arts Council England, Jack Petchey Foundation, William Boreman Trust and Lewisham Council all being incredibly generous to make Headways Festival a reality. Our Kickstarter was a success and we celebrated all our achievements with our one-night fundraiser Make Way for Headways where some phenomenal musicians, poets and comedians performed!

While as a group our focus has been a lot on producing our festival over the past few months, we have spent a lot of time learning invaluable directing lessons from the masters. We’ve had Bola Abaje, Greg Eldridge and Valerie Kaneko-Lucas deliver workshops, just to name a few, as well as important discussions with industry professionals about casting, agents and marketing. As we progress closer and closer to Headways Festival all of these lessons will become even more vital, especially as casting is not so far away now!

Throughout the madness of the last few months though, I think our whole group agrees on one of the most important things of this programme; we meet other directors. Directing can often be a very lonely thing, as can producing, and the majority of the production is solely in your hands meaning you have to think about everything. As a group we have bonded and I can tell we will keep up with each other for years to come. We support each other’s work, style and keep each other going when it all gets tough. With the unbelievable support from our workshop leaders I cannot wait to see what overwhelmingly wonderful creations Headways Festival, and everyone’s work afterwards will bring.

StoneCrabs is doing an incredible thing offering this programme, something essential to the ever-growing industry. The programme gives us an enviable opportunity to hone in our skills, gain more and showcase our work to industry professionals. It is so much more than a directing course though; to survive in the madness of the theatre you need skills beyond what you hope to do, something that StoneCrabs is giving to us.

The New Year will bring more struggles for the eight young directors but saying that we aren’t looking forward to it would be a lie. It’s both maddening and exciting but the countdown to Headways Festival has begun!

StoneCrabs Young Directors Festival is on 14-18 March at The Albany Deptford. This blog post was written by young director, Rebecca Gwyther.