Creating Space for Young Directors

After finishing university I moved home to South East London and got a place on the StoneCrabs Young Directors Program in 2011, something that I am incredibly grateful for. I then went on to successfully gain support from the John Fernald Award, which allowed me to continue my training with StoneCrabs and join multiple productions as an Assistant Director. I have since gone on to get paid employment as an Assistant Director as well as directing my own projects.

I really think that programs for directors, like StoneCrabs’, are so important for the ecology of performing arts in this country. If you look at acting for example, there are hundreds of ways for actors to train and systems in place to help actors to grow as artists. From an early age there are clubs and summer camps and youth theatres to help teach actors the skills of their craft.

Asphalt Kiss ' at The New Diorama Theatre - Director Franko Figueiredo, Assistant Director Ferghal Crowley

Asphalt Kiss ‘ at The New Diorama Theatre – Director Franko Figueiredo, Assistant Director Ferghal Crowley

But the same does not widely exist to help directors. I know of two regional theatre companies which last month advertised training positions for directors; the first had 200 applicants per place and the second had had over 160 per place. This clearly shows that there is a huge demand for director training but that there are a precious few places to support a healthy pool of emerging directing talent. Where the StoneCrabs program was key was that it combined the skills of directing with the logistics of producing; all the ingredients of being a theatre-maker.

It is now two years exactly since I completed the Young Directors Program, which for me culminated with a staged reading of Simon Stephens’ “County Music”. The program was a perfect introduction to the art of directing, but it was only an introduction. The past two years have been as valuable as the first few months for me learning about what it is to work with actors and how to tell a good story in a theatrical way.

Currently I am very interested in lots of Chinese plays and aim to direct perhaps one or two in the not too distant future. Having lived and worked in Beijing, I really want to bring out a side of China we just never see in the news.

'Country Music' by Simon Stephens directed by Ferghal Crowley at The Albany Theatre

‘Country Music’ by Simon Stephens directed by Ferghal Crowley at The Albany Theatre

StoneCrabs is a great company for bringing diverse and unseen work into the UK and I think there is a real appetite for international work in London.

For any directors that are in the early stages of their career, there are a few websites that should become essential viewing for opportunities and ways of meeting people in a similar position to you.  Ideastap (www.ideastap.com) has regular “briefs” that can be applied for as well as the Ideastap Spa which offers workshops and seminars on all sorts of topics. The Young Vic’s Directors Network (http://directors.youngvic.org/) is one of the best organisations to sign up to as it offers training, networking and also has frequent jobs posted. Get Into Theatre (http://getintotheatre.org/) has some very good general information as well as lots of opportunities for people interested in working in theatre. And I also really like going to some of the Platform discussions at the National Theatre (www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/) where you can hear a bit more about a show’s creative team and where their ideas came from.
Ferghal Crowley
Associate Assistant Director
StoneCrabs Theatre Company
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One thought on “Creating Space for Young Directors

  1. Pingback: Creating Space for Young Directors | The Albany, Deptford

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