Why should a young person apply to the Young Directors Training Programme?

Applying to the Young Directors Training Programme with StoneCrabs Theatre Company has completely changed my life. As an aspiring Theatre Director, I felt this opportunity was not to be missed, and exactly a year on after I applied I know I could not have been more right.

The programme itself is nurturing, welcoming and, crucially, it facilitates you to get out of it as much as you put in. I imagine every year the programme must feel completely different because the participants make the programme what it is. In my experience, I have made some friends for life and a solid network of young creatives to start my career with.

StoneCrabs Young Directors Festival: 'Luna Park' directed by Hattie Coupe

StoneCrabs Young Directors Festival: ‘Luna Park’ directed by Hattie Coupe

What can be guaranteed is that you will be working with a group of people who have been individually selected for their work ethic, enthusiasm and skills. It is up to you to find out each other’s strengths and work as a company in order to produce the Young Directors Festival, which is such an exciting feature of the training programme. You are pushed to work efficiently within a strict time and financial budget. These kinds of challenges expose our unknown strengths and weaknesses – an invaluable process in order to grow as people as well as theatre makers.

The play, which I chose to direct for the Young Directors Festival 2014 called Luna Park, was selected with one other play, The Man Who (dir. Ellie Chadwick), to be taken for further development and presented as a double bill at Canada Water Culture Space. It was an amazing experience to see how our work could transfer from one venue to another and the opportunities and limitations of the touring process.

StoneCrabs Young Directors Festival: 'Luna Park' directed by Hattie Coupe

StoneCrabs Young Directors Festival: ‘Luna Park’ directed by Hattie Coupe

A month or so after the training programme had finished; I was awarded the Young Director Award from the Equity Foundation in the form of paid employment as an Assistant Director.

I feel I have had such a successful year with StoneCrabs Theatre Company and I could not have asked for a more supportive start to my chosen career path, unfortunately a rarity for young people today. It is an infuriating position to be in; knowing you want to work as a Theatre Director but not being able to see how you can do it, never mind trying to explain your plan to your friends or family. StoneCrabs Theatre Company have given me the space to train and experiment as an artist which have in turn exposed me to opportunities that I would not have even known about if I never applied. My advice is to apply, and be persistent in chasing your aspirations, as it could be the difference between achieving them or not.

Hattie Coupe

Hattie Coupe


Hattie Coupe

StoneCrabs Young Director 2014

This years StoneCrabs Young Directors Programme is now open. Click here for more information and to apply. 


A Day in the Life of a StoneCrabs Trustee

As a StoneCrabs Trustee it is always a pleasure to be able to call in and visit the company’s office at The Albany for a catch up on the team and the projects. As I was born and brought up in South London, it’s a very special feeling for me to walk through the busy streets of Deptford, jammed packed with stalls and all the beautiful hustle and bustle that goes with market day, in such a colourful and culturally diverse community. The experience is always a powerful reminder of my London roots and my great pride in being involved as a Trustee with StoneCrabs.

The Brasiliance Team and Performers at Brasiliance Day at Deptford Lounge

The Brasiliance Team and Performers at Brasiliance Day at Deptford Lounge

On arrival at the company’s small and compact office (very eye-catching with posters and promo material everywhere), Franko (the Co- Artistic Director) appears, and is quickly out of his seat to greet me with his distinctive smile and warm embrace, before introducing me to Hattie, a Young Director who is busy on a computer working on Kitchen, the company’s new production which forms part of StoneCrabs’ Brasiliance Heritage Lottery Project. Within minutes, with a cup of tea and biscuits in hand, I’m listening to Franko giving me an update on the complex work he is undertaking on Brasiliance. I gaze thoughtfully at a huge hand-drawn flow diagram of events and activities planned for Brasiliance Weekend at Rich Mix on 5th and 6th July – comprising Brazilian Arts, Music, Theatre and a scratch performance of a new play Kitchen by Gael Le Cornec. This flow diagram beats the London Underground map hands down for interest and complexity! It is such a huge amount of work for a small-scale theatre company with limited resources, and it’s not long before I’m offering StoneCrabs some of my time to help out in any way that I can with advance preparations!

StoneCrabs Young Directors 2014 in rehearsal with Co-Artistic Directer Kwong Loke-

StoneCrabs Young Directors 2014 in rehearsal with Co-Artistic Directer Kwong Loke-

For me, these informal visits to the company base are very different but no less significant or important experiences than board meetings. I enjoy contributing to the formal business undertaken at quarterly Board meetings where, as Trustees, we make decisions on a wide range of matters including Artistic Development, Finance, Company Management and Governance. I always look forward to attending StoneCrabs’ projects and theatre productions – to be part of celebrating cultural diversity and Brazilian heritage through StoneCrabs’ exciting work whilst enjoying the role of being an Ambassador and advocate of the company and its work is simply just great.

'Asphalt Kiss' at The New Diorama 2012

‘Asphalt Kiss’ at The New Diorama 2012

I am one of five trustees who are members of StoneCrabs’ Board. We are responsible for making sure StoneCrabs is doing what it was set up to do and to lead the charity and decide how it is run. Each one of us comes from a different background and supports the Charity with our own expertise. On the Board we have an Accountant, a Lawyer, an Actor, a Fundraiser and me, a Lecturer who previously worked in the Arts as a Programmer and General Manager. We are currently seeking other Trustees with expertise in the fields of Marketing and IT, so that we can fully support StoneCrabs to continue doing the excellent work they do.

'The Burial'  by Bola Agbaje at The Albany 2013

‘The Burial’ by Bola Agbaje at The Albany 2013

Most Trustees don’t get paid for their role, we perform our duties as Volunteers, acting out of the desire to help people and make positive changes in their lives. Volunteering as a Trustee for StoneCrabs is not only rewarding and enjoyable, but also fulfilling and inspiring. I thoroughly enjoy being a StoneCrabs Trustee and would encourage anyone with an interest in the Arts to become one also.

Cara Anderson

StoneCrabs Theatre Company Trustee

Are you interested in becoming a StoneCrabs Trustee? Please click here for more details and information about applying.

Want to know more information about being a Trustee? Click here.

For more information about StoneCrabs Theatre Company, click here.

Theatre Noir premières in London -‘Hamlyn’ by Juan Mayorga at The Space

It has already been five years since I took part in the StoneCrabs Young Director’s Training Programme and since graduating in 2009, I have developed my own craft as a Director and have seen other Directors that were on my course excel in their practice and grow as artists.

The cast of 'Hamlyn' in rehearsals

The cast of ‘Hamlyn’ in rehearsals

Mayorga’s language, with its constant threatening subtext, is a real highlight” – The Stage on ‘Nocturnal’ (2009) The course had a strong impact on me, as it gave me the opportunity to develop my directing skills, be aware of the practicalities when working on a play, and most importantly, it was the push I needed to get into the Directing world. But the best part of the course has been the strong support that the Artistic Directors, Franko and Kwong, have shown me all these years. This year, I managed to get a project, that is very close to my heart, programmed at The Space: ‘Hamlyn’ by Spanish playwright, Juan Mayorga*.  And From day 1, (when I was considering venues, making the Arts Council application, figuring out Casting and developing a Marketing Strategy), to now, Stonecrabs have always been there, guiding me and providing me with inspirational support.

The cast of 'Hamlyn' in rehearsals

The cast of ‘Hamlyn’ in rehearsals

compelling creepiness…nightmarish power” – The Guardian on ‘Nocturnal’ (2009) ‘Hamlyn’ has won several awards and national prizes in Spain, including Spain’s National Theatre Award. Mayorga’s work is quite new to the UK, until today only his play ‘Nocturnal’ has seen a full production in London and this will be ‘Hamlyn’s’ UK première. Mayorga’s work has been previously described as ‘Theatre Noir’, if such thing exists, his work is most definitely compelling and exciting. ’Hamlyn’ has been on my mind for some time now, and it is thrilling to finally bring it to the British stage. I am currently starting week 2 of rehearsals with an incredible team and a strong passion to share this powerful and engrossing story with an audience. Can’t wait to see you there!

Sandra Maturana


In the meantime check out Hamlyn’s trailer: http://www.hamlyn.org.uk/videos.html The Space currently has an EARLY BIRD ticket offer – 2 tickets for the price of 1 when you book between 22 and 26 April and quote RAT

*Juan Mayorga was born on April 6th 1965 in Madrid. He studied in Munster, Paris and Berlin gaining a Doctorate in philosophy. He taught mathematics in Madrid and now teaches Playwrighting at Madrid’s Real Escuela Superior de Arte Dramatic. Founding member of the El Astillero theatrical collective. In 2007 he was awarded the Premio Nacional de Teatro by the Spanish Government

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