“The vision of the Trustees of the RTST to enable this scheme to happen is building a bedrock for both mid-scale touring and future industry-leading directors.” Sam Hodges, Director & Aidan Grounds, Senior Producer, Nuffield Southampton Theatres

“…one of the key prizes for young* theatre directors in the UK” Daily Telegraph

The RTST operates an annual award scheme for up-and-coming theatre directors:  the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme (the “Scheme”).

The Scheme provides a rare opportunity for an up-and-coming director to direct a fully-funded production of a play as part of a main season of productions at a British regional theatre.

The RTST ran the inaugural Award in 2016 with Sheffield Theatres. The winner, Kate Hewitt, won the opportunity to direct the British regional premiere of Tribes by Nina Raine in the Crucible Studio Theatre. Tribes ran from 30 June to 22 July 2017 and received excellent reviews. Kate went on to direct Peter Morgan’s play Frost/Nixon in the Crucible’s main house in early 2018. For more information on the success of our 2016 Award scheme click here.

Chelsea Walker won the 2017 Award and the unique opportunity to direct a full-scale, fully-funded production of a classic play – A Streetcar Named Desire – co-produced by Nuffield Southampton Theatres, English Touring Theatre and Theatr Clwyd in 2018. The production premiered in the main house of NST’s new city-centre theatre, NST City, in March 2018 and then went on a tour of main houses of theatres across the UK. It opened to four star reviews from The Stage, The Times and The Guardian. For more information on the success of our 2017 Award scheme click here.

Nancy Medina is the winner of the 2018 Award and will get the opportunity to direct Two Trains Running by August Wilson on the Royal Stage at Royal & Derngate in a co-production between Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre. The play will be produced as part of Royal & Derngate’s “Made in Northampton” programme in 2019, and will subsequently go on tour to main house theatres. The RTST will make a grant of £50,000 to Royal & Derngate to be applied towards the costs of the production. For more information on the success of our 2018 Award scheme click here.

About The Award

The Award was established as the RTST Director Award scheme.  It was re-named the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award scheme in October 2017 to honour the memory of the late Sir Peter Hall who was a co-founder and lifelong supporter of the RTST and widely acknowledged as one of the most influential figures in British theatre for over half a century.  Sir Peter’s family graciously endorsed the name-change. Our chairman, Sir Geoffrey Cass, said:

Sir Peter stood for artistic vision and integrity and a passionate belief in the importance of theatre to our culture and civilisation. He was a fervent champion of rising talent. The re-naming as the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award of our prestigious award to promote brilliant directors and regional theatre seemed to us to be the perfect way for the RTST to pay tribute to the man.”  

The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme is designed for the benefit of directors who have already built up a track record of professional directing experience and who are ready for the opportunity provided by the Scheme to progress to directing a production in the main house, or a comparably high-profile auditorium, of a regional theatre.

The Scheme involves a collaboration between the RTST and a regional theatre selected by the RTST. 

The RTST makes a significant grant to the participating regional theatre to be applied towards the costs of the Award winner’s production.  It is a condition of the grant that the regional theatre facilitates the implementation of the Scheme and the realisation of that production. 

The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award winner emerges from a rigorous competitive process among candidates.  To enter for the Scheme, a candidate must be UK resident and be able to demonstrate a professional track record as a director: this might be as an assistant and/or associate director and/or as a sole or lead director of professional theatre productions, subject to satisfying certain other qualifying criteria. *Candidates must be over 18 but there is no upper age limit.

Each candidate is required to submit, in writing, ideas for directing a play of their choosing at the participating regional theatre.  Certain criteria for the play are specified each year.  Shortlisted candidates are required to participate in directing workshops with actors in order to demonstrate their directorial skills.  Finalists are interviewed. 

The Award winner is selected by a panel of distinguished theatre practitioners appointed by the RTST.  There is an official runner-up. Panellists for the 2016 Award were Daniel Evans (Chair), Robert Hastie, Sir Ian McKellen CBE, Dawn Walton, Richard Wilson and Dame Penelope Wilton. Panellists for the 2017 Award were Sam Hodges (Chair),  Howard Brenton, Tamara Harvey, Patricia Hodge, Danny Lee Wynter, Stephanie Street and Richard Twyman. Panellists for the 2018 Award were James Dacre (Chair), Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE, Sir Trevor Nunn CBE, Tanya Moodie, Samantha Bond, Paule Constable and Richard Twyman.

The Scheme promotes the RTST’s charitable objects in two main ways:

  • it supports emerging talent in the theatre; and
  • it supports British regional theatres.

The Scheme is intended to appeal to a diverse range of candidates, and to play a part in promoting diversity in the theatre, onstage and offstage, and among audiences.

The RTST’s intention is to run the Scheme annually, and to work with different regional theatres.  The detailed terms of the Scheme in any given year will be published on the RTST’s website.  The terms may vary from year to year.