The RTST operates an annual award scheme for up-and-coming theatre directors:  the RTST 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 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 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.

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.

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.

The RTST ran the inaugural  RTST Director Award Scheme in 2016 with Sheffield Theatres. The winner, Kate Hewitt, and the official runner-up, Rebecca Frecknall, were selected by a Selection Panel comprising Daniel Evans (Chair), Robert Hastie, Sir Ian McKellen, Dawn Walton, Richard Wilson and Dame Penelope Wilton.  Kate was presented with a trophy at an award ceremony attended by many prominent theatre practitioners in the Grand Saloon of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 6 November 2016. The Scheme has attracted press publicity for Kate and for Sheffield Theatres.  Furthermore, Kate has won the opportunity to direct the British regional premiere of Tribes by Nina Raine in the Crucible Studio Theatre.  The RTST is to make a grant to Sheffield Theatres of £25,000 towards the production costs.  Tribes ran from 30 June to 22 July 2017 (press night was 3 July 2017).

The RTST is delighted to be running the 2017 RTST Director Award Scheme with Nuffield Southampton Theatre.

For full details of the 2017 Scheme, please visit our RTST Director Award 2017 page.

Header Photo: Oliver Johnstone and Emily Howlett. Photographer: Mark Douet.