The annual RTST Director Award Scheme is designed to provide an up-and-coming director with the rare opportunity to direct a fully-funded production as part of a main season of productions in the main house of a British regional theatre.

The RTST is delighted to be running the 2017 RTST Director Award Scheme (Scheme) with Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST), in partnership with Theatr Clwyd and English Touring Theatre (ETT).
Chelsea Walker was awarded the RTST Director Award 2017, and will get the unique opportunity to direct a full-scale, fully-funded production of a classic play, to be co-produced by Nuffield Southampton Theatres, English Touring Theatre and Theatr Clwyd in 2018.

Candidates were invited to pitch their vision for a bold, radical re-working of a classic British or European play in response to contemporary issues, particularly those relating to our national identity. The production, which will run from March to June, will premiere in the main house of NST’s new city-centre theatre, NST City, before going on a tour of the main houses of theatres across the UK, concluding with a run in the Anthony Hopkins Theatre at Theatr Clwyd.

The RTST Director Award 2017 is awarded to an up-and-coming director for demonstration of exceptional directorial skills in a rigorous competitive process.  Short-listed candidates were invited to workshops to demonstrate their directorial skills, before a final interview stage.

The winner was selected by a Selection Panel of distinguished theatre practitioners, namely:

  • Samuel Hodges, Director / CEO, NST (Chair)
  • Patricia Hodge
  • Danny Lee Wynter
  • Tamara Harvey, Artistic Director, Theatr Clwyd
  • Richard Twyman, Artistic Director, ETT
  • Howard Brenton
  • Stephanie Street

The RTST began accepting entries for the Award on Thursday, 2 March 2017 and the deadline for entry closed at 6pm on Monday, 20 March 2017.

On Monday 8th May, Chelsea Walker was announced as the winner, with Tinuke Craig as runner-up. You can read more about Chelsea and the Award here.

How the 2017 Award Works

A candidate must pitch a bold, radical re-working of a classic British or European text to respond to contemporary issues, particularly those relating to our national identity.   The re-imagination must be based on either: (i) the original text of a classic English-language play; or (ii) a literal translation in English of a classic foreign-language play.

A candidate may, if he or she chooses, specify an ideal choice of writer to write a new English-language adaptation of their chosen play.  If applicable, the candidate must give reasons for their choice and how they would like the adaptor to approach their adaptation.

Short-listed candidates will be invited to workshops taking place on 1 and 2 May 2017, at which they will be required to demonstrate their directorial skills by directing actors in a text-based scene of a play.  Candidates will be notified of the particular scene by the RTST in advance of the workshop.

Up to four finalists will be selected for interview, this being the final stage in the selection process.

The Shortlisted candidates who are invited to the workshops will be selected from a Long-list of entries by a Selection Panel of distinguished theatre practitioners appointed by the RTST. The Selection Panel will observe and judge the workshops and select the ultimate Award winner and runner-up. The winner and runner-up will be announced after the workshops, and there will be an Award ceremony later in the year.

Although there will be only one Award winner and one official Runner-up, the Scheme is designed to provide a positive professional experience for all the candidates (up to eight) who are selected on the basis of their written entries to participate in the workshop stage of the selection process.  They will all receive constructive feedback from the Selection Panel after the winner of the Award is announced.

It is intended that the Award winner will benefit from the spotlight of publicity generated by the promotional activities of the RTST, NST, ETT and Theatr Clwyd in relation to the Award and the Production.

The RTST has agreed to make a grant of £50,000 to NST to be applied towards its costs of staging the Production. It is a condition of the grant that NST participates in the Scheme and facilitates the Production.  The Award winner will not be required to seek funding for the Production.

The Award winner will be the sole director of the Production and be paid a market-rate fee for undertaking this role at NST. The Production’s cast and stage crew will be paid Equity/UK Theatre minimum rates or higher.

Rules and Information for Candidates for the RTST Director Award 2017

Eligibility

To be eligible to enter for the RTST Director Award 2017:

  • you must be permanently resident in the United Kingdom;
  • you must be aged 18 or over;
  • you must have a proven and demonstrable track record of directing professional theatre productions. Relevant experience would include being a sole, lead, assistant or associate director of professional theatre productions.   At a minimum, you must have been the sole or lead director of two professional theatre productions in a theatre or theatres with 250 or fewer seats

EXCEPT THAT you will NOT be eligible to enter if you have directed, and/or you are contracted to direct, as a sole or lead director, any professional theatre production in a theatre with more than 250 seats*;

  • you must (if short-listed) be available to participate in a one-hour workshop (and, if selected, an interview), in central London, anytime on 1 and 2 May 2017; and
  • you must comply with the other Rules of the Scheme as stipulated below.

Note: the term ‘professional theatre production’ for the purpose of these rules includes (amongst other types of production) fringe productions.  The term excludes any productions on which you worked as a student and/or in an educational context.

Note (06/03/17) in response to questions we have received from potential candidates on the *above provision.  The primary intention behind this provision is to render ineligible any candidate who has already directed or who is already contracted to direct a substantial run in a theatre with over 250 seats.  The RTST acknowledges that some productions in theatres with over 250 seats might not fairly be regarded as falling into that category:  e.g., readings; runs shorter than two weeks; touring visits (e.g., if a director originally directs a play in a 100 seat theatre and it happens to tour to a theatre with 400 seats); and charity performances. The RTST will exercise discretion accordingly on a case-by-case basis. You must nevertheless tell us about all your professional directing experience.

How to Enter

To enter for the Award, you must submit online:

  • a completed version of the Entry Form provided here, including all the information requested therein; together with
  • your curriculum vitae, which must include detailed information on your entire professional track record as a director, specifying in the case of each professional theatre production whether you were assistant, associate, sole or lead director; the name of the theatre and particular auditorium in question; and the seating capacity of the theatre/auditorium for that production.

Guidance for Candidates

When thinking about:

  1. your choice of British or European play – being either:
  • the original text of a classic English-language play; or
  • a literal translation in English of a classic foreign-language play, and
  1. your answers to the questions set out in the on-line Entry Form,

please consider the following points:

  • Is the title of your chosen play recognisable? What is it about your choice of play and your adaptation of it that will appeal to audiences around the UK?  How would you suggest that the marketing departments of the theatres involved promote your play to the general public to capture their imagination?
  • If the original language is not English, which is the well-established English translation that can serve as the subject of your entry?
  • How might your casting, direction and / or creative team reflect the fact that theatres from around the UK will be presenting this work?
  • Is your adaptation of the play bold and radical? Are you uncovering something in the work that audiences are unlikely to have seen before?
  • Is the play out of copyright? If not, do you know if you are able to secure the rights to produce this play?
  • Does your adaptation have a cast of no more than eight (8) actors?

For information on the floor plans of the main house of NST City and the Anthony Hopkins Theatre at Theatr Clwyd please follow the links below:

  • for NST City: here
  • for Theatre Clwyd: here

Entry Deadline and Other Dates

Entries for the 2017 scheme have to be received no later than 6pm on Monday, 20 March 2017.

The RTST reserves the right to extend the deadline for entries – either generally or, if it considers it to be equitable to do so in exceptional circumstances, in individual cases.

Dates given by the RTST in relation to the process for selecting the winner of the RTST Director Award 2017 are indicative only and subject to change at the RTST’s discretion.

Long-list

Written entries will be considered by the RTST with the assistance of NST with a view to producing a long-list of up to twenty (20) entries.

Short-list

The long-list of written entries will be submitted for consideration by the full Selection Panel.

The Selection Panel will agree upon a Short-list of up to eight (8) candidates.

Workshop

If you are Short-listed, you will be invited to attend a one-hour workshop on 1 or 2 May 2017.  The workshop will be in a central London venue.

It is a condition of your entering for the Award that you are available for attending such a workshop or, an interview, if required by the RTST, on both days.

In a workshop, you will be required to direct professional actors in a text-based scene from a play stipulated in advance by the RTST.

Your performance will be observed and judged by the Selection Panel.

Further information on the workshops will be notified in advance to candidates who are Short-listed to participate in them.

Constructive feedback will be provided by the Selection Panel to all candidates who have participated in workshops.  This will be provided after the announcement of the winner of the Award.

Finalists’ Interviews

Up to four (4) of those who attend the workshops will be selected for interview by members of the Selection Panel.

These interviews, which will be the concluding stage in the selection process, will occur towards the end of the second day of the workshops or as soon as practicable thereafter.

Selection Panel

The RTST reserves the right to substitute members of the Selection Panel or to add further members.

It is the intention that all members of the Selection Panel participate in all stages of the selection process as indicated above, but individual members might be unavailable at certain times.

Contract between the winner and NST

If you win the RTST Director Award 2017, you will be required to enter into a contract with NST in order to undertake the role of director of the Production.

Promotional Activities

By entering the Scheme, you agree to participate in such promotional activity with the media with respect to the RTST Director Award 2017, the RTST and NST (and its co-producers) (including submitting to interviews, photographic shoots and filming and, in the case of the winner of the Award, attending an Award ceremony) as the RTST shall stipulate.

Expenses

The RTST will, at its discretion, contribute towards the reasonable travel expenses incurred by any candidate in travelling to and from a workshop provided such candidate is travelling from home or place of work outside Greater London and provides receipts or other supporting evidence to the RTST.

Disqualification

The RTST reserves the absolute right at any time to disqualify from the Scheme any entrant:

  • who ceases to be UK resident or otherwise fails to comply with the rules of the Scheme;
  • who has failed to comply with all the information required by the entry form;
  • who is found to have supplied materially inaccurate information to the RTST in the entry form or otherwise; or
  • who, in the opinion of the Trustees of the RTST, has brought the Award or the RTST or NST into disrepute.

Interpretation

Nothing in these Rules places a legal obligation on the RTST to award the RTST Director Award 2017 or to make any payment to any candidate.

The RTST shall determine and resolve any ambiguity in the interpretation of these Rules at its discretion.

Data

As an entrant to the Scheme, you agree to the use by the RTST of any personal data supplied by you to the RTST and to the passing of any of such data to any or all of NST and any potential co-producers, the members of the RTST Director Award 2017 Selection Panel and the RTST’s advisers, in any and all cases for use in connection with the RTST Director Award Scheme 2017 and any theatre production resulting therefrom.

Notifications

Notifications by the RTST to entrants will be given by means of email.  The RTST can accept no responsibility for any failed transmission of emails.

Communications by entrants to the RTST must be made by email to the email address specified in the entry form.

Governing Law

The Scheme is governed by and shall be construed in accordance with the laws of England, and the courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to it.