Directing

Directing Program

Directing Program Coordinator:  Jennifer Holmes, Whittier College, jholmes@whittier.edu

Welcome to the Region VIII Student Directing Programs.  In the spirit of encouraging the next generation of stage directors, we have expanded the opportunities for those interested in pursuing directing at festival.  For the SDC Student Directing Fellowship, we are looking for experienced directors who will bring a scene from their home institution for presentation at festival.  We also offer observerships for student directors who are interested in learning about the new play development process.  Finally, we will be presenting a range of workshops with directing professionals to expand directorial education.

Please take a look around our website, and the national website to see which program may be a good fit for you.  If you have any questions after you have read the materials, please direct them to Jennifer Holmes, jholmes@whittier.edu.

SDC Student Directing Fellowship

One student director (either graduate or undergraduate) from each region will be selected to participate in the National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington DC each April. This award includes travel, lodging and per diem expenses, as well as attendance at KCACTF National Festival workshops and performances. Unique educational opportunities will be planned for the award recipients at the National Festival.

To Apply

  • Deadline for Application is January 15.
  • Familiarize yourself with the National Guidelines.
  • Follow the Regional SDC Student Directing Fellowship Guidelines at the link above.
  • Get a recommendation from a professor by asking them to fill out the Student Director Nomination Form, which is one of the tabs above, noted under the Directing title.
  • Fill out the Student Directing Questionnaire and send to Jennifer Holmes, jholmes@whittier.edu.
  • Once recommendations and questionnaires have been received, you will receive an email from the Student Directing Coordinator confirming your participation in the Student Directing Fellowship.

Student Directing Observership of New Plays

KCACTF, the Region VIII Student Directing program, and NPP are pleased to sponsor an opportunity for student directors (graduate or undergraduate) to observe professional NPP directors during the new play development process.  Although this opportunity is offered as a silent observership, mentoring and assisting opportunities between NPP and student directors may arise at the discretion of the NPP director, depending upon availability of the participants involved.  Selected directors will be invited to observe the process of directing a reading of a new play from the start of the process (prior to festival) through the completion of the staged reading at festival.

To Apply

  • Deadline for Application is January 15, although early application is suggested since pre-festival involvement is encouraged.
  • No faculty recommendation is necessary for the Observership.

  • Follow the Student Directing Observership Overview and Guidelines

  • Fill out the Student Directing Questionnaire and send to Jennifer Holmes, jholmes@whittier.edu.

  • Once questionnaires have been received, you will receive an email from the Student Directing Coordinator confirming your participation in the Student Directing Fellowship.

Candidates: Nominated by the individual institutions, students who have demonstrated success in direction. The institution must have entered either an associate or participating production in Festival 50 (Regional Festivals in January/February, 2018).

One student director from each region will be selected to participate at the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC each April. This award includes travel, lodging and per diem expenses, as well as attendance at KCACTF National Festival workshops and performances.

Eligibility: To be eligible for the SDC student directing fellowship students must be nominated by a faculty member from the student’s institution. Nominated students must have demonstrated excellence in direction. The institution must have entered either an associate or participating production for the regional festival during the year in which the nomination occurs. The participant must be a bona fide student at the time of the regional festival.

Event: Presentation of a short scene. Before the presentation the candidate will provide the respondents with a prepared written statement that reflects their analysis of the scene. The scene will include bona fide student actors, and will be rehearsed at the institution for presentation in a preliminary round at the regional festival. If more than one director participates from the same institution, the directors are discouraged from sharing actors for their projects and the directors are prohibited from acting in each others scenes.

Issues of logistics and technical needs will be left to the discretion of the Regional leadership.

Scene: All entrants will prepare one from the list of scenes.

Respondents: The number of respondents is determined by Regional leadership. The respondents are skilled directors who have a strong track record of responding to directing and are out-of-region colleagues or local professionals who are not affiliated with regional institutions. They will respond to the rounds of presentations, will participate in the interview round, and will decide which student director will attend the events in Washington DC. At least one member of the respondent team must be an SDC member.

Preliminary Round: a closed round. All of the candidates (directors only) are required to attend all of the first round presentations. Teachers/mentors who are the nominators-of-record for the student director are encouraged but not required to attend. Other than for the scene in which they are performing, actors are not allowed in the room. After the presentation the respondent(s) will react to the work in front of the closed gathering of directors and teachers/mentors.

Interview Round: Directors who are chosen for the final round will attend closed individual interviews with the respondents. At this time, the director’s book, written statements and approach will be discussed. No teachers/mentors or actors are allowed to participate in this phase of the event.

Final Round: Presentation of scene in a round open to the public. A final round of presentations will consist of up to six (6) selected scenes. The final round will occur at least two days following the preliminary round to allow the director and actors to work on the scene based on feedback from the preliminary round.  Limited rehearsal space will be provided. Teachers/mentors may advise the student directors during these rehearsals. A response session will follow the final round, and will include the scene directors, and may include teacher/mentors, actors and audience.

Analysis: Analysis will consist of a prepared director’s book for the scene. The director’s book will be handed to the Directing Coordinator for the region prior to the preliminary round and will be returned to the student director at the final round.

Director’s statement: The director’s written statement provides the personal, analytical and intuitive framework for the scene. It is a combination of script analysis, research, creativity and personal connection to the text. The statement should address the themes, images and specific lines of text that guide the director’s work, including the context of the scene; where/how the scene fits into the play.

Directors are encouraged to consider non-traditional casting for any of the scenes selected as can be supported by your concept.

Please Review the National Guidelines here.

NOTE: Failure to read and adhere to the current published guidelines for the SDC Student Directing Fellowship may result in disqualification of the student director.

Student Directing Questionnaire

Candidates: A faculty mentor from the student’s school is required to fill out the online form to start the nomination process. Once the nomination process has been started by the faculty member, the director will be emailed a questionnaire which they are required to submit and will determine their eligibility to participate. Nominations and questionnaires are due by January 15. Please send the questionnaire to Jennifer Holmes, jholmes@whittier.edu.

Event: Preliminary and Final presentation of a rehearsed, nationally selected scene. On the first day of the regional festival the nominee will turn in a prepared prompt book and director’s statement that reflects their analysis of the scene. Directors are required to observe all scenes and participate in responses as scheduled. The number of participating student directors will be limited to a maximum of 16 at the preliminary round, and a maximum of 6 at the Interview/Final rounds.

Evaluation: Directors will be evaluated through the preliminary scene presentation, interview process, written materials, and final presentation.

Scenes

All regional student directing candidates must present a scene at festival from the following list: 2018, Festival 50 Scenes.

What are the respondents looking for in the prepared scenes?

1. Storytelling. Does the scene have a dramatic arc? Can we clearly follow the action of the scene? Does the scene begin and end with purpose? Is there a unity of approach and execution of artistic choices?

2. Staging and use of space/ground plan. Is the space thoughtfully and imaginatively used to tell the story of the scene? Does the staging help clarify the story or does it impose something on the scene? Does the director understand the fundamentals of staging?

3. Theatricality. Does the director solve the challenges presented by the scene in an inventive and purposeful way?

4. Casting. Was the scene well cast?

5. Actor Coaching. Are character relationships clear and compelling? Are the actors/characters in the same dramatic world?

6. Communication, collaboration and understanding. Is there evidence of collaboration and communication within the company? Is there evidence of clear dramaturgy regarding the playwright, the play, and the nature of the scene?

Other Considerations for Evaluation

  • Does the Prompt Book reflect the director’s work and understanding of the scene?
  • Does the Director’s Statement reflect a clear, articulate explanation of the director’s vision?
  • How effectively did the director communicate a coherent and compelling vision of the play and scene in the interview, rehearsal, and performance aspects of the process?
  • Did the director demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of how to realize a unified vision of the play and scene?
  • Does the Director’s work demonstrate an understanding of the play and scene?
  • How well does the director communicate their ideas?
  • How successfully does the director incorporate the feedback received in order to further develop the scene?

Presentation of scenes
Directors are encouraged and expected to assist their actors in setting up and striking the set for their scene in the preliminary round. Directors may opt not to assist the actors for the final presentation.

Set up and strike for scenes should be rehearsed and happen quickly, with respect for preceding and following scenes. Each director will introduce themselves, their scene, and their actors. Introductions should be made without reference to school. It is suggested that you rehearse the introduction with your actors giving them a signal to begin the piece.

Directors are required to observe all scenes and attend all response sessions.
If possible, a short amount of time will be arranged for the directors prior to the preliminary scene so that they (and their actors) can walk the space. No rehearsing is allowed at this time, but vocal checks for volume may be performed.

If possible, rehearsal time will be arranged in the performance space at festival between the preliminary and final presentations to allow directors to incorporate feedback. If it is not possible to arrange formal rehearsal time for all of the participants, or if the director cannot attend the arranged rehearsal time because of conflicts, the director will be responsible for rehearsing their scene on their own. Rehearsal time may be observed and evaluated by respondents.

Interview

Interview questions may include discussions about the director’s scene at festival, previous directing experiences, future goals in the field, prompt book and other written materials.

Written Materials

(Note: The name of your school and contact information should only be included on the Contact Information page. Your name only should be included on all other materials.)

Students nominated to participate in the SDC Student Directing Event are required to bring the following materials to the regional festival:

Prompt Book and Director’s Statement (Due on the first day of festival)
Current Resume (Due at the interview)
Other Supporting Materials – Optional (Due at the interview)
Prompt Book (Required)

Those nominated to present scenes are required to present a detailed prompt book. Failure to provide the Prompt Book, including the prepared Director’s Statement, on the first day of festival (time and place to be announced) will result in disqualification. The Prompt Book is an important factor in deciding who will advance to the interview and final round of presentations. The Prompt Book will also be reviewed as part of the interview phase of the process.

The Prompt Book is the director’s way of presenting their vision and point-of-view on the scene and play they have selected. The Prompt Book should reflect the dramaturgical and academic approach to the subject of directing. It should contain essential elements that articulate the process of selecting, researching, preparing, visualizing, analyzing, designing, rehearsing, and fine-tuning the text.

The Prompt Book Should Include

  • Contact Information (This page will be seen by the coordinator only)
  • Nominee’s Name, School, Current Email Address, Cell Phone Number
  • Faculty Advisor’s Name, Email Address
  • Name of Play/Scene Being Presented
  • Actors Names
  • Director’s Statement (a written statement that reflects analysis of the scene – see below)
  • Visual Materials (ground plan, blocking diagrams, etc.)
  • Critical Materials (dramaturgical research, text, language, character analysis, etc.)
  • Working Script (for the text with notes, breakdown, analysis, edits, etc.)

Director’s Statement (Required)

The director’s statement is a prepared written statement that reflects the research, planning and approach to the direction of the scene.

Questions to consider when writing the Director’s Statement:

Your directing philosophy and goals as a director.
Why did you choose this particular scene/play?
What are you trying to achieve with your directing approach to this scene?
How would you present a fully produced version of your play?
What are your strengths and challenges as a director, and in regards to this particular project?
Current Resume (Required)

A current resume focused on directing and theatre-related activities

Additional Materials (Optional)

You may bring one additional Production Notebook or Portfolio to the interview. These Additional Materials should be representative of your work on previous productions as a director, and will be returned after the final presentation of scenes. Be selective and choose quality over quantity. Suggestions for Additional Materials:

  • Production Script, Journal, Notes, Blocking, Scene Breakdown
  • Production Photographs, Research Images
  • Directing Statements, Character Analysis
  • Research or Dramaturgical Materials
  • Design Process, Research, Notes (Set, Costume, Lights, Make-up, Props)
  • Videos, dvds, tape recordings or other audio-visual materials will not be accepted.

Technical Parameters

There will be no technical rehearsals for these scenes.
There is no technical support for these scenes.

Theatre Space

The following block furniture will be supplied at festival:

1 table – small square
4 chairs
4 cubes
1 Free-standing door
1 futon or bed option
Lights

There will be no light cues. Lighting for the stage will be preset as a wash and cannot be changed. There will not be any lights up or down.
Costumes, Props

The director is responsible for any costume pieces, set dressing and hand props needed for their presentation.

Sound

The director is allowed to use sound. However, there are no tech rehearsals. There will not be a sound board operator. If the director elects to use sound, the director must supply a sound source (boom box). If the director elects to use sound, the director may not operate the sound. No directors will be allowed to operate the sound. Actors or other students may operate the sound.

Any additional questions can be directed to Jennifer Holmes, jholmes@whittier.edu.

SDC Scenes 2017 – Read this first!

SDC List of Scenes for 2018 / Festival 50

1.     Milk Like Sugar by Kristen Greenidge, published by Samuel French, Inc., 2012. Begin on   p. 26 (A bank of lockers) To on p. 33 “Keera:  I have a more excellent way.” 3  women.

2.     Stupid Fucking Bird by Aaron Posner published by Dramatists Play Service.  Sc. 25-26 “Feelings” & “Not, Not”  p. 65-70 2 Women 4 Men.

3.     Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals by Young Jean Lee, in Three Plays: A One Act Collection, published by Samuel French, Inc. 2006. P. 24-29.  2 men, 2 women.

4.     140 (In Love’s Fire: Seven New Plays Inspired by Seven Shakespearean Sonnets published by William Morrow & Co., 1998)by Marsha Norman p. 33-43 (entire play) 5men 4 women.

5.     Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar.  Back Bay Books.  P.45 – Begin with “Emily:  I did a portrait of Amir a few months ago…” to p. 55 “Isaac – Bon appetite.”

6.     Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief by Paula Vogel Dramatist Play Service

Scene 21: starting with “Doesn’t—doesn’t it hurt?” TO End of scene 23:  “he…he said…he said he was on guard duty.”   3 women

7.     A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, Project Gutenberg free e-book: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2542/2542-h/2542-h.htm#act3

Begin: “Nora [hanging back in the doorway, and struggling with him]. No, no, no!–don’t take me in. I want to go upstairs again; I don’t want to leave so early.”

End: “Helmer. What’s that? You’re joking, my little Nora! You won’t–you won’t? Am I not your husband–?”

1 man. 2 women.

8.     Angels in America:  The Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner. TCG New York, 1992

Sc. 9, p. 82-87; 3 men, 1 woman.

9.     Ruined by Lynn Notttage, Dramatists Play Service

p. 5-13 “Ah, cold.” to “I won’t uncle.” 1 man 3 women.

10.     A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennesee Williams; Signet printing, October 1951

sc. 5, p. 76-81; Begins “Blanche: I must jot that down in my notebook…”; ends “Blanche: …I can leave here and not be anyone’s problem.” 2 women, 1 man.