The Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme will become an Associate Company of the Royal Exchange Theatre where it will have its northern base.

The scheme supports a nationwide structure of paid opportunities for career development for emerging directors from under represented backgrounds.  The Manchester base will be RTYDS’ second base.

Speaking of the decision to locate the base in Manchester, at the Royal Exchange, RTYDS Artistic Director Sue Emmas commented, “Manchester is the creative powerhouse of the north with the biggest concentration of producing theatres outside the capital therefore it is the perfect base for our work across the English regions. We are delighted to be able to make our home at Royal Exchange Theatre which, under the leadership of Sarah Frankcom, makes such a significant contribution to the development of artists and particularly of directors.”

The partnership between the Royal Exchange Theatre and Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme is expected to bring a number of new opportunities for young directors outside of London.  The scheme gives them access to professional mentoring and advice.  RTYDS aims to overcome barriers to entering the profession for emerging directors by uniting them with theatre companies.  It also provides training and development opportunities.

Clearly excited about the opportunities the collaboration will bring for the future in the theatre world, Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom added “RTYDS is rewriting the future of UK theatre. It has consistently helped to develop some of the most inspirational directors in the country by immersing them in producing theatres. Discovering and supporting the next generation of theatre makers sits at the heart of the Royal Exchange. Working with RTYDS will provide even more opportunities for emerging directors to work in our studio and on our main stage. Creating a home for RTYDS in the city adds to an evolving and vibrant scene of creative opportunity here in the theatre and across Greater Manchester. We are thrilled that they are joining us as a new associate company and making Manchester their home in the North.”

What is the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme?

RTYDS originated in the 1960s, aimed at supporting the development of artistic leaders, and has a star studded alumni including John Tiffany, Ken Loach, Rupert Gould, Vicky Featherstone and Matthew Xia. However, in response to consultation across the sector in 2014, RTYDS introduced new programmes dedicated to increasing diversity in the profession, uniting emerging directors with regional theatre companies of all scales, providing opportunities for training and development which are designed to overcome barriers to entering the profession which arise from social, gender, financial, ethnic, cultural, geographic or educational disadvantage or disability.

Since 2014 RTYDS has worked with 43 regional theatre companies and 277 directors. 93% of participants on programmes for new and emerging directors were from under- represented groups, 40% were BAME; 23% identified as disabled and are 61% face barriers due to socio-economic factors.

Royal Exchange Theatre image courtesy University of Salford Press Office/flickr under creative commons licence.