Festival Observership for Early-Career Directors
To encourage and expand diversity in all aspects of musical theatre development, the application for the program will be open specifically to directors of color, directors with disabilities, women directors, and LGBTQ+ directors. By providing an opportunity to observe the new musical development process, and meet and network with leaders of the industry, we hope that this program will actively expand representation in the musical theatre industry and support the next generation of leaders. Students, recent graduates and early-career professionals working in the field are welcome to apply.
- To provide an opportunity for early-career directors to observe the musical theatre development process.
- To expand equity in the musical theatre industry by offering the program specifically to directors of color, directors with disabilities, women directors, and LGBTQIA+ directors.
- To support the next generation of leaders in musical theatre.
- Observers will immerse in the techniques that experienced directors employ while working with writers to bring a new musical to life.
- Observers will have the chance to attend a variety of panels at the NAMT Fall Conference and meet the NAMT membership, providing a chance to network with leaders in the industry.
- Observers will participate in an intimate three-week workshop series centering NAMT Festival of New Musicals Alumni Directors and other NAMT Members in conversation facilitated by NAMT Staff.
- Observers are expected to be present for all rehearsals and presentations for their Festival shows in October in NYC.
Each observer will be assigned to one of the participating staged readings of the Festival of New Musicals in an observational capacity and to support the director and writers of that creative team. They will be added to all directing-related conversations including casting and the other needs for a staged reading presentation. Observers are expected to be present for all rehearsals and presentations for their Festival shows in October in New York City. In addition to joining the Festival process, the selected observers will be invited to attend both the Festival and NAMT’s Fall Conference (typically open only to NAMT members). As part of the Fall Conference, a “Meet the Writers” panel will take place on the day before the Festival. Observers will facilitate short onstage interviews with the Writing Teams for their Festival show.
Observers will participate in an intimate three-meeting workshop series centering NAMT Festival of New Musicals Alumni Directors and other NAMT Members in conversation facilitated by NAMT Staff. Observers and Mentors will be able to connect with one another outside the Workshop as well, encouraging collaboration beyond NAMT.
Who is eligible to apply for this program?
The program is open to early-career directors who also identify as a director of color; a director with disabilities; a women director; and/or an LGBTQ+ director. By providing an opportunity to observe the musical theatre development process, and meet and network with leaders of the industry, we hope that this program will actively expand representation in the musical theatre industry and support the next generation of leaders. Non-US citizens are welcome to apply.
What is expected of the observers once they have been selected?
Observers are expected to do just that—observe! Once an observer has been selected, they will be added to all directing-related Festival emails for the show they are observing and invited to join all conference calls. As the majority of pre-Festival work is done via email and phone, there is a great deal to glean from observing these communications.
Observers are expected to be present for all rehearsals for their Festival shows. Rehearsal schedules will be solidified once writer and director schedules are confirmed. Observers should plan to hold the dates listed above in their calendars; if this period changes, NAMT staff will inform Observers ASAP. During rehearsals, some directors may ask their observers to serve as an assistant, but for the most part, observers should expect to simply observe the rehearsal process.
During the week of the Festival, there will be a number of events that observers will be expected to attend. Observers will have the chance to attend a variety of panels at the NAMT Fall Conference around their rehearsal schedules; during the conference, observers will be introduced to the NAMT membership, providing a chance to meet the membership prior to the Festival.
Please note that there may be changes to the program and the Festival due to COVID-19 precautions.
How will the final observers be selected?
Once the application for the Observership has closed, the NAMT staff will review applications and schedule short interviews with semi-finalists. Interviews will be held over the course of three days in early-August and will be conducted by NAMT’s Program Assistant Skye Cone Ivey. NAMT will engage an Alumni Festival Director and an Alumni Directing Observer to act as hiring mentors through the interview process by participating in short interviews over Zoom and advising candidate selection.
Who has directed shows for the NAMT Festival in the past?
A number of Broadway directors have helmed presentations at the NAMT Festival (for example, Schele Williams, Stephen Brackett, Stafford Arima, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Sarna Lapine, Rebecca Taichman), as well as directors of major regional theatre programs (Victoria Bussert, Jerry Dixon, Kent Gash, Kent Nicholson, Peter Rothstein) and directors with extensive off-Broadway and regional careers (Mei Ann Teo, Alan Muraoka, May Adrales, Sherri Barber, Sam Buntrock, Marlo Hunter). The full Festival history, including past directors, can be found here.
Do I have to be a member of NAMT to apply for this program?
No! This program is open to all early-career directors who identify as BIPOC, a director with disabilities, a woman, and/or LGBTQ+.
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