(NEW YORK, NY) -- The Drama League has announced the dates and line-up for DirectorFest 2021, a multi-week festival celebrating the art of stage directing and honoring the service organization’s 2020-21 Directors Project class of New York and Classical Fellowship recipients. Five select Directors Project fellows, early to mid-career artists chosen each year from hundreds of applicants worldwide, will direct vibrant new theatrical productions to be staged, filmed, and produced this spring and made accessible to audiences online.
Four productions, directed by New York Fellows Cristina Angeles, Signe V. Harriday, Taylor Haven Holt, and Cait Robinson, will premiere this June and will each be available for ticket-holders to stream for one week only. In addition to the June line-up, a benefit reading of John Lyly’s Gallathea , directed by Classical Fellow Emma Rosa Went and presented in collaboration with Red Bull Theater, will premiere March 15 and will be available to stream for four days.
“This year’s Drama League Directing Fellows have responded to this extraordinary year with grace, innovation, adaptability, and deep curiosity,” said Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks . “Cait, Cristina, Emma, Signe, and Taylor have taken advantage of the possibilities of digital theater to beautiful effect. I can’t wait for audiences and the industry to see these talented artists working in this new way so beautifully.”
Signe V. Harriday will direct Sharon Bridgforth's the bull-jean stories; Cait Robinson will direct Laura Schellhardt's The K of D; Cristina Angeles will direct the world-premiere of Eliana Pipes 's Unfuckwithable; and Taylor Haven Holt will direct Enda Walsh 's A Girl's Bedroom. All June productions will be filmed at A.R.T./New York Theatres by Director of Photography Daniel Feighery ("Gilbert," President Obama's 2012 Campaign). The DirectorFest 2021 creative team also includes Production Manager Alberto Ruiz (NYCB, TFANA), Scenic Designer Cate McCrea (DirectorFest 2020, A Woman of the World ( The Acting Company )), Costume Designer Christopher Vergara ( In the Heights, The Color Purple (Broadway, Associate) ), Lighting Designer Molly Tiede ( Love, Love, Love (Roundabout, Associate), Hamilton Tony Awards after-party), Sound Designer DJ Potts ( DirectorFest 2020 ), Properties Designer Caspin Jones (DirectorFest 2020 Associate), Casting Directors Erica A. Hart (ABC, HBO) and Victor Vazquez (X Casting NYC), and Health Safety Supervisor Arabella Powell (Broadway PSM, Program Director of Open Stage Project). DirectorFest is produced by The Drama League artistic line producer, Ali Skye Bennet. Casting, stage management, on-sale dates, and streaming details will be announced at a later date. For complete details on DirectorFest 2021, including creative team bios and full show descriptions, visit directorfest.org.
In addition to DirectorFest, The Drama League will continue its tradition of honoring the outstanding accomplishments of the New York theatrical community with The Drama League Awards, which will be pre-recorded and streamed on May 21. The nomination process, which will focus on extraordinary digital theatrical productions during the shutdown of live performance and identifying individuals and organizations that made an impact in the last year, is currently underway with voting expected to take place in the coming months. More information about this year’s ceremony, including the longstanding special recognition award recipients, will be announced at a later date.
“Our admiration for the enormous talent and determination of the theater community during the global COVID-19 pandemic, makes us prouder than ever to celebrate their accomplishments with the oldest theatrical honors in America,” says Executive Director Bevin Ross.
Both DirectorFest and The Drama League Awards come at a time when the 105 year-old organization reimagines its other programs for the digital space, with its acclaimed podcast, TA(L)KING DIRECTION, adding new episodes this March with guests Liesl Tommy (Broadway’s Eclipsed ), and Wayne Brady ( Kinky Boots ), and its recently-announced series THE ESSENTIALS , serving artists and audiences all over the world with opportunities to develop core skills in a workshop environment. To stay up to date with what’s happening at The Drama League, visit dramaleague.org.
DirectorFest 2021 Line Up
Gallathea By John Lyly, Directed by Emma Rosa Went, A Benefit Reading Presented In Collaboration with Red Bull Theater March 15, 2021. First performed in 1588, John Lyly's Gallathea is a queer love story set inside the landscape of classical myth. In order to avoid becoming dinner for a sea monster, Gallathea and Phillida are sent into the forest dressed as boys. Meanwhile, three shipwrecked brothers set out to seek their fortunes, Cupid stirs up his usual trouble, nymphs fall for mortals, and Neptune – God of the Sea – waits to make his move. This playful pastoral of love, desire, and finding yourself is an affirmation of identity–joyfully reclaimed for 2021. You can RSVP for Gallathea now by visiting redbulltheater.org/gallathea . This benefit reading is Pay-What-You-Can, meaning it is free with a request to donate.
the bull-jean stories. By Sharon Bridgforth Directed by Signe V. Harriday. June 7 - 14, 2021. Using traditional storytelling and nontraditional verse to chronicle the course of love returning in the lifetimes of one woman-loving-woman named bull-dog-jean, the bull-jean stories. give cultural documentation and social commentary on African-American herstory and survival. Set in the rural South of the 1920s, the bull-jean stories. herald the spirit of African-American people.
The K of D By Laura Schellhardt, Directed by Cait Robinson, June 9 - 16, 2021. After a reckless car accident kills her twin brother, young Charlotte McGraw becomes a fascination to others when it appears she has received an eerie power from his dying kiss. Over the course of a hot summer, a continuing chain of odd events leaves the residents of a small Ohio town stopped in its tracks — as they learn to fear the literal kiss of death beneath their everyday facades.
Unfuckwithable By Eliana Pipes, Directed by Cristina Angeles, June 14 - 21, 2021. In a society where a chasm has opened up between rich and poor — one Black girl has fallen into the abyss. As a result, GIRL embarks on a cross-country roadtrip in a converted Van: by day she’s lifestyle blogging as a #VanLife influencer, and by night she’s shooting down Amazon delivery drones to loot the contents — desperate to claw her way into American prosperity. But when she shoots down something she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to reckon with the cost of her ambition. She may be able to run from society, but she can’t escape the systems that are ingrained within her.
A Girl’s Bedroom By Enda Walsh, Directed by Taylor Haven Holt, June 16 - 23, 2021. At the age of 6, a girl leaves her bedroom and family home and walks. She never stops. Until now. Enda Walsh's short play A Girl's Bedroom was first performed at the 2015 Galway International Arts Festival, and was revived at the 2016 Galway International Arts Festival alongside two other short plays by the same author – Kitchen and Room 303 – under the collective title Rooms . Learn more at directorfest.org.
The Drama League of New York, since 1916, has been at the forefront of the American Theatre community, providing talent, audiences, and prosperous support. The Drama League advances the American theater by providing a life-long artistic home for directors and a platform for dialogue with, and between, audiences. The Drama League opens doors for exceptional stage directors by providing time, resources, and space to work without restriction, while augmenting skills through personalized training, production opportunities, and professional development. The Drama League carefully selects directors whose vision and talent are unparalleled, with a clear commitment to the craft, the field, and audiences.
Through our work, The Drama League celebrates the important role theatergoers have to the future of the industry, and champions the impact theater plays in civic life. The Drama League breaks the formidable barriers that impede success in the arts. These directors, nurtured and empowered by The Drama League's support, are trained to create the most rigorous work possible, as a live exchange between artists and audiences. In doing so, we elevate the conversation, deeply impacting theaters and their communities. Bringing people together to celebrate difference, share experiences, and discover common ground are crucial needs served by the work of Drama League directors. This necessary cultural practice is the foundation of our shared humanity.