Our Young Director Matthew Illife has written a brilliant piece for A Younger Theatre and we, the Gobstoppers Collective continue with our training and up to more planning and preparation for the Festival.
The Young Directors festival will be the professional directing début for most of the emerging directors in our collective. The chance to learn from leading professionals and theatre practitioners is invaluable and having the opportunity to direct our own plays is vital to career progression. Career progression in the creative industry without financial support is difficult. Without professional guidance and financial support, talent will never be nurtured – and perhaps never discovered.
There is a growing awareness of these difficulties and the lack of fair representation in the industry in terms of wealth, class, race and gender. As the Stage Directors UK campaign states: “Diversity and access are rightly being scrutinized at every level and if we don’t do something about directors fees urgently we’ll see less and less diversity.” The Gobstoppers Collective is determined to address the need for diversity in the arts and particularly, in the development of emerging theatre directors. We strive for inclusiveness and this is demonstrated by the wonderful diversity of different experiences and backgrounds of the StoneCrabs Young Directors.
However, the stark reality is this: many theatres that work to provide these opportunities are facing funding cuts. A lack of funding means a lack of opportunity. The lack of opportunities for new creatives means diminishing their voices and leaving them undiscovered. Stage Directors UK rightly state that: ‘Only those with parental backing can afford to spend several years learning their craft unpaid, which is unfair and impoverishes the cultural pool’.
The reality is that directing will very quickly become something that only those who can afford to – will, and those who can’t – won’t. The Artistic Director at the Almeida Theatre, Rupert Goold, stated in a recent interview with The Stage: “If we want directing not to be a middle class plaything – God forbid – then we do have to find a way of getting more understanding of the importance of directors and of nurturing emerging directors.”
We agree, and the StoneCrabs Young Directors Programme is setting the example. It addresses the need for providing emerging directors with support and guidance. It addresses the reality that these opportunities are not always viable for young people due to their expensive nature. Rupert Goold acknowledges that when he graduated: “I would not have been able to afford it.”
As a group of emerging directors, we rely on the guidance and training that is available to us. The StoneCrabs Young Directors Programme is an invaluable alternative to expensive degree courses or schemes that are, at the moment, beyond our reach. Not only does this programme offer a free opportunity, it also provides a nurturing environment – a welcoming and encouraging platform to educate us as both individuals and professionals. Our festival will help us take that crucial next step in our careers and with financial support, it can happen. And we believe it can.
So that’s why we need your help.
We launched our Accelerator with Ideas Tap. With your help we are hoping to reach £3000. We return for your support we are offering a variety of brilliant gifts and will be delivering bespoke workshops to pass on our education and skills to other creatives in the industry. You can check them out here. Your support means everything to us. If you believe in equal opportunities and nurturing the development of new talent and emerging artists then please join us on our journey.
We will also be recording our progress on this StoneCrabs Theatre blog and with A Younger Theatre which will enable others to learn with us. The success of this festival will not only benefit the Young Directors, but also all those involved from our guest theatre practitioners to our actors, and of course – our audience members. Your support will demonstrate that change is possible, that creatives in the industry can fulfil their aspirations –and that we can do it together.
StoneCrabs Young Directors 2014 are Artur Assis; Camilla Borges; Sian Davila; Chloe France; Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu; Caitlin Heaton; Matthew Iliffe; Kwaku Kyei-Manu; Sigvi Johansen; Laura Remmler; Hannah Sharkey and Jennifer Iswara.