Directors Gathering serves directors to serve the theatre.

Directors Gathering (DG) is a Philadelphia-based service organization that through the power of community provides education, connections, and process-based opportunities for theatre directors.

 

(Video by Andrew Harrison & photos by Hannah Van Sciver)

What We Do:

Directors Gathering (DG) serves directors to serve the theatre. We offer emerging and mid-career directors in Philadelphia the valuable resources of time, training, and community to help them hone their art. Freed from the constraints of performance deadlines, Directors Gathering participants are encouraged to experiment and grow in a process-driven environment. We invite these artists to consider Directors Gathering—and Philadelphia by extension—an enriching and collaborative creative home.

As part of Directors Gathering (DG), emerging and established directors can:

  • Stretch their artistic muscles without the pressures of production;

  • Connect with a welcoming and supportive community of peer directors;

  • Train in (DG)’s season-long Fellowship program, which fosters emerging directors through a mix of mentorship, observership, and workshop;

  • Create in an annual daylong workshop, (DG) JAM, culminating in a public sharing of their works-in-progress; and

  • Engage in graduate-level master classes with theatrical legends like Bartlett Sher, Liz Diamond, and Robert Woodruff.

Directors Gathering is the only organization in the country that provides an all-inclusive home for regional directors to examine their process, take risks, and render projects that they would not otherwise do in their individual careers or companies. We encourage these directors to be perpetual students, challenging them to reexamine how and why they work on projects, and give them the reinvigorating chance to return to their craft with new eyes.

This season marks the pilot launch of (DG) Fellows, which will become our flagship program. This inaugural year serves as a by-invitation pilot, which will ultimately chose participants through an open application process. (DG)’s season-long fellowship responds to a clearly demonstrated need for early-career mentorship and will serve the next generation of Philadelphia directors.

Need to be Met:

Over the past fifty years, the American theater has embraced the necessity of offering playwrights valuable professional resources to incubate new works. On a national level, organizations like the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and New Dramatists offer playwrights process-based workshop time and resources; while in Philadelphia, PlayPenn and The Foundry develop the work of local established and emerging playwrights. In this national—and vital—trend towards new play development, one key artistic collaborator has been overlooked: directors. Directors Gathering seeks to remedy this imbalance by fostering its local directors year-round at multiple stages of professional development. We offer a variety of continuous programming, encouraging Philadelphia directors to engage deeply with our regionally-rooted organization to consistently hone their craft.

Partnerships and Supporters:

Directors Gathering has forged strong collaborative partnerships with local theaters, universities, and peer theatrical service organizations. We’ve hosted director-centric collaboration events with FringeArts, The Wilma Theater, InterAct Theatre Company, and People’s Light & Theatre Company. We’ve offered local directors opportunities with The Foundry and the local chapter of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), where our directors can meet emerging Philadelphia artists and brainstorm about future collaborations. We partner with Temple University, Swarthmore College, and University of the Arts to host master classes and introduce students to directors at the forefront of their field. This season, we’ve begun partnering with Philadelphia Theater Company, who has generously offered us space to hold our pilot Fellows gatherings.

Our organization is currently overseen by an advisory Board of Directors, and is supported through the generosity of foundations, individual donors, and grassroots crowd-funding. We are grateful to The Wyncote Foundation and SDC for their confidence in our mission.

Organization’s History:

Directors Gathering (DG) was incorporated in March 2014, and has since served Philadelphia directors for over three consecutive years. In that time, we have provided more than 75 local directors with resources to expand their skill set, receive honest feedback and mentorship from established artists, and connect with one another. We’ve also committed to inclusivity, hosting an annual public workshop that gives local directors of color a platform to share their art and expand their networks.

The idea for Directors Gathering goes back to 2008, when our founder, Jill Harrison, participated in Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab alongside 60 other emerging directors from around the world. Inspired by the community she gained from the Lab, Jill came to Philadelphia to deepen her training at graduate school, and left it eager to found an organization for directors that was regionally rooted, community focused, and could offer continuous programming year-round. In 2011, Jill gathered some colleagues for a casual conversation about local opportunities for directors. Together, they realized that Philadelphia lacked an organization that would listen and respond to the needs of directors, and that would recognize their value them as the drivers of theatrical art.  Thus, the launch of Directors Gathering (DG).