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)
Directors Gathering started with founder, Jill Harrison, gathering a group of local colleagues and together realizing that there was a need in the community for an organization that would listen and respond to the needs of theatre directors in Philadelphia, acknowledging them as the drivers of theatrical art.
(DG)’s model of engagement is to listen to the needs of its constituencies, primarily local theatre directors, and to propose actions in response. Through our programming, services, and partnerships, Directors Gathering is a home for all theatre directors, from any/all aesthetic and/or concentration and from any/all levels of profession, to hone their process; take risks; explore; and render projects that they would not otherwise do in their careers or companies.
Directors Gathering champions theatre directing as the key to new and sustainable theatre making. Advancing the idea of theatre directing as an art, which requires continual learning and development of craft, (DG) creates consistent physical and digital programming which gives those who practice this historically lonely occupation, opportunities to meaningfully engage one another, hone their craft in communion, and contribute to the medium of theatre at large.
In November 2011, Jill Harrison invited a group of fellow theatre directors in Philadelphia to begin gathering once a month, establishing Directors Gathering (DG).
These monthly events included:
- Panels with premiere artists on such topics as the theatre director/designer collaboration, the theatre director/writer/dramaturge collaboration, the new work process, and the devised work/ensemble building process.
- Roundtable discussions on such topics as the theatre directors’ creative and casting processes host at several different theatre companies throughout Philadelphia, such as The Arden Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Tiny Dynamite Productions, Simpatico Theatre Project, Azuka Theatre Company, and The Foundry, an emerging writers group.
- Social Mingles and Attendance of several theatre productions throughout the Philadelphia theatre community.
In May 2013, Jill reached out to fellow theatre directors, Kathryn Moroney, Suzana Berger, and Amber Emory (DG ThinkTank Steering Committee) to conduct ThinkTank meetings throughout the summer of 2013. These meetings yielded more information about freelance theatre directors’ interests and needs for their craft and community.
In August 2013, Jill and the DG ThinkTank Steering Committee shared their results with another expanded group of interested theatre directors. Through this group’s further dialogue and assessment of the ThinkTank meeting results, a new initiative was determined, to create a service organization dedicated to advancing the craft of theatre directors through advocacy, community, and praxis.
From December – February 2014, a group of Directors Gathering Leadership & Associates was established to develop a new mission, vision, and strategic plan of operations & programming for the organization. An advisory circle was also created to support this development.
In March 2014, Directors Gathering revealed their new organizational presence and programming. The organization’s first program series, DG Salons, launched in April 2014.