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RTYDS announce appointment of directors for regional residencies

RTYDS have announced three talented freelance directors and theatre-makers for their 18- month Residencies at prestigious theatres across the country. Director and facilitator Omar Khan who has a focus on collaborative, experimental processes will be placed at Derby Theatre. Omar has previously worked with Birmingham REP’s Foundry scheme and Tamasha’s Directors Programme. Freelance director and Artistic Director of Althea Theatre Lilac Yoisphon will be at the Leicester Curve; Lilac specialises in inclusive directorial practices and interdisciplinary collaborations. Lilac has been involved in the Young Vic Creator’s Programme and has worked extensively with Graeae as well as the National Youth Theatre. Finally, Rebekah Bowsher will work across Live Theatre and Northern Stage in Newcastle; Rebekah who is an active voice in telling stories around disability and mental health has previously been included in BBC’s Writers Access Group (2018/2019) and Graeae Theatre Company’s Write To Play.

They will join Sam Holley-Horseman who started her 18-Month Residency at Contact in Manchester in April 2021, provided as part of RTYDS’ partnership with Ramps on the Moon. RTYDS are an Associate Company of Ramps on the Moon and they have worked in partnership across all the RTYDS 18-month Residencies. The company works to enrich the stories we tell and the way we tell them by normalising the presence of deaf and disabled people both on and off stage.

Two freelance theatre directors are also joining the RTYDS Board: Young Vic Genesis Future Directors Award winner Caitriona Shoobridge and Atri Banerjee, winner of The Stage Debut Award 2019. These two appointments reflect the trustees desire to ensure the voices freelance artists are represented on the RTYDS Board to provide a vital perspective on the sector and RTYDS’s work.

Sue Emmas, RTYDS Artistic Director comments, Providing these opportunities for directors and theatre-makers to be in residence over a sustained period of time feels particularly important with the lasting impact of Covid. There are now five directors in residence at regional theatres around the country and in the last 12 months there have also been nine RTYDS Assistant Director placements, all providing an insight into making work at what continues to be a complex time for the industry. In the last year we’ve provided opportunities nationally from Bristol in the South West through to Ipswich in the East, and Newcastle in the North East. The expansion of the Board of trustees and the expertise and perspective of Cat and Atri bring will ensure the opportunities RTYDS provides continues to challenge, invigorate and enrich the theatre industry.

These RTYDS 18-Month Residencies are paid opportunities for freelance directors and theatre makers to work as a resident assistant director in regional building-based company. The scheme provides opportunities for people to sustain their careers in theatre and support artists into leadership and positions where they can inspire positive change. Through the residencies, the directors develop their creative skills, learn how a theatre runs and have the opportunity to make work – directing a production at the end of the RTYDS 18-Month Residencies.

The Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) is a national professional artist development programme for theatre directors in the UK that offer bespoke training opportunities to artists from the earliest stages of a career right up to leadership development. RTYDS works in partnership with theatres and companies around the country, enabling talented artists to build their craft and develop their leadership skills. In 2020/21 they worked in partnership with 12 theatres and companies and over 1,500 directors.

RTYDS is particularly focused on directors who live outside London and are from communities presently under represented in theatre. The scheme claims an impressive list of directors such as Natalie Ibu (Artistic Director at Northern Stage), Nickie Miles-Wildin (Co-Artistic Director/CEO of DaDa Festival and Associate Director of Graeae) Matthew Xia (Artistic Director at ATC) and Vicky Featherstone (Artistic Director at the Royal Court). Sue Emmas is Artistic Director of RTYDS and Associate Artistic Director at the Young Vic where she leads the Creators Program running initiatives for early career directors. She is also on the Board Not Too Tame and of Live Theatre Newcastle.

Find out more at

  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • European Regional Development Fund


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