JMK Traverse – Assistant Director Opportunity

Traverse Theatre Company Festival 2019 Production

The JMK Trust in partnership with Traverse Theatre is offering an Assistant Director Bursary to a participant of the JMK & Traverse Theatre Directors’ Opportunities group. The bursary is an arts scholarship, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, that will provide a learning and training opportunity for a talented emerging director, who has demonstrated a commitment to directing and a passion for theatre making. The recipient will become a Leverhulme Arts Scholar.

The Role

We are looking for an assistant director to work with Traverse Interim Artistic Director, Gareth Nicholls on an upcoming Traverse Theatre Company Festival 2019 production.  The production shall be staged in Traverse 1.  Details of the production are currently under embargo.  Shortlisted candidates shall be made aware of the production and playwright when invited to interview.

  • The assistant director will undertake a six week full time placement including rehearsals and tech week.
  • Prior to rehearsals, the assistant director may be invited to auditions, production meetings and given research tasks by the Director.
  • The assistant director will be required to be available throughout the run to watch and note performances, at dates agreed in advance with the director.
  • The assistant director should have a good understanding of the Traverse’s artistic mission along with our current work and programming.
  • The assistant director will need to demonstrate a commitment to living and making theatre in or near the Edinburgh / Lothian area.
  • The assistant director will be an existing member of the JMK/Traverse Directors Opportunities group, and if not already a member, must be willing to join the group and play an active role in programme’s development.

Rehearsals from:                                        w/c 17th June 2019

First preview:                                             1st August 2019

Press:                                                       4th August 2019

Closes:                                                     25th August 2019

  • The dates given above indicate an example production schedule. Exact dates of engagement will be confirmed at interview. Please note that there may be some UK based travel required for this role.

As Assistant Director, your duties would include:

  • Providing general assistance to the Director
  • As agreed with the Director, to carry out any research that will inform and benefit the production
  • To observe rehearsals and have input in discussions and production meetings
  • To assist the company in documenting the rehearsal process for the purposes of marketing, archiving and evaluating the project through blogs, social media and other forms as agreed
  • To observe and assist the Director in the production week as required
  • To attend and participate in post-show discussions and/or other engagement activity by mutual agreement with the Traverse Theatre
  • To support the company whilst the play is in performance as agreed with the Director and Stage Manager, including attending and noting the production
  • Any further duties as required by the Director and the Traverse Theatre Artistic Team

The bursary recipient will be a member of the JMK Traverse Theatre Directors’ Opportunities and as part of the bursary will also be responsible for working with the JMK and Traverse Theatre to support the group until next year’s bursary recipient is chosen.


The Leverhulme Bursary consists of £2,350.


About the Traverse Theatre

Formed in 1963 by a group of passionate theatre enthusiasts, the Traverse Theatre was originally founded to extend the spirit of the Edinburgh festivals throughout the year. Today, the Traverse is proud to deliver its year-round mission of championing creative talent by placing powerful and contemporary theatre at the heart of cultural life – producing and programming urgent and diverse work spanning theatre, dance, performance, music and spoken word.

Through the work it presents, the Traverse aims to both entertain and stir conversation – reflecting the times and provoking crucial debate amongst audiences, inspiring them to ask questions, seek answers and challenge the status quo.

The Traverse has launched the careers of some of the UK's most celebrated writers – David Greig, David Harrower and Zinnie Harris – and continues to discover and support new voices, including Stef Smith, Morna Pearson, Gary McNair and Rob Drummond.

With two custom-built and versatile theatre spaces, the Traverse's home in Edinburgh's city centre holds an iconic status as the theatrical heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every August

Outside the theatre walls, the Traverse runs an extensive engagement programme, offering audiences of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to explore, create and develop. Further afield, the Traverse frequently tours internationally and engages in exchanges and partnerships – most recently in India, New Zealand and Quebec.

About The JMK Trust

The JMK Trust was founded in 1997 in memory of a theatre director of thrilling promise, James Menzies-Kitchin, who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 28.  It runs the annual JMK Young Director Award and works with theatres around the UK in its Regional Programme to discover and support emerging theatre directors.  The JMK's Assistant Director Bursary, funded by the Leverhulme Trust Arts Scholarships Fund, is another part of our work which enables directors to learn new skills through practical experience.

About Gareth Nicholls

Gareth is currently Interim Artistic Director at the Traverse Theatre. His recent shows include the critically acclaimed Ulster American, How to Disappear and Letters To Morrissey (Traverse Theatre) the Scottish premiere of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage (Tron Theatre) and the sell-out production of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting (Citizens Theatre).

Other directing credits include: Blackbird by David Harrower, Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny, Vanya by Sam Holcroft (Citizens Theatre); Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas (Tron Theatre); A Gambler’s Guide to Dying by Gary McNair (Show & Tell); Prom by Oliver Emanuel (Òran Mór); Educating Ronnie by Joe Douglas (Utter); The Tin Forest South West (National Theatre of Scotland); Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Coriolanus, The Burial at Thebes (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland).

Gareth has won four Fringe First Awards and was previously Citizens Theatre’s Main Stage Director in Residence (2014–16).


Interview Details

Interviews shall be held week commencing 4th of March 2019.  Those invited to interview, will be interviewed by Traverse Interim Artistic Director Gareth Nicholls and a member of the JMK team.

Ahead of the interview candidates will be given details on the play and expected to come prepared to discuss their thoughts, along with answering questions on their skills and experience as relevant to the role.

How to Apply

Please send a completed Application Pack to by 12 noon Monday 18th February

Please detail:

  • Why you are interested in working with Gareth Nicholls on this Traverse Theatre Company Festival 2019 production
  • How this bursary opportunity will contribute to your professional development
  • Your relevant experience and what you can bring to the role

Your application will be shared electronically with the JMK Trust.  The Traverse Team and JMK Trust shall select applications for interview.

If you have any questions relating to the Traverse Theatre please contact

If you have any questions relating to the JMK Trust please contact