JMK South West: December Workshops & Mentoring Programme

We have some brilliant workshops coming up for our South West directors' group in December, led by two of the most exciting directors working in Britain today: Chelsea Walker and Kirsty Housley. Chelsea’s workshop will focus on the process of adapting classical texts for modern audiences and follows on the back her award-winning production of A Streetcar Named Desire (winner of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award) and Hedda Gabler, which recently opened to rave reviews at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff. Kirsty’s workshop will be focusing on the process of devising and developing a show from scratch, utilising her extensive experience as a solo director and co-creative with artists such as Complicite, Javaad Alipoor and Bryony Kimmings.

We will also be establishing a Mentoring Programme for directors based in Hampshire, Berkshire and Wiltshire who feel they would benefit from a regular mentoring relationship and more opportunity for support and reflection with fellow regionally-based directors.

Please find more information on the workshops and Mentoring Programme below.

To join the group, register interest in any of the opportunities or if you have any questions, please email, Nik Partridge, Director Practitioner for the group at:

Please let us know if you have any access requirements. There is a small bursary pot available to support participants who may need assistance with covering travel and/or any access requirements they may have. Please email Nik at the above address for more information.

Chelsea Walker
Friday 13th December
Wiltshire Creative, 3-6pm

Staging classic plays for contemporary audiences - how do you find your way in?

This workshop will be an opportunity explore a classic text and what makes it relevant for an audience now. We'll be looking at the different exercises you can use to find your way in, what challenges you might face in staging it for an audience now and how you can put your own unique stamp on it. 

Chelsea Walker is an award-winning theatre director, whose work includes bold reinterpretations of classic plays and premieres of new plays.

In 2017 she won the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, and toured her critically acclaimed production of A Streetcar Named Desire around the UK. She has twice been a finalist for the JMK Award, and was awarded the runner up prize in 2016. In 2017 she was a director on the Old Vic 12, and has been nominated for Off West End awards for her productions of Low Level Panic and Cougar. She has just directed a production of Hedda Gabler for the Sherman Theatre, which opened to rave reviews.

Kirsty Housley
Saturday 14th December
Nuffield Southampton Theatres, 4-7pm

Devising and developing new ideas from scratch to production.

This workshop will utilise Kirsty’s extensive experience of generating work from scratch, to explore how we develop work from idea to opening. It will focus on the process of devising with a strong dramaturgical eye, utilising practical exercises and reflections on how to implement them in the room, as well as the chance to ask question and discuss some of the challenges of making work without the safety net of a script.

Kirsty Housley is a director, writer and dramaturg. Current and recent work includes Mephisto (A Rhapsody) at The Gate Theatre, Tao of Glass at The Royal Exchange for Manchester International Festival (co-director with Phelim McDermott), Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran at The Traverse, Edinburgh (co-creator with Javaad Alipoor); Avalanche: A Love Story at The Barbican and Sydney Theatre (Dramaturg), and I’m a Phoenix, Bitch (co-director with Bryony Kimmings)

Other theatre includes The Encounter for Complicite (co-director with Simon McBurney), Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales at the Unicorn; Misty at The Bush and in the West End (dramaturg), The Believers are but Brothers at the Bush, and touring (as co-director); Myth at the RSC (co-written with Matt Hartley); A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer for Complicite at the National Theatre and Home Manchester (as dramaturg, and director on 2018 international tour); Wanted and 9  for Chris Goode and Company, Transform Festival and West Yorkshire Playhouse (co-director); Walking the Tightrope for Offstage and Theatre Uncut; All I Want for Live Theatre, Leeds Libraries and Jackson’s Lane; Mass for Amy Mason at Bristol Old Vic and Camden Peoples Theatre; The Beauty Project and Theatre Uncut 2012 at the Young Vic; How to be Immortal for Penny Dreadful at the Soho and on tour; Bandages at the Corn Exchange Newbury and on tour; Thirsty for The Paper Birds and Blue Jam for Etcetera Theatre Company.

Kirsty was the recipient of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award for Cue Deadly, a Live Film Project, and the Title Pending award for innovation at Northern Stage. She won The Stage award for Innovation in 2017 for The Encounter and was nominated again in 2018 for The Believers are but Brothers.

She is currently developing new work with Complicite, The National Theatre, The Royal Court and The Lyric Hammersmith.

Mentoring Programme

Next year the JMK South West Directors Group will be establishing a Mentoring Programme, for regionally-based directors who feel they would benefit from regular mentoring and contact time with fellow directors in order to reflect upon their craft and practice, as well as supporting them in any professional goals they wish to move toward.

This will take place over a period of 6 months and the primary mentor for this will be Nik Partridge, freelance director and JMK Director Practitioner for the SW region. Participants will have the opportunity to check-in with Nik once a month one-on-one, for up to an hour, to review and reflect on the development of their work and practice. There will also be space for the group to come together over the course of the programme, along with opportunity for peer to peer led reflection and support.

This mentoring programme can support up to 8 directors and theatre-makers based in the Berkshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire areas.

The Mentored Directors should also aim to ensure they can attend as much of the SW regional programme as possible and be available for the residency date for the group: Friday 17th – Saturday 18th April, Nuffield  Southampton Theatres.

If you are interested in applying to be a mentored director, could you please write a short email detailing your experience to date, why you feel this opportunity would be of benefit to you and what you hope to get from it. Please keep this submission of interest to 3 paragraphs maximum. There is no minimum requisite experience for this opportunity, but you do need to have an interest and commitment to developing your practice as a director within the region.

Submissions of interest should be sent to: by Friday 13th December 2019.