Josh Roche’s blog

Applying for stuff is a big part of life as a theatre director. Applying for funding, applying for competitions, applying for jobs, the list goes on and on. Actors have to keep launching themselves into auditions, directors have to keep applying, keep pitching, keep offering themselves. It means that being bloody minded and obstinate can become quite useful, in its place.

For the JMK Award, this application process begins with a list of plays. The Trust puts out a list, and from the selection on offer you find one that sets your hair on end. The first application is an opportunity to talk about the elements of the play that most move you, and write about them as best you can. Trying to explain how you’d enable those elements, and amplify them. You get to dream big (which doesn't happen that often) so it’s worth enjoying that.

At the long-list stage you assemble a team and invite other minds into that mission, principally a designer and a producer who work together to make your vision seem attractive, dynamic and (crucially) affordable. If you reach the short-list, the specifics of your vision get tied down. What does the model box look like for your production? Can you justify each budget line? How do you work with actors? How does that complement the vision of the production?

The whole application process is about trying to convince a group of people that your show would be extraordinarily good. That’s ‘good’ in the context of other Young Vic shows, good in the context of previous JMK shows, just good, period. Being humble in the face of that mission is really, really important. Try to admit what you’re not good at (in my case, devising, movement and music), then tailor your application toward what you can speak about with confidence and clarity. Try to do simple, achievable things very well. Stack the deck in your favour.

For me, the JMK was the annual highlight in a calendar of applications. Every December I would read through the list of plays and every January submit my 1500-word application. I tried every different tactic, with a whole host of different plays, and every year until 2017 I was rejected at the first round.

Each year the rejection got much easier to handle, until it was just a feature of January. That’s when you know you’re hitting a groove, when the rejection washes over you and you look forward to the next thing rather than dwelling on the past. Go for a run, have a drink, whatever you do to lift your spirits, then move on. Cracking that, psychologically, is much more important than winning a competition or getting a good review.

When it happened, I had no idea how I’d won or why my production was chosen over others. If you win I’m sure you won’t know why either. So, the important thing is to speak clearly about what you believe you can achieve, and why you think it would be a powerful, moving production. After that, just keep applying.

Stuck for a Christmas present for a theatre lover?

Why not buy a Gift Membership for Christmas?

Benefits include an invitation to our event in May when we announce the winner of the JMK Award 2018 and a ticket to the winning production at the Young Vic during its run.  Gift Memberships cost £50 and last for one year and come with a greetings card, which can be sent to you or direct to the recipient.

This is a unique gift that enables the recipient to experience the most exciting new theatre talent. Plus, every penny of your purchase goes on charitably supporting emerging directors.

Please order by Monday 18th December in order to receive this in time for Christmas – simply email jo@jmktrust.org to secure your Gift Membership or for more details.

JMK Award Workshop – Salisbury

Thursday 4th January, 7 - 9 pm.
Salisbury Playhouse

This free workshop is an opportunity to find out more about making an application to the annual JMK Young Director Award.

The JMK Award was established in memory of James Menzies-Kitchin, a young theatre director who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 28, to encourage others to fulfil their potential as he had promised to do. The Award enables one outstanding applicant each year to create their own production of a of classic text at the Young Vic. For many, winning the JMK Award is the breakthrough moment in their directing career. Increasingly simply taking part in the Trust’s unique, intensive development and selection process has given powerful impetus to the best theatre practitioners of the future. Previous winners include Natalie Abrahami, Polly Findlay, Bijan Sheibani, Roy Alexander Weise and Thea Sharrock.

Applicants must be aged 30 or under on 1st January 2018, have directed no more than two full-length professional productions and must not be in full or part-time education.

To book your free place please email jo@jmktrust.org. See http://www.jmktrust.org/ to find out more about the Award.

Wilton’s Music Hall – Plays Without Décor

Are you a young or emerging director looking for some space and support to workshop some of your brilliant ideas? Well, Wilton’s Plays Without Décor Programme may be for you. As part of their Learning and Participation Programme, Wilton’s is offering four emerging directors the chance to use Wilton’s Aldgate and Allhallows Learning and Participation Studio for one week between January - April 2018.


Dates and Times

Monday 22nd – Friday 26th January 10.00 – 21.30

Monday 12th – Friday 18th February 10.00 – 21.30

Monday 19th – Friday 23rd March 10.00 – 21.30

Monday 9th – Friday 13th April 10.00 – 21.30


The Space
Aldgate and Allhallows Learning and Participation Studio is a beautiful, light and airy purpose-built space dedicated to our learning and participation activities. The Studio has a capacity of 40, to include audience and company. Wilton’s would provide seating if requested and an usher, if needed, but this is a Plays Without Décor season and so Wilton's will not provide any technical equipment and ask that your pieces do not include any set, lighting, sound or any other technical equipment.


The Offer
Wilton’s will give the space for free, although if you decide to use some of your time to produce a reading, a workshop or a semi-staged performance we will manage the Box Office for you and you will take 100% of the revenue which we would ask goes towards paying any practitioners you have asked to help you.

You will also receive up to two hours mentoring from the Wilton’s team, which could include sessions on:
Producing – led by Becky Ruffell and/or Holly Kendrick
Marketing – led by Amy Wilkes
Fundraising – led by Rachael Palmer
You could choose what sessions are most useful to you and your project.

If you are chosen then Wilton's would ask you to sign a simple agreement detailing what is expected of you and what they expect of you.

Some things to note: Plays with Décor is just that – please don’t apply to produce something with technical kit. Wilton's are happy for you to do a performance to a paying audience but can only support one performance during the week and they will set ticket prices.

How to Apply
 If you would like to apply for a slot in the Plays Without Décor Programme you can do so by filling in the application form.
You will need to state how you would use your week in the Studio, why your project is important and what benefits you would gain from the experience. You can apply to do a workshop, readings, a performance without décor. We are looking for original and exciting ideas.

If you would like to work on a published text and wish to do a showing to a paying audience you must have the rights.

The deadline for applications is Monday 18th December 2018.

The JMK Young Director Award 2018 – application deadline

This prestigious, annual award is presented to one young theatre director of outstanding potential enabling them to mount a professional production at The Young Vic in London.

The JMK Trust was established in 1997 following the death of James Menzies-Kitchin, a young director of exceptional talent and promise.

Winning the JMK Award has been instrumental in launching the careers of some of Britain’s finest directors, including Thea Sharrock, Natalie Abrahami, Bijan Sheibani, Orla O'Loughlin, Polly Findlay and Joe Hill-Gibbins.

Submissions for the Award will be accepted via the JMK website between 15th January and 22nd January 2018.

This year applicants will be asked to choose from a new list of plays which will be available before Christmas. To request a copy of the list please email jo@jmktrust.org.

See http://www.jmktrust.org/apply-2018/ for more details. Some restrictions apply.

Donate to the JMK Trust with no cost this Christmas

There is a great way to support our charity and the arts this Christmas, without having to spend an extra penny!

If you are getting any of your Christmas shopping online (presents, food, even travel or hotels) then with just a click you can make the retailer donate a bit of their profit to the JMK Trust. This costs you nothing extra!

Here are the 3 easy steps:

1.Head to https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/thejmktrust/ and join for free.

2. Every time you shop online, easyfundraising will ask if you want that retailer to make a donation. Or if you prefer, you can go to easyfundraising first to find the retailer you want and then start shopping.

3. After you’ve checked out, that retailer will make a donation to your good cause for no extra cost whatsoever!

It's quick to set up and very simple to use. There are no catches or hidden charges and the JMK Trust will be really grateful for your donations.

Thank you for your support.

 

SDUK Workshops – Edinburgh & Leeds

Further Stage Directors UK workshop dates announced. These workshops are held for our JMK Directors' Groups, which are run at our partner venues.

Edinburgh - Traverse Theatre, Tues 5 Dec, 6-9pm

Leeds - West Yorkshire Playhouse, Fri 8 Dec 6-8pm

Tom Hescott will discuss the work of the recently created group Stage Directors UK which aims to support directors and lobby for their rights at all stages of their careers. He’s keen to hear the group’s questions about what you need as emerging directors in terms of support from SDUK. Thomas is a founding member of SDUK and has sat on the board since the organisation was formed. He is currently writing the director training and career development report commissioned by RADA, the National Theatre and Old Vic which will be published later this year.

To reserve your free place, please email:

Edinburgh - Sunniva Ramsay, sunniva.ramsay@traverse.co.uk

Leeds -  Jenny Sullivan, jenny.sullivan@wyp.org.uk

If you are not already part of these existing JMK Regional Directors Groups, please email katherine@jmktrust.org

You can also click here for further details about our Regional Programme

Baylis Assistant Director at The Old Vic

Applications for The Old Vic's next Baylis Assistant Director are now open.

The Baylis Assistant Director is a funded scheme that provides the opportunity for an emerging director to take the next step in their career by assisting on one of the Old Vic main stage productions and working in a large scale organisation.

They are now seeking a candidate to assist Roger Michell on their upcoming production of Mood Music.

The successful candidate will engage with each department and be involved with The Old Vic’s bespoke artist development programme.

Candidates for this role will:

  • Have directed one professional production (not rehearsed readings or runs of less than 3 weeks but can include fringe productions), and/or assisted on a number of professional productions
  • Demonstrate a genuine commitment to becoming a professional theatre director
  • Be able to articulate their experience thus far in defining their approach, style and taste and how this fits with The Old Vic’s daring programming
  • Previous experience of working with actor-musicians is desirable but not essential

Applications close: 5pm, Monday 4th December
Interviews to be held from Dec/Jan
2nd interview dates are to be advised.

To apply, please email artists@oldvictheatre.com with your CV and a one page cover letter detailing your relevant experience (and highlighting from within this a previous project which you feel has particular relevance to this scheme).

Further details and Equal Opportunities form available on The Old Vic's Work for us Page

JMK Award Workshop – Manchester

JMK Award Workshop at HOME Manchester
Tuesday 5th December -  6 - 8pm.
Led by Liz Stevenson - winner of the JMK Award 2015.

This free workshop is an opportunity to find out more about making an application to the annual JMK Young Director Award.

The JMK Award was established in memory of James Menzies-Kitchin, a young theatre director who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 28, to encourage others to fulfil their potential as he had promised to do. The Award enables one outstanding applicant each year to create their own production of a of classic text at the Young Vic. For many, winning the JMK Award is the breakthrough moment in their directing career. Increasingly simply taking part in the Trust’s unique, intensive development and selection process has given powerful impetus to the best theatre practitioners of the future. Previous winners include Natalie Abrahami, Polly Findlay, Bijan Sheibani, Roy Alexander Weise and Thea Sharrock.

Applicants must be aged 30 or under on 1st January 2018, have directed no more than two full-length professional productions and must not be in full or part-time education.

To book your free place please email Jennie.McCusker@homemcr.org. See http://www.jmktrust.org/ to find out more about the Award. Any questions please email jo@jmktrust.org.

JMK and Sherman Theatre – Directors Programme Opportunity

Sherman Theatre and the JMK Trust are inviting submissions for the next stage of their Directors Programme supported by The Carne Trust, which will run from January 2018 until the end of the year.

We are looking for six emerging directors who will take part in a series of workshops and training sessions led by Adele Thomas and supported by industry professionals and Associate Director David Mercatali, working on developing important skills including leadership and process. All directors will be paired with a writer from our New Welsh Playwrights Programme to develop a play which will be showcased to industry, and given the opportunity to start a new creative partnership. Participants in the JMK Directors Programme will be invited to apply for bursaries for Assistant Director positions as well as other directing opportunities throughout the year.

The Programme will start in January with a series of evening sessions, with workshops taking place throughout the year, and culminating with the development and showcase in Autumn 2018. To be considered please send a copy of your CV and a covering email explaining why this would be an important opportunity for you. We are inviting directors aged 18 and above to apply; the only requirement is that you are either from or live in Wales.

Please send your submission to directors.group@shermantheatre.co.uk along with your name and contact details by Friday 8 December

Subject your email JMK Directors Programme, submissions without this subject will not be accepted. Submissions are welcome in Welsh or English.

The JMK Directors Programme is generously supported by The Carne Trust.