For applicants

About The JMK Young Director Award

Applications for the JMK Award 2020 are now closed.

What is the JMK Award?
The JMK Award offers one young director the opportunity to direct a full-scale professional play. We are thrilled that the JMK Award 2020 is in partnership with the Orange Tree Theatre, with the production values and nurturing guidance the building is famous for.

The JMK Award constitutes an Award of £25,000 plus space at the Orange Tree Theatre. The winning director will receive a fee of £4,000 for their work as director on the production. Runner up prizes of up to £2,000 may also be awarded.

The winner of the JMK Award 2019 was Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, with designer Tara Usher, for their production of Arinzé Kene’s Little Baby Jesus. Runners up, and the recipients of £2,000, were Oscar Toeman and his designer Rebecca Brower in recognition of their effective collaboration on The Sugar Syndrome by Lucy Prebble. This production, developed for the application process, is soon to be running at the Orange Tree and may of interest.

You can read the 2019 JMK Award announcement here.

The JMK Award is supported by Phillip Hooker, The Martin Bowley Charitable Trust, Backstage Trust, The Leche Trust, Fidelio Charitable Trust, the Directors Charitable Foundation and all our individual donors.

Can I apply for the JMK Award?
• Must be no more than 35 years of age on 1st January 2020
• May have directed no more than three professional productions. A professional production is defined here as a full-length piece performed by professional actors (whether paid or unpaid) to a paying audience for a full production run (3 weeks or more)
• Should have some professional training or practical experience in the performing arts
• Must not be in full or part-time education or currently undertaking a degree between now and July 2020
• Must be resident in the UK.

How do I apply?
Look at the play list, which is available via the mailing list here. If you're already signed up, check your preferences and make sure you've ticked to receive news about the Award. Check junk mail folders just in case. If you haven't received a copy of the list please contact

Read plays from this list that are of interest to you. Choose one to develop for the stage.

Fill out our JMK Award application form, which asks how you would rehearse and stage the play.

Pick a play that you have something to say about, as you may be spending up to a year or more with it!

The play list is released with a good amount of time before the application deadline closes, and copies to read are available on request.

What do I say about my production?
Stage One:
Complete the application form and submit between 10am on 10th January and 11pm on 24th January. Also upload a Word Document with:

• Your name at the top
• The name of the play you’d like to direct. This is the play we want to hear about-
• A second play from the list, just in case there were a rights issue
• 100 to 500 words on your first choice of play text
• 100 to 500 words on your proposed production
• 100 to 500 words on your proposed work process to rehearse that production
• A copy of your CV in Microsoft Word format (doc.) Indicate which productions on your CV are professional ones.

If you feel that a written application may not best communicate your ideas, or you have any other access requirements, contact us for details about making a spoken application -

What happens to my application?
Applications and CV’s have names removed before they are read by a team, so don’t send PDF files.

We use the equal opportunities data to help monitor applications, and gauge the impact and reach of our work.

Further details of how your application is considered are available on request.

Where do I get advice?
Look at this website. There’s a host of information to help.

We also run workshops across the country in December and January. Join the mailing list to find out more.

Ideas for your production should ideally begin with an appreciation of the play, its original context, world and ideas.

Put across what you have to say about the play, rather than imagining what we would wish to hear. Whether they are imaginative or purely practical, communicate your thoughts, drives and ideas as clearly and directly as possible.

After the deadline, we cannot enter into discussion regarding individual applications, but if you have a question you cannot find help with here, get in touch.

What happens if I get through?
You will be sent full details of the next stage if you are successful in your first round application.

You’ll be asked to put together ideas for a creative team for the production, and work with a designer on some initial visual ideas.

Check your diary for these dates now:

19th February: We let everyone know whether their application is moving forward

7th March: Day for longlisted applicants and their designers to visit the Orange Tree Theatre and see the space

25th March or 2nd April: Second round submission deadline

by 3rd April 8: Shortlisted applicants chosen

2nd and 3rd May: Final for 8 shortlisted applicants

2nd May: Full day with actors in London

3rd May: 45 minute interview at the Orange Tree Theatre

The winning production will be scheduled by the Orange Tree Theatre in autumn 2020.