The Drama League (Artistic Director, Gabriel Stelian- Shanks; Executive Director, Bevin Ross) announces today The Essentials, an expanded series of workshops and seminars developed to explore best practices and changing realities for stage directors and theatermakers, offering vital tools for artists to succeed. After several seasons of acclaimed workshops at The Drama League Theater Center in Tribeca, this in-person series moves in 2021 to the digital space, connecting artists and patrons around the world by offering these workshops online for the first time, beginning February 5.
Since 1916, The Drama League has been at the forefront of the American Theater community, advancing the art form by providing a life-long artistic home for directors and a platform for dialogue with, and between, audiences. The Essentials, in tandem with other artistic programming initiatives including the TA(L)KING DIRECTION podcast and the ongoing New Visions / New Voices initiative, welcomes artists and audiences alike to join the conversation and develop core skills together. The Drama League’s annual DirectorFest, which typically takes place in January, has been reimagined and will premiere in late spring.
“When theater returns to its stages after the pandemic, it will be radically changed, a change that will transform the work of directors in many exciting ways,” said Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks. “With this spring series of workshops, directors,theatermakers, and others can explore the foundational skills and techniques directors employ, with an eye towards cutting-edge techniques and the questions that will influence the future.”
The four online workshop classes, each consisting of two separate sessions over two days, will cover topics ranging from text analysis to branding strategy for artists and more. Sessions will be hosted by nationally-renowned practitioners within The Drama League and across the industry, including Mr. Stelian-Shanks, Nilan, Emily Lyon, Sarah Wansley, and more. Sessions run 2-3 hours each, with participants being able to meet one-on-one with workshop leaders in select sessions.
The Essentials are on sale to the public now with limited participant availability to ensure the sessions are kept intimate.
Participant rates include full interactivity, all class guides and exercises, and personal communication with the session leader and others; Observer rates come discounted and are for those who wish to view the seminar without participating in the full experience.
The Essentials Bundle, which includes all workshops with full participant access (eight sessions total), is available for $199 (regular price $280).
Students, Drama League members, and AEA/SDC members can access discounted rates. To learn more about pricing and how to partake in The Essentials series, visit dramaleague.org/essentials.
The Other Side of the Table: Audition Techniques for Directors
February 5 & 12, 2021
Participant (General Admission): $50 | Observer: $30
The old saying is true: casting is everything. But finding the right actors, in the right roles, is easier said than done. How do you choose? What techniques can strengthen your ability to quickly and effectively match actor and role? And how do we change the process itself so that it reflects our creative and ethical values? The Other Side of the Table: Audition Techniques for Directors moves the selection process out of relying on instinct to skills any director can employ to attract talent, explore possibilities, and make the tough choices. Developed from interviews with dozens of acclaimed directors, agents, and casting directors, Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks will lead participants in techniques to reveal unconscious biases, and offer pathways to ensure your production is inclusive, equitable, and diverse.
“The application of technique through practice is what artists have been denied during this pandemic.” said Associate Artistic Director Nilan. “These classes are meant to be anchors
for your craft so that you are at your best when making art.” Reveal unconscious biases, and offer pathways to ensure your production is inclusive, equitable, and diverse.
There are two options for taking this class. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with Stelian-Shanks and the other participants live on Zoom, and receive feedback on projects in both sessions. Observers will be able to audit the first session.
Standing Ap(art): Personal Brand Marketing for Directors & Creatives
March 11 & 18, 2021
Participant (General Admission): $50 | Observer: $30
In the digital age, the idea that your artistic work should just “speak for itself” ignores the realities of our interconnected world, where artists must present themselves in multiple arenas and mediums to rise above the noise. As social media and the internet become essential tools to network, connect, and collaborate, how you present yourself and your artistry requires sophistication and dazzle. Standing Ap(art): Personal Brand Marketing for Directors & Creatives will show you how to authentically and dynamically present who you are to the community, the industry, and the world. Associate Artistic Director Nilan and freelance director Emily Lyon will reveal strategies and tips on websites, resumes, social media, and connectivity to support you and your art.
There are two options for taking this class. Participants will have the opportunity to interact in the class live on Zoom and will be able to sign up for exclusive 1-on-1 private sessions to receive individual feedback and assistance on creative materials. Observers will be able to audit the first session.
Text Analysis for Directors & Creatives
May 8 & 9, 2021
Participant (General Admission): $50
Back by popular demand, Text Analysis for Directors & Creatives is a hands-on seminar by Sarah Wansley designed for directors looking to explore and refresh their process or artists who are interested in directing, with a goal to develop their own rigorous approach to effectively analyze scripts and articulate vision. The workshop will explore concepts of event, main dramatic question, objectives, obstacles, dramatic structure, and defining the world of the play.
The virtual workshop will consist of two three-hour classes live over Zoom, and there will be short readings and some prep work outside of the class times. There is no observer option for this class.
The Art of the Pitch: Sharing Your Vision as a Director
May 18 & June 2, 2021
Participant (General Admission): $120 | Observer: $55
strategic ways. Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks and a community of directors will share their experiences and findings pitching to gatekeepers across the regional, commercial, and international scenes. The Drama League has been a leader in this training with their acclaimed Directors Project, which has been developing the careers of directors for nearly 40 years.
There are two options for taking this class. Participants will have the opportunity to interact in the class on Zoom and will get personal feedback on their pitch in the second session. Observers will be able to audit the first session.
The Drama League of New York, since 1916, has been at the forefront of the American Theatre community, providing talent, audiences, and prosperous support. The Drama League advances the American theater by providing a life-long artistic home for directors and a platform for dialogue with, and between, audiences. The Drama League opens doors for exceptional stage directors by providing time, resources, and space to work without restriction, while augmenting skills through personalized training, production opportunities, and professional development. The Drama League carefully selects directors whose vision and talent are unparalleled, with a clear commitment to the craft, the field, and audiences.
Through our work, The Drama League celebrates the important role theatergoers have to the future of the industry, and champions the impact theater plays in civic life. The Drama League breaks the formidable barriers that impede success in the arts. These directors, nurtured and empowered by The Drama League’s support, are trained to create the most rigorous work possible, as a live exchange between artists and audiences. In doing so, we elevate the conversation, deeply impacting theaters and their communities. Bringing people together to celebrate difference, share experiences, and discover common ground are crucial needs served by the work of Drama League directors. This necessary cultural practice is the foundation of our shared humanity.