Derby Theatre announces their new Regional Theatre Young Director residency for 2016/17

Derby Theatre is delighted to announce that Lekan Lawal has been awarded a paid director residency at the Theatre for 2016/17, as part of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) funded by Arts Council England. 

Established in 1960, RTYDS is the UK's longest running and most influential training programme for emerging directors. The scheme brings emerging directors together with the UK’s leading regional theatre companies and is particularly focused on directors who live outside London or who are from communities presently under-represented in theatre. 

Derby Theatre joins RTYDS at a time when it is offering more exceptional emerging theatre directors than ever before the opportunity to become artistic leaders of the future and they are thrilled to offer a home to Lekan Lawal under the scheme. Lekan will have the opportunity to mount his own production as part of the Theatre’s programme and in addition, the residency will also allow him the opportunity to develop his understanding of the artistic and operational workings of a theatre as a potential artistic director of the future, as well as assisting on different productions. 

Lekan is from London and trained at LAMDA. He recently worked as an associate for The Big House and is currently working on Measure for Measure at the Young Vic. 

Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director of Derby Theatre: “I’m delighted that this relationship with RTYDS will build on and develop the innovative artist development work we have started with In Good Company. I’m passionate about diversifying the voices heard on our stage and so I look forward immensely to working with RTYDS and our personal placement, Lekan Lawal, to find an exciting new voice to help continue to bring great theatre to Derby.” 

For over 50 years, the scheme has placed new talent in major theatres around the country giving them the opportunity to develop skills, not only as directors but also as artistic leaders. Alumni of the scheme include Trevor Nunn (RSC and National Theatre); Rupert Goold (Almeida); Elizabeth Newman (Bolton Octagon); Vicky Featherstone (Royal Court); Natalie Ibu (Tiata Fahodzi) and Matthew Xia (Manchester Royal Exchange). 

The scheme which was re-designed last year with support from Arts Council England is now offering many more opportunities to directors at the early stages of their theatre careers. Earlier this year it attracted a grant of £114,500 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation over two years towards the development of a national programme of regional theatre and director development which is designed to bring a richer range of life experiences, cultural traditions and different voices into regional theatres and the theatre industry in general. 

Now Lekan’s residency has been announced, he and Derby Theatre can now forge ahead with their plans on how they will work together over the next couple of years. 

Also as part of RTYDS on a national level, Julia Thomas will take up a director residency at Curve in Leicester and Ben Occhipinti at Bolton Octagon.