Iris Theatre today announce that applications are open for startDIRECTING 2021 – one strand of its development scheme start which supports those beginning a career in theatre.

startDIRECTING, now in its second year, supports four people who want to begin a career in directing for theatre, but have yet to receive any formal, vocational training in the role. The programme runs over eight months (May – December 2021) with regular online sessions curated and hosted by the company’s Artistic Director, Paul-Ryan Carberry.

Participants in the scheme will also be given the opportunity to be placed as Assistant Directors across Iris Theatre’s Summer Festival and Winter Season – allowing the opportunity to apply some of the skills gained in learning sessions in a practical environment.

Paul-Ryan Carberry, Artistic Director of Iris theatre said today, “We are really delighted to be moving ahead with our second year of startDIRECTING. It is vital that artists at the very beginning of their careers are afforded opportunities to nurture and celebrate their creative instincts. I’d like to give a huge shout out to our regular monthly donors, without their vital generosity, these schemes would not be possible. We are so proud of our 2020 cohort, it was a joy to see them grow and flourish, and we look forward to welcoming and working with another group of artists.”

Applicants should be over 18, not have received any formal education in directing, not directed any professional theatre production or assisted on more than 2 professional productions.

For further information and to apply: Applications are open now, until Friday 3 April at 6pm. If you require the form in an alternative format, get in touch with us at 020 7240 0344 or via

Due to coronavirus, Iris Theatre’s inaugural start scheme was adapted with startDIRECTING taking place online. The scheme’s second strand, startDESIGNING, for early career designers or design students, was unable to proceed, the 2020 cohort will therefore take up their places for 2021 and will be announced shortly.

Iris Theatre’s start scheme is supported by the generosity of the company’s regular donors. To find out more of donate please visit:

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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