Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) Directing Initiative

Event: Presentation of a short scene. Before the presentation the candidate will provide the respondents with a prepared written statement that reflects their analysis of the scene. The scene will include bona fide student actors, and may be rehearsed at the home institution, or cast at the regional festival for presentation in a preliminary round. If more than one director participates from the same institution, the directors are discouraged from sharing actors for their projects and the directors are prohibited from acting in each other’s scenes.  Check with your regional coordinator for information about the specific event at your festival.

Issues of logistics and technical needs will be left to the discretion of the Regional leadership.

Scene: All entrants will prepare one from the list of scenes.

No cuts may be made to the scenes selected.

Respondents: The number of respondents is determined by Regional leadership. The respondents are skilled directors who have a strong track record of responding to directing and are out-of-region colleagues or local professionals who are not affiliated with regional institutions. They will respond to the rounds of presentations, will participate in the “interview round,” and will decide which student director will attend the events in Washington DC. At least one member of the respondent team must be an SDC member.

Preliminary Round: a closed round. All of the candidates (directors only) are required to attend all of the first round presentations. Teachers/mentors who are the nominators-of-record for the student director are encouraged but not required to attend. Other than for the scene in which they are performing, actors are not allowed in the room. After the presentation the respondent(s) will react to the work in front of the closed gathering of directors and teachers/mentors.

Interview Round:  Directors who are chosen for the final round will attend closed individual interviews with the respondents. At this time, the director’s book, written statements and approach will be discussed. No teachers/mentors or actors are allowed to participate in this phase of the event.

Final Round:  Presentation of scene in a round open to the public. A final round of presentations will consist of up to six (6) selected scenes. The final round will occur at least two days following the preliminary round to allow the director and actors to work on the scene based on feedback from the preliminary round.  Limited rehearsal space will be provided. Teachers/mentors may advise the student directors during these rehearsals. A response session will follow the final round, and will include the scene directors, and may include teacher/mentors, actors and audience.

Analysis:   Analysis will consist of a prepared director’s book for the scene. The director’s book will be handed to the Directing Coordinator for the region prior to the preliminary round and will be returned to the student director at the final round.

Director’s statement: The director’s written statement provides the personal, analytical and intuitive framework for the scene. It is a combination of script analysis, research, creativity and personal connection to the text.  The statement should address the themes, images and specific lines of text that guide the director’s work, including the context of the scene; where/how the scene fits into the play.

For region-specific application guidelines consult your regional website.

Directors are encouraged to consider non-traditional casting for any of the scenes selected as can be supported by your concept.

SDC is the theatrical union that unites, empowers and protects professional stage Directors and Choreographers throughout the United States. Founded in 1959, has spent the last six decades fighting for the rights and livelihoods of

these seminal artists.

The SDC Directing Initiative provides recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student directors who have demonstrated success in direction. Candidates are nominated by their individual institutions, and the institution must have entered either an associate or participating production during the calendar year prior to the regional festival.

One student director from each region will be selected as a Regional Finalist and invited to participate at the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC each April. This finalist will be awarded travel, lodging and per diem expenses, as well as attendance at KCACTF National Festival workshops and performances. In addition, finalists receive a one year Associate Membership in SDC. SDC underwrites the National Award(s), which is the result of a unique collaboration between SDC and KCACTF. Associate Membership in SDC introduces each regional finalist to the national community of professional stage directors and choreographers. Additionally, they receive the monthly E-Newsletter, a subscription to SDC Journal (the Union’s quarterly magazine), free or discounted admission to SDC Foundation’s events, and specially negotiated discounts. For more information about SDC, please visit the website at