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Scottish theatre directors call for help in improving career development opportunities

Theatre Directors Scotland is seeking creative solutions for the future of directing in Scotland. Photo: Shutterstock Theatre Directors Scotland is seeking creative solutions for the future of directing in Scotland. Photo: Shutterstock
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Directors in Scotland are calling on the country’s cultural sector to come together to help close a perceived gap in the career ladders of those working in the profession.

Theatre Directors Scotland, the industry body that was set up last year to support directors working in Scotland, has said it plans to tackle a central issue to the directing community that prevents individuals progressing from fringe theatre to in-house productions.

Industry body formed to create opportunities for Scottish directors

In a letter sent earlier this month to Scottish theatre leaders, TDS invited artistic directors of regularly funded organisations and cultural leaders in Scotland to attend a meeting in October that will explore how the sector can better support emerging directors.

The group said it would also ask for ideas on how to address the gap in opportunity that has arisen from fewer assisting positions, studio shows and touring productions.

TDS chair Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir said: “It’s clear the training and career development opportunities for directors in Scotland played a crucial role in so many of the careers of the respected and accomplished directors we see today. What’s also clear is that these training and career development opportunities have been lost and nothing has been put in place to replace them.

“There’s a gap in the sector that is widely recognised by the industry, but it’s a gap that has been overlooked for too long. This won’t be solved by one person, one company or one building. We need the cultural custodians to come together and work with Theatre Directors Scotland to find solutions.”

TDS also claimed that while work to develop emerging playwrights in Scotland had strengthened over the past decade, directors had not been championed in the same way.

It referenced a report published in 2006 – Theatre Directing in Scotland – which identified a lack of training and career development opportunities for theatre directors in Scotland. The report called for a network of directors to be appointed to work across Scotland and help address this.

The network never came to fruition, but TDS said it had inspired the group to take on “this systemic issue”.

“We know that many of the artistic directors and leading artists in the sector fully acknowledge that this is a problem and we are very hopeful that they join us in October to find creative solutions for the future of directing in Scotland,” Sigfúsdóttir said.

The meeting will take place on October 14 at Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.

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