The Albany theatre will this week host a festival of plays staged by new, young directors who have undertaken a unique free course based in Deptford.
Changing Direction will showcase eight novice directors’ work and is the culmination of three months of training received at Stonecrabs’ studios.
Now in its fourth year, the scheme is the only one of its kind in London in offering free help to aspiring directors.
This year’s intake set to put on shows at the Albany come from Hackney, Lewisham, Stratford and further afield.
Alex Crampton, one of the first-time directors involved, said of the project: “The Stonecrabs course is perfect for me as I really felt as though I needed a bit of specific training after deciding to be a director.”
“It is pretty much the only place in London to have a free directing course of this kind. There are other bursaries and prizes, but none with actual training attached.”
Funded by BBC Children in Need and Help a Child London, the directing courses offer a chance for young directors starting out in the industry to try their hand at directing and producing their own show without losing money.
Miss Crampton, from Hackney, added: “When I did my first production in London I was very out of pocket, it was a hugely expensive process, but you have to have the practical experience.”
Stonecrabs Co-Artistic Director Kwong Loke believes that support for young directors in London is growing.
“Five to eight years ago there was hardly any support,” Mr Loke said. “Now you have the Genesis programme, the JMK award, the Oxford Samuel Beckett theatre award among others, which all offer prize money. But as far as I am aware this is the only course of its kind in London.”
He added: “Funding is still a big ‘no’ for young directors, it’s almost impossible to get it.”
Changing Direction takes place at the Albany Theatre, Deptford between 20 – 22 January from 7.00-9.45pm.
Each night will have between two and three performances of plays such as Drunk Enough to Say I Love You by Carol Churchill, Chalky White Substance by Tenessee Williams, Pool (no water) by Mark Ravenhill and Woza Albert! By Percy Mtwa, Mbongeni Ngema and Barney Simon.
For more information see www.stonecrabs.co.uk and http://www.thealbany.org.uk.