Today, Headlong has begun recruitment for the next wave of Headlong Origins Directors. The programme, which forms part of the company’s commitment to supporting the next generation of theatre makers, looks to celebrate and nurture early career directors from throughout the UK, outside of London. Applications are now open until 20 November 2023, for further information on how to apply visit headlong.co.uk.
Now entering its fourth year, Headlong Origins will see five directors work closely with the award-winning theatre company for 12 months, during which time they will receive mentorship from a leading industry professional and Headlong’s producing and creative teams. The theatre makers will receive a bursary of £6,000 and are invited to engage with every facet of the company’s theatre making process; from R&D sessions, workshops and rehearsals to specially arranged masterclasses, artistic and budget planning sessions, events and press nights. Throughout the 12 month period, the Headlong Origins Directors will have the opportunity to see work from theatres across the UK, as they look to develop their own work and artistic vision.
Previous Headlong Origins Directors include: Anna Berentzen, Callum Berridge, Gitika Buttoo, Maria Crocker, Mandeep Kaur Glover, Nyasha Gudo, Sam Hardie, Alix Harris, Julia Head, Fionnuala Kennedy, Maisie Newman, Jack Nurse, Ellie Taylor and Sita Thomas and Emily Ling Williams. All have gone on to direct further work, with some directing their first mid-scale productions for theatres such as The Bush, Bristol Old Vic, Leeds Playhouse, Exeter Northcott, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Manchester Royal Exchange, and Leicester Curve. Others have gone on to direct or assist on shows for larger stages such as the National Theatre, Almeida, Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Hippodrome and the Lyric Theatre; landed roles in artistic leadership and received or been shortlisted for bursaries and awards such as the Nicole Kidman bursary from MGCFutures, the 2023 JMK Director Award and The Stage Debut award for Best Director.
“Given the current economic climate and the devastation of the performing arts post pandemic, it is now harder than ever for early career theatre directors to progress. Schemes like Origins have become essential to future-proofing our industry, and Headlong are enormously grateful to the Backstage Trust who have made the funding available for a fourth year of our directors’ support scheme. Origins offers five directors from across the UK meaningful financial support, mentorship, immersion into our organisation, paid work opportunities and masterclasses. It is with great excitement that we recruit Cohort 4, Origins has connected Headlong with some of the most impressive emerging artists in the country and we can’t wait to meet this next group.” – Holly Race Roughn, Artistic Director, Headlong
“Origins was an incredible experience. The workshops and mentorship hugely improved my confidence as a director and gave me brilliant practical advice on how to progress in the industry. I came into the scheme looking to take the step from assisting to directing and by the end of the year had landed my first full professional production. The team at Headlong are so welcoming and supportive and it was lovely to connect with a wonderful group of directors from across the country. I cannot recommend Origins enough!” – Emily Ling Williams, Origins cohort 3, winner of Stage Debut Award 2023
In addition to the Headlong Origins Directors programme, the company is committed to exploring how it can commission and work with artists in a different way, bringing freelance artists into the heart of the organisation with its annual Writer-in-Residence and Resident Artist + Designer programmes. Moi Tran is Headlong’s inaugural Resident Artist + Designer for 23/24 and Rhashan Stone is Headlong’s writer-in-residence for 23/24.
Headlong is currently presenting a new production of A View From the Bridge (a Headlong, Chichester Festival Theatre, Octagon Theatre Bolton and Rose Theatre co-production), directed by Holly Race Roughan with former Headlong Origins Director, Emily Ling Williams as Associate Director. The production opened at the Octagon Theatre Bolton in September, before touring to Chichester Festival Theatre from 6 October and the Rose Theatre from 31 October.
Headlong Origins Directors 2023 is generously supported by the Backstage Trust.