Directors Development Programme

Jessica Lazar 300x190Over the next nine months Mercury Directors will support a group of five people, to guide and mentor them through the page to stage directing process.

Participants will meet once a month from July 2023 through to March 2024. and these monthly sessions will led by Jessica Lazar. She is a freelance director represented by Jessica Stewart at Independent Talent, and part of multi-award-winning theatre company Atticist.

She works on new writing, revivals, and adaptations, and is particularly drawn to stories that explore the tension between social facade and human passion. Her style is physically dynamic and creative collaboration sits at the heart of her practice.

Jessica was an EVOLVE Artist in Residence at Oxford Playhouse in 2019/20 and a Mercury Creative at Mercury Theatre, Colchester, in 2021/22. In 2016, she completed a doctorate supervised by Oxford Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama Tiffany Stern. Since then her productions have won the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, inaugural SIT-Up Award for ‘social impact theatre’, Lustrum Award, SoHo Playhouse Medal of Excellence, and been nominated for twelve Off West End Awards including Best Director and Best Production, as well as the Holden Street Theatre Award and Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

Theatre credits include Rafaella Marcus’s Sap (Roundabout @ Summerhall 2022, Vaults 2020) and The Gift (Oxford Playhouse 2021), Lisa D’Amour’s Anna Bella Eema (Arcola 2019), Iman Qureshi’s this is a love story and Sam Potter’s The Unicorn (North Wall Arts Centre 2019), David Greig’s Outlying Islands (King’s Head Theatre 2019), Christina Murdock’s Dangerous Giant Animals (Edinburgh Fringe / United Solo Fest New York / Park Theatre 2018), Steven Berkoff’s East (King’s Head Theatre, 2018), and Katherine Rundell’s Life According to Saki (Edinburgh Fringe 2016 / New York Theatre Workshop Fourth Street Theatre 2017). Details of these productions and further credits are available here.

Audio credits include Tajinder Singh Hayer’s Ghost Stories From An Old Country (2021, Papatango/ETT), Margaret Perry’s A Passion Play and Rafalla Marcus’s The You Play Vols. 1 – 2 (2020, Written on the Waves series). Recordings and more information can be found here.

How to apply

We will ask you to:

• Be over the age of 18
• Provide a short statement of 200-250 words explaining why you would like to take part.
• Submit a document of no more than 2 pages of A4 using a play you would like to direct, putting together a brief summary of the idea, including how you might like to stage your production, the style of theatre you want to use, elements of design , movement, sound or music. You can include images or other reference points which will help us understand your idea.
• Tell us about your connection with the East of England – applicants must be from or currently live in this area to take part.
• Provide a high-res headshot and bio.
• Submit an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form found below.

Please note applications are now closed until early 2024.

Apply Now Equality & Diversity Form

Why Directors?

Mercury Directors will benefit from:

• A monthly workshop with Ryan McBryde, exploring staging techniques and rehearsal processes, developing individual artistic styles and practices.
• Participation in a number of directing masterclasses, led by industry respected directors.
• Mentoring, rehearsal shadowing and pitching opportunities.
• Free tickets and special invitations to some Mercury events.
• Invitations to collaborate with other organisations in the East of England.
• Support from the Mercury Team to develop ideas to be considered for future programming.

If you have any questions, please get in touch: [email protected].

Rules & Guidelines

• Applicants must be aged 18 or over.
• Submissions must be no longer than 5 pages.
• Submissions should be written in a legible font or typeface and attached to email as PDF or word Document files only
• Name and contact details should appear on the title page only (this ensures anonymity during the reading process)
• Applicants must be from or currently reside in the East of England. East of England includes Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
• The Mercury will formally acknowledge all submissions
• All submissions will be given due consideration, but, regretfully, we cannot provide feedback on every script.

All nine workshops for the 2023/24 cohort will be held at the Mercury Theatre on:
– Wed 5 Jul, 7 -9pm
– Wed 9  Aug, 7-9pm
– Wed 6  Sep, 7-9pm
– Wed 4 Oct, 7-9pm
– Wed 1 Nov, 7-9pm
– Wed 6 Dec, 7-9pm
– Wed 3 Jan 2024, 7-9pm
– Wed 7 Feb 2024, 7-9pm
– Wed 6 Mar 2024, 7-9pm