How to Write Your Directorial Statement

how to write directorial statement

One of NTSA's core beliefs is that high school and college students should be given the resources and support necessary to lead their own productions. This led us to create the NTSA Directors Program, which originally partnered with Carnegie Mellon's John Wells BFA Directing Program but, since 2015, has welcomed students from all educational institutions. Our Directors Program provides a clear pathway for students — taking them from first-time novices to full-fledged (and fully-paid) off-Broadway directors. Our directors have gone on to work at theatres like Manhattan Theatre Club (Broadway), Roundabout Theatre Company (Broadway), Signature Theatre Company (NYC), HERE Arts Center (NYC), Abrons Arts Center (NYC), the New Ohio Theatre (NYC), The Brick (NYC), The Civilians (NYC), The New Group (NYC), The Flea (NYC), and Williamstown Theatre Festival, amongst many others. If you’re interested in joining the NTSA Directors Program this summer, we have a few tips for writing your directorial statement.

First of all, your statement will look different depending on which division of the program you’re applying to:

DIRECTORS STUDIO STATEMENT

The Directors Studio is for students who are interested in directing but have little previous experience. This program provides three hours of college-level coursework a day — giving you many opportunities to direct scene-work, coach actors, work with designers, and add to your undergraduate admissions portfolio. You’ll also have assistant directing responsibilities on one of our mainstage productions. Our class sizes are small (usually five students or less) to provide you with individualized mentorship and help you build the skills required for BFA Directing programs.

If you’re interested in applying for our Directors Studio program, you’ll need to submit a short statement (two pages or less) discussing a play or musical that you would someday be interested in directing. Say, for instance, you dream of directing Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy’s Heathers: The Musical. (Don’t we all?) Why would you want to direct that particular production?  What about the characters interests you? What are the major themes of the production and why are they particularly relevant NOW? Heathers, a musical that focuses on the effects of bullying, doesn’t just reflect what’s happening in the halls of your local high school; right now, it also reflects what’s happening at the highest levels of our government. Write about that! We recommend that you order a copy of your show’s script from Amazon and read it over many times before typing up your statement. You want to provide substantial text evidence for all of your thoughts.

We also want you to briefly tell us why you’re interested in joining this summer’s Directors Studio class. Do you plan on applying to BFA Directing programs? Have you always wanted to try directing but there aren’t any opportunities available at your high school? Do you have one show that you really want to stage but realize that you need to build your skills first? All of these are great reasons for wanting to join the NTSA Directors Studio. We just want to know what you’re hoping to gain from the program; it helps us to better tailor the coursework and the entire experience to fit your needs.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR STATEMENT

If you’re applying for an Assistant Director position, you’ve most likely had a significant amount of directing experience. This program is for pre-professional directors who intend on making a career in the field. Assistant directors have substantial directing responsibilities on mainstage productions — frequently being given artistic control of entire scenes and/or musical numbers. These students also receive daily one-on-one coaching from a mentor director.

Your directorial statement for NTSA will probably be similar to one that you’ve had to write in your college theatre program. Similar to our Directors Studio applicants, you’re going to select a full-length play or musical (either original or published) that you might someday be interested in directing. We want a short statement (five pages or less) that sums up your ideas about that show. We’re specifically interested in the following:

  • What’s the most important event that occurs in the play or musical?
  • What’s the theme that the playwright's/composer’s trying to get across to the audience?
  • What theatrical style(s) or element(s) might you use to get that theme across to the audience?
  • Why do you think this play or musical is relevant to your audience now?

The Directors Studio statement is more focused on what’s interesting about a particular play or musical; the Assistant Director statement should be focused on how you would use theatrical styles and/or elements to highlight what’s interesting onstage. We want to read your statement and be able to visualize in our minds what your production might look like. If you want to include visual research with your directorial statement (either as additional page[s] in your PDF document or by including a link to a Pinterest board), please feel free!

SOME NOTES ABOUT VIDEO FOOTAGE

If you’re applying for an Assistant Director position, we highly recommend submitting video footage of a scene that you’ve directed. This does not need to be from a fully-staged production. This can be as simple as getting some friends together in a classroom and shooting a scene on your iPhone. We just want to get a better idea of how you interpret text, how you coach actors, and how you block movement in a space. If you have any questions about filming scene-work, please feel free to email us for more guidance or suggestions.

Once you've written your directorial concept (or Directors Studio statement), CLICK HERE to apply to NTSA!

Posted on Nov 29, 2017 in Auditions  

Share this post

Back to Posts