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Project information

The JMK Regional Programme

To deliver free workshops, training, bursaries and networking opportunities to theatre directors around the UK, enabling people to engage with theatre directing where there are limited opportunities or where their location or financial situation prevents them from accessing training and support.

April 2019 - March 2020

Charity information: The JMK Trust

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  • Need


    There is currently a bias towards London for opportunities within the theatre sector. Most theatre director training courses are in London and the fees are considerable. This is a barrier to potential theatre directors, who do not live in the capital and cannot afford to relocate, being able to access further training and to develop their careers. Also those already working in the industry often cannot afford to take the time to engage in further training and career development opportunities.


    Our project will provide free training, bursaries and networking opportunities to young and emerging directors around the country. These will be delivered to the directors' groups that we have set up in partnership with 11 regional theatres. Through one-to-one mentoring and the networks that the JMK Trust has established over the last 20 years we are also able to link these directors to work and further development opportunities, helping a diverse group of directors to develop their careers.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To deliver the JMK regional programme between April 2019 and March 2020


    » We will work with our regional theatre partners to devise a programme of workshops and other activities, tailored to the needs of each group.
    » We will offer a regional assistant director bursary for each group enabling the recipient to gain practical experience by assisting on a production.
    » One-to-one mentoring for participants to help to link them up with relevant opportunities and help the venues to get to know their local directors.

    What success will look like

    We will have delivered activities for each of our 11 regional groups working with at least 500 theatre directors, from all walks of life, during this period.

  • Impact


    This project will:
    Intensively develop participants' career skills, confidence and contacts;
    Enable more regional directors to take part in our annual JMK Young Director Award;
    Connect more regional directors to key opportunities within the industry;
    Forge stronger long-term relationships between our partner venues and their local directors, leading to further collaboration.
    We track all participating directors through our database and so will be able to record and demonstrate these changes.


    The main risk that could affect this project is not raising the rest of the money needed for it to go ahead. We are dealing with this by focusing on fundraising in the coming year, spending more staff time on this and trying to diversify our sources of funding. We are also working with our partner venues to identify local funders who are able to support this work. This has already proved successful with funding from the Sir James Knott Trust who have supported our work at Northern Stage.


    Donors will receive two email updates about the programme and the work we have been doing during this period, one in September 2019 and one in January 2020. This will give details of the workshops and other activities we have run and will include feedback from participants and our partner venues.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £49,925

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      Amount Heading Description
      £13,650 Fees Fees for coordination of programme and delivering workshops
      £12,775 Running costs Expenses and admin costs related to workshops/activities (4 per group) and bursaries
      £23,500 Bursaries Regional assistant director bursaries - one per group

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    The Leverhulme Trust £10,575 Conditional
  • Background


    We have set up groups for theatre directors at regional theatres in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Reading, Salisbury and Southampton. These are open to anyone interested in working as a theatre director and are free to join and therefore have attracted a broad range of participants. We work closely with our partner venues to target under represented groups and attract those who would not otherwise be able to participate in the industry.


    The people in our current directors’ groups are from a broad range of backgrounds and circumstance including those who have not been able to attend university, who cannot afford further training, who are returning to the profession after having a family, who come from BAME backgrounds, whose first language is not English or who have disabilities. Participants are over 18 but there is no age upper age limit. We will continue to work with our partners to recruit a diverse range of participants.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The JMK Trust exists to find and support talented theatre directors. We believe theatre directing in the UK should be open to all, and that diverse potential leaders should be identified and supported, irrespective of their background. We have been delivering our regional programme since 2009 and in that time have built strong relationships with our partner venues and other organisations, awarded 45 regional assistant director bursaries and created a network of 1113 directors around the country.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jo Holding

    Jo has been General Manager of the JMK Trust for 7 and a half years. She has over 20 year’s experience in arts management.

    Mark Rosenblatt

    Mark is a freelance theatre director and Vice Chair of the JMK Trust. He has been instrumental in setting up this work and steering its development.

The other thing that has been really beneficial for me as someone from a working-class background is having these residencies available for free and taking place at my local regional theatre, as so many similar programmes are either London based or financially inaccessible to me.

Alex Whiteley, JMK & Birmingham Rep directors' group participant