What makes up a successful creative collaboration in the theater? The 2019 Lab drew on our directors’ personal experiences: the rehearsals they have led themselves, the rehearsals they have observed and ones from the past they had read about, to explore many models of collaboration.
After 25 years, in 2022, LCT temporarily closed the Directors Lab. Impossible to maintain during a pandemic, the theater will nonetheless continue its work with new artists. A description of the Lab follows:
The LCT Directors Lab is a developmental program for nurturing stage directors from around the country and around the world. Approximately 70 directors participate each year, and the Lab began in 1995. Over 1500 directors, together with an equal number of actor, playwright, and designer collaborators who have worked in the Lab each year, have taken their wider knowledge and new relationships out into the world to make the theater of the future. The LCT Lab, an intensive six day a week, ten hours a day, three-week program of workshops, shared sessions, rehearsals, investigations, theater going and discussions with accomplished and well-known artists provide the Lab directors with an intensive investigation of their craft while fostering collaborative relationships among a peer community of artists.
The Directors Lab is geared toward professional directors in early career stages, and it is free of charge. Not open to students or those planning to return to school, it is designed for emerging directors who are working professionals who have finished their studies. And studies are not required – many Lab directors are working directors who have never gone to college or graduate school. The Lab also includes directors working in a wide variety of ways: from new play directors, to Broadway AD’s, to directors in experimental theater, classics from world traditions, in church drama ministries, in opera, in devised work, in theme parks and cruise ships, in theaters newly founded in small communities across the world. All are welcome, and all have artistry and role models to share.
The contents of each Lab, outlined below year by year, are suggested by the Lab directors. The Lab is not a teaching initiative: in fact, a core principle of the Lab is that in the history of theater, the important work that has come down to us has been made by artists early in their careers. Lab members are admitted without letters of recommendation, but are accepted based on the stories and the ideas written in their applications, and we accept each Lab based solely on criteria of artistic excellence, in whatever the model or genre.
The LCT Directors Lab has been nominated twice for a Tony Award, and after 25 years, with the inclusion of our sister Lab offshoots around the world, it is the largest, most diverse theater initiative in terms of geography, artistic tradition and ethnicity in the American theater. The chief goal of the Lab is to act as an agent for change in the world.
The Skirball Foundation
The Irene Diamond Fund
Christopher Lightfoot Walker Literary Fund at LCT
Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art
Howard Gilman Foundation
The Greenwall Foundation
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
New York State Council on the Arts
Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater
Charles E. Culpepper/Rockefeller Brothers Fund
The Rockefeller Foundation
John A. Sellon Charitable Residual Trust
Trust for Mutual Understanding
In the 2018 Lab we were interested in making it possible for directors to try something they haven’t yet done, with the support, expertise and encouragement of others who might know something about what they dream of trying to do.
This summer of 2017 was a Lab for people who wanted to change, to think in new ways and to figure a lot of things out.
Members of the 2016 Lab submitted a new play by a playwright they admired.
Why we love them, how to direct them?
The 2014 Lab broke the directors into smaller groups and invited them to explore in depth a dozen ways of approaching the questions and challenges of finding the rights audiences now and in the future.
A play goes from the page to the stage
This year, the Lab explored the comic play - how does comedy work?
The Lab focused on slowly exploring Strindberg's A DREAM PLAY with Directors, Actors and Designers.
We explored a variety of plays to find their moments of transcendence and their roots in ritual.
What is your innate theatrical identity?
New and classical plays were explored in week-long rehearsals and rehearsal techniques were shared.
A look at play development: rehearsal work, collaborations with actors & playwrights organizations.
Looking to the past, the Lab explores how artists have banded together to create something new.
How do directors and playwrights find each other today? Work together? What needs to change?
Revisiting previous Lab topics, including Greek and symbolist drama, adaptations and devised work.
Fifty emerging directors explore political theater through readings and discussions.
The largest Lab to date involved 200 participants working on productions of 16 plays.
How do acting, design and playwriting define a theatrical style? What is our style today?
Over three weeks, directors, actors, designers and dramaturgs explore A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
The Lab produces twenty-nine works at venues from SoHo to Harlem.
15 teams of directors, writers, actors and designers explore new works; Lassalle directs Molière.
Investigating solo performance, new musical theater, and plays written for specific communities.
The Lab presented as many plays as possible in readings, rehearsals and productions.
Seminars, symposia, discussions and active work on daily projects with leading theater artists.