FutureNow Stage Directing Fellowships

The FutureNow Stage Directing Fellowship is the recently launched iteration of the prestigious Drama League Directing Fellowship, founded in 1989 as a collaboration between the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY and The Drama League in New York City, with the intention of providing emerging stage directors with meaningful experiences both as directors and artistic leaders. 2023 FutureNow Stage Directing Fellowships include a new and exciting collaborative partner in TheatreWorksUSA, a NYC-based organization that creates exceptional, transformative theatrical experiences that are accessible to young and family audiences in diverse communities throughout New York City and North America.

FutureNow Stage Directing Fellowships provide opportunities for early-career stage directors to practice their craft and explore directorial leadership. While in residence at the Hangar Theatre, the Fellows direct and produce a KIDDSTUFF Series Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) production, and a Wedge Series Project, which they pitch and conceive of themselves, in collaboration with Hangar artistic leadership. At TheaterWorksUSA, the Fellows remount a repertory production for TYA audiences that will tour nationally for the season. FutureNow Directing Fellowships offer production experience, career development, mentorship, and intimate access to the processes of major theatrical institutions.


Hangar FutureNow Performance Series

The Hangar’s summer KIDDSTUFF theatre for young audiences (TYA) series features plays and musicals selected especially for young audiences (usually ages 4-9). A selection of current popular titles and reimagined classics that reflect the diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints of today’s world, the Hangar values opportunities for intergenerational theatre-going experiences and is committed to producing work that encourages meaningful conversation while expressing the joy and magic of creation to our younger audiences. 2023 KIDDSTUFF productions will take place on the Hangar’s Outdoor Tompkins Trust Company Stage.

The Wedge series was established in 1983 by former Hangar Theatre Artistic Director Robert Moss to showcase timely, inventive productions produced entirely by members of the Hangar Theatre’s pre-professional training programs. In 2022, the Wedge series was reimagined as the FutureNow Festival. Titles are proposed and directed by FutureNow Directing Fellows, designed by Hangar Design Fellows, and cast with Hangar Lab Performance Fellows. 2023 festival productions will take place on the Hangar’s Outdoor Tompkins Trust Company Stage.


Hangar FutureNow Fellowship Dates

Dates reflect current planning for 2023, and may shift slightly as programming schedules are solidified.

Hangar Residency Dates: We request that FutureNow Fellows be available to be in residence full-time during their residency dates. While schedules allow for Fellows to engage with outside projects on their own time, it’s difficult to arrange rehearsal and production calendars around outside conflicts. The Hangar production calendar includes a Tuesday-Sunday rehearsal week, primarily in the day times, not to exceed a 38-hour AEA SPT 8 contract.

Pre-production Dates: Ideally, FutureNow Fellows will begin pre-production planning after recipients are selected in March 2023. We will be meeting remotely with fellows during the months leading up to the residency, to discuss Wedge projects, schedules, and design proposals for Wedge and KIDDSTUFF. Fellows will also be included on any Mainstage meetings that are relevant to their assigned projects.


Fellowship Assignments: 

  • Each FutureNow Fellow will direct a KIDDSTUFF production, selected by Hangar Theatre artistic staff and paired with a director based on the interests and experiences of each Fellow. KIDDSTUFF productions will be fully designed and produced, in collaboration with Hangar Design and Production Fellows.
  • FutureNow Fellows will pitch and direct a FutureNow Festival Project; proposals will be shared with Hangar Artistic staff before the 2023 summer residency begins. Wedge Projects will rehearse one evening/week during the first six weeks of the summer, and then transition into a daily rehearsal and tech schedule for the final two weeks of the residency. Wedge projects will focus primarily on the relationship between director and actor, and possibly playwright (if included in the proposal); design elements will be limited to the essential needs of the project.
  • FutureNow Fellows will receive an Assistant Directing position on a Hangar Mainstage production. These schedules will vary, and one track may be split two between Mainstage shows. 
  • FutureNow Fellows will attend meetings with Hangar Artistic and Administrative staff throughout the summer. They will participate in conversations about 2023 summer programming from an artistic, educational, and logistical perspective.
  • Some responsibilities related to the production and administration of KIDDSTUFF and FutureNow shows will be assigned to FutureNow Fellows. This may include assignments related to marketing, budgeting, community engagement, front of house coordination, and other producing elements.
  • FutureNow Fellows may lead workshops and/or professional development conversations with the Hangar Lab Company Performance Fellows, if schedules and interests permit.



  • FutureNow Fellows work closely with Design and Production Fellows while rehearsing and producing KIDDSTUFF and Wedge shows. 
  • Both series will be cast with Hangar Lab Company Performance Fellows (college-aged actors that apply and audition for the summer-long compensated fellowship program). 
  • Fellows will work with experienced professional directors and designers during their Assistant DIrecting assignment.
  • Collaborations with full-time and seasonal artistic, administrative, and production staff will be established during Fellows’ producing roles. 


Learning Objectives

  • Primary to the FutureNow experience is the opportunity to learn the craft of directing by actively doing it, with meaningful mentorship–a principle that was essential to the original collaboration between the Hangar and the Drama League. 
  • The summer residency at the Hangar provides two specific opportunities: the KIDDSTUFF show will focus on overall vision, collaborations with designers, working with actors to reach a specific audience, and developing the relationship between actors and audience. The Wedge is much more open: this can be an opportunity to explore devising, an adaptation you are passionate about, or even a new work with a playwright in conversation about the work.
  • The Assistant Directing assignment will provide an opportunity to experience the relationships in a rehearsal room, specifically on a full-scale musical. Witnessing and participating in these collaborations and conversations will help model best practices for communicating with designers, choreographers, musical directors, stage management, and performers.
  • Producing and administrative projects will provide learning opportunities specific to the leadership and programming of a mid-size nonprofit regional theatre company, and may include insights and experiences in the areas of marketing, development, budgeting, arts management, and production.
  • In addition, workshops and conversations relevant to current practices within the American theatre will be programmed before and during the summer, schedule-allowing. In the past, these have included discussions on identity conscious casting, TYA best practices, new play development, and devised theatre.


The Ithaca Area

Located in the Finger Lakes Region of central New York State, Ithaca has been named one of the best small towns and cities in the U.S. by The Guardian. Sitting on the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, Ithaca is home to over 100 waterfalls within 10 miles of downtown, more restaurants per capita than New York City, two major universities, and a thriving arts scene, of which the Hangar is proud to be a part of. As a Lab Company Performance Fellow, you’ll experience a Finger Lakes summer like no other, living, working, and creating in and around Ithaca, NY. Company members who opt for housing will be housed in fully furnished rooms on a college campus in Tompkins County. Work-related transportation and regular trips to malls and grocery stores are provided, but Fellows that are able to bring their own cars are encouraged to do so.


How to Apply

Applications are being accepted through the Drama League website through December 2021. Deadline for FutureNow Fellowship applications is December 31, 2021.