National Directors Fellowship Selections Announced

By: May. 18, 2017

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, National New Play Network, The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation jointly announce the selection of five directors from a nationwide pool of applicants for the 2017 National Directors Fellowship: Sherri Eden Barber
Estefanía Fadul, Kareem Fahmy, Leora Morris, LA Williams .

Says Wendy C. Goldberg, NDF Program Director, "I am excited to introduce these five directors as recipients of the National Directors Fellowship. It was an incredibly competitive process, and it is a reminder of the profound need for a program such as this one. There is nothing quite like this program for directors who are focusing on new work, and I'm honored to be working with these artists."

In addition to Goldberg, the selection committee included: Nan Barnett (Executive Director, National New Play Network), Bradley King (Lighting Designer), Portia Krieger (Freelance Director and National Directors Fellow 2016-2017), Deborah Zoe Laufer (playwright), Jack Reuler (Artistic Director, Mixed Blood Theatre, NNPN Core Member Theater), David Roberts (Director, SDC Foundation), and Chay Yew (Artistic Director, Victory Gardens Theater).

Fellowships begin at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in July 2017, with workshops and professional development opportunities throughout the year, culminating with a professional directing post within the wide-ranging network of National New Play Network Member Theaters.

2017 NDF finalists are: Sash Bischoff, Jennifer Chang, Erin Gilley, Matt Hawkins, Flordelino Langundino, Doug Oliphant, Dina Vovsi, and Beth Wood

Sherri Eden Barber is a New York based theater director and Artistic Director of Ricochet Collective. Recent: Happily After Ever (Ricochet Collective - 59E59, Edinburgh Fringe), Gordy Crashes (Ricochet Collective), Mr. Landing Takes A Fall (The Flea), Esperanza Spalding's Emily's D+Evolution (Development on European Tour), Herman Kline's Midlife Crisis (The Beckett), Monstrosity (The New School for Drama), The Lightning Thief (Theatreworks USA), 24 Hour Plays on Broadway (American Airlines Theatre), Latrell: Live Tonight! (Joe's Pub), Dance Lessons (winner of the Samuel French Short Play Festival). She has developed new work with Rattlestick, Orchard Project, The Flea, Culture Project, Chautauqua, and Old Vic. Selected Associate and Assistant directing credits include: SWEAT (Broadway, Studio 54), Tiny Beautiful Things (The Public Theater), Daphne's Dive (Signature Theatre), Faust: The Concert with Randy Newman (Encores! New York City Center), Family Furniture (The Flea), The Village Bike and Side Effects (MCC), These Girls (Glamour Magazine). Sherri is the Program Director at The Drama League, the Core Company Director for The Orchard Project, a Drama League Directing Fellow and recipient of the US/UK Exchange Award. MFA: New School for Drama.

Estefanía Fadul is a Colombian-born, New Hampshire-raised, NYC-based director and producer. Recent work includes the Spanish-language musical Óye Oyá by Rebecca Martínez and Rodolfo Ortega (Milagro Theatre, world premiere), The House of the Spirits by Caridad Svich (SUNY Purchase), Cell by Cassandra Medley (Drama League DirectorFest), El Laurel de Apolo by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and asi van los fantasmas de méxico by Matthew Paul Olmos (both at Repertorio Español). She was the founding Artistic Director of Pleiades Productions for which she directed Well by Lisa Kron, and has also developed new plays and musicals at The Drama League, Everyday Inferno, Barton Booth, Columbia University, NYU, Fresh Ground Pepper, and Rising Circle Theater Collective, among others. Estefanía's upcoming projects include collaborations with writers Raquel Almazan, Augusto Federico Amador, ElisaBeth Frankel, and Krista Knight, as well as developing the musicAl Rokera with Tatiana Suarez-Pico. As an assistant director, she has worked with Rachel Chavkin, Jo Bonney, Ed Iskandar, Michael Barakiva, Elise Thoron, Sheryl Kaller, TraCy Young, and Brendon Fox at companies including The Public Theater, Classic Stage Company, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She was also the assistant producer for Soho Rep.'s first all-ages, site-specific show, Washeteria. Estefanía is the 2017 Foeller Fellow at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and is an alumna of the Drama League Directors Project and the Repertorio Español Van Lier Fellowship. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab, the Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee, and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. She has a B.A. in Drama and French from Vassar College.

Kareem Fahmy is a Canadian-born director of Egyptian descent who focuses on new play development. He has directed and co-conceived a number of world premiere productions including Sevan K. Greene's This Time (Sheen Center, New York Times Critics' Pick), Victor Lesniewski's Couriers and Contrabands (TBG Theatre), Nikkole Salter's Indian Head (Luna Stage), and James Scruggs's 3/Fifths (3LD, New York Times Top 5 Must-See Shows). Kareem's work as a playwright has been developed and produced at Noor Theatre, Rising Circle Theater Collective, The Lark, and Fault Line Theatre. Kareem is currently a Resident Director at The Flea Theater, a member of The Civilians R&D Group, and was a 2015 Director-in-Residence at The New Museum. He's developed plays with organizations including New York Theatre Workshop, MCC, Second Stage, Soho Rep, New Dramatists, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Sundance Institute Theatre, Partial Comfort Productions, Fresh Ground Pepper, Ma-Yi, Silk Road Rising, and Berkeley Rep. He is an alumnus of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, the Van Lier Directing Fellowship, and NTYW's Emerging Artist Fellowship. Kareem is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect.

He holds an MFA in Theatre Directing from Columbia University. Leora Morris is a director and creator that currently splits her time between Toronto (her hometown) and Atlanta, Georgia, where she is the Yale Directing Fellow at the ALLIANCE THEATRE. She recently received her MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama, where she was co-artistic director of Yale Cabaret in its 48th season. Leora is passionate about text-based plays and interdisciplinary works that intersect theater with dance, music, visual art. She has collaborated on projects across Canada and the USA, including at the Banff Playwrights' Colony, Tarragon Theatre, Dancemakers, Nightswimming, Harbourfront, Birdtown and Swanville, Paradigm Productions, NYU, and ALLIANCE THEATRE. For Small Wooden Shoe, Leora curated the series Reading Difficult Plays and Singing Simple Songs. Select productions include: Orphans (Coal Mine Theatre), He Left Quietly (2014 SummerWorks Best Production), Women Beware Women, The Troublesome Reign of King John, Brendan Pelsue's Riverbank: A Noh Play for Northerly Americans, Lindsey Ferrentino's Amy and the Orphans (Yale School of Drama); The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Yale Cabaret); and love holds a lamp in this Little Room, (Yale Summer Cabaret). She is a winner of Toronto's 2012 Ken MacDougall Award for Emerging Directors and a co-recipient of Yale's Julian Milton Kaufman Prize for Directing. Upcoming: World Premiere of The Dancing Granny (ALLIANCE THEATRE, June 2017); Crossing Delancey (ALLIANCE THEATRE, October 2017).

LA Williams is a New York-based director focused primarily on new work. He is currently a 2016-17 Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow where he developed and directed Richard in 9 Poses by Sarah DeLappe. His interest is in plays that have a clear structure, sociopolitical context, and an inherent theatricality. He has developed new work at Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, New Dramatists, Dramatists Guild of America, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, National Black Theatre, The Kennedy Center/ALLIANCE THEATRE, New York International Fringe Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, Firebone Theater, Quicksilver Theatre Company, Horse Trade Theater Group, and Crowded Outlet. Assistant Director credits include Lincoln Center Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company, LCT3, Second Stage, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Signature Theatre Company, LAByrinth Theatre Company, and Sundance Institute Theatre Lab. He also has a passion for championing new voices in theater.

He is the founding Artistic Director of the Black Directors Studio, a new play reading series for emerging Black directors. In 2012, he created and executive produced Celebrate! with LA Williams: a multimedia docu-series that celebrates early career theater artists. LA currently serves on the ENCORES! Off-Center Artist Board at New York City Center and is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. He is an Associate Member of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Foundation and was the Kenny Leon Directing Fellow in 2009. Education: M.A. Emerson College, B.A. Alabama State University.

The Fellowship includes 18 months of practical, hands-on training, mentorship, and - most importantly - concludes with a professional directing opportunity. It connects directors to a vast network of playwrights and theaters, expands access to professional support services, and provides laboratory-like settings for observation and experimentation, equipping tomorrow's stage directors with the skills, knowledge, and network to advance new play development and production around the country. Under the leadership of National Playwrights Conference Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg, Fellows begin in July of each year, observing and participating in the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Fellows then travel to the MFA Playwrights' Workshop and Directing Intensive in August, led by NNPN and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and the NNPN National Showcase of New Plays in December. In January, they reconvene for an intense two-week Directing Symposium at the O'Neill, and the fellowship concludes with a professional directing opportunity at an NNPN Core Member theater. Funding for the National Directors Fellowship provided by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Founded in 1964, the O'Neill is the country's preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater, and named in honor of Eugene O'Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America's only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The O'Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and thousands more emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O'Neill have gone on to full production at theaters around the world. O'Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute - which offers six credit-earning undergraduate training programs. In addition, the O'Neill owns and operates Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. The O'Neill is the recipient of two Tony Awards and National Medal of Arts.

National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country's alliance of non-profit professional theaters dedicated to the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has supported more than 200 productions nationwide through its innovative National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere program, which provides playwright and production support for new works at its Member theaters. Additional programs - its annual National Conference, National Showcase of New Plays, and MFA Playwrights Workshop; the NNPN Annual and Smith Prize commissions; its residencies for playwrights, producers and directors; and the organization's member accessed Collaboration, Festival, and Travel banks and online information sessions - have helped cement the Network's position as a vital force in the new play landscape. NNPN also strives to pioneer, implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new plays and playwrights. Its most recent project, the New Play Exchange, is changing the way playwrights share their work and others discover it by providing immediate access to information on over 12,500 new plays by living writers. NNPN's 30 Core and more than 75 Associate Members - along with the more than 150 affiliated artists who are its alumni, the thousands of artists and artisans employed annually by its member theaters, and the hundreds of thousands of audience members who see its supported works each year - are creating the new American theater.