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Leicester’s Curve theatre today announces that Julia Thomas will be taking up a paid, 18-month residency at the theatre as part of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) 2016 – 2017. She is one of three directors to have been awarded a residency nationwide, alongside Lekan Lawal who will be based at Derby Theatre, and Ben Occhipinti who takes up residence at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre.
Funded by Arts Council England, this residency provides the opportunity for the directors to mount their own production as part of each theatre’s programme – the productions are yet to be announced. In addition, the residency will allow the directors to develop their understanding of the artistic and operational workings of a theatre as potential artistic directors and to assist on its productions.
Curve’s Artistic Director, Nikolai Foster, an RTYDS alumni himself commented:
”We are thrilled to support Julia Thomas under the auspices of the Regional Young Theatre Director Scheme. I owe my career to the apprenticeship and feel proud that Curve will welcome a trainee during my first year as Artistic Director. The RTYDS recognises the need for true diversity across the arts and the importance of nurturing theatre-makers from all backgrounds, ensuring British theatre better reflects the world we live in: These are values we celebrate at Curve and we couldn’t be happier to welcome Julia to Leicester, to live and work in our great city.”
Julia Thomas is from Llanelli and was resident director at the National Theatre Studio in partnership with National Theatre Wales earlier this year. For National Theatre Wales Julia has been Emerging Director on A Provincial Life and Assistant Director on Iliad. Julia has directed at various Welsh theatres including Blue/Orange at Sherman Theatre and Fun Palaces at Wales Millennium Centre.
Established in 1960, the RTYDS, a Young Vic Associate Company, is the UK’s longest running and most influential training scheme for emerging directors. RTYDS brings together emerging directors with the UK’s leading regional theatre companies and is particularly focused on directors who live outside London and are from communities presently under-represented in theatre.
The scheme, which was re-designed last year with support from Arts Council England, is now offering many more opportunities to directors at the early stages of their theatre careers. It has just attracted a grant of £114,500 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation over two years towards the development of a national programme of regional theatre and director development which is designed to bring a richer range of life experiences, cultural traditions and different voices into regional theatres and the theatre industry in general.