national directors fellowship

Wendy C. Goldberg, Director

A joint initiative, NDF fast-tracks the professional experience of emerging stage directors and propels the advancement of new plays.


The 2020 O'Neill Summer Season, including the National Directors Fellowship will be held online. Learn more here


The program is 18 months of hands-on, practical experience. It connects early-career directors to a vast network of new writers, expands access to professional support services, and provides laboratory-like environments 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.

key fellowship dates

July 2020 - December 2021

  • July 2020: Orientation Week; National Playwrights Conference & Workshops
  • Late July - Early August 2020: Attend Kennedy Center and NNPN MFA Workshop; Meetings with the Kennedy Center, NNPN, and D.C. theaters
  • December 2020: Attend NNPN National Showcase of New Plays
  • January 2021: O’Neill Winter Symposium (10-12 days TBD)
  • July - December 2021: NNPN Member Theater Directing - Professional Hire (dates vary)


Applications for the 2020 Fellowship will open February 3 and close February 9. Email for additional information.

Funding for the National Directors Fellowship provided by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Key funding provided by: The Shubert FoundationThomas Kail, and Jerry Meyer

Additional funding by: Jujamcyn Theaters, Daryl Roth, and Wayne Zink & Christopher Schout.

And support from: David Auburn, Jennifer Melin Miller & David Miller, Paradigm Talent Agency, Frank & Cynthia Goldberg, Jeffrey Meanza, and Molly Smith

2020 Fellows

Adam M. Kassim

Adam M. Kassim (he/him/his) is a theatre director, educator, and arts leader. He has a love for new play development and a passion for exploring stories that bravely investigate the messiness of the human condition. Directing credits include: The Honey Trap and Dead House (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); And Baby Makes Seven (Lincoln Square Theatre); Agamemnon, Mrs. Packard, In the Heart of America, Ghosts, and The Europeans (Boston University School of Theatre). Adam has served as an assistant director at New Repertory Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage, and the Opera Institute at BU. Most recently, Adam had the privilege of collaborating with Kirsten Greenidge on the continued development of her play, Little Row Boat; Or, Conjecture. Upcoming projects: Doubt (New Repertory Theatre, Spring 2021). MFA: Boston University. SDC Associate.

Kholoud Sawaf

Kholoud Sawaf was born and raised in Damascus, Syria. She has worked and trained in theatre and television in Syria, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and the United States. Recent credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, T.Y.A), Vietgone, and 10,000 Balconies (TheatreSquared). '10,000 Balconies' was conceived, written and directed by Ms. Sawaf having received a $250,000 grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. A recipient of the 'Classical Directing Fellowship' from the Drama League in New York, she collaborated with Tina Packer at Shakespeare & Company on Cymbeline.

At the Manhattan Theatre Club (as a Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow) and at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (as part of the FAIR Program), she was the assistant director of Vietgone both under the direction of May Adrales. Currently, she is co-devising and co-directing 'Curbside Theatre' in collaboration with ARKANSASTAGED ensemble, while also collaborating with playwright Joe Claroco and actor/educator Mohamad Al Rifaie on a new work Rafiq (Onley Theatre Center). Kholoud is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), and a member and at the Nhna Cultural Club in Damascus, Syria,(providing artistic, educational, and cultural exchange between Syrian artists). Ms. Sawaf holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Arkansas and a B.A in Mass Communication from The American University of Sharjah. 

Blayze Teicher

Blayze Teicher directs Queer, magical, and political stories for theatre and film. Select: The Diplomats by Nelson Diaz-Marcano (winner: Best Direction, 2017 Fresh Fruit Festival), The Virtuous Fall… by Gina Femia (The Flea), Moses by Grace Connolly (HERE), The Lonely by Andrew Rincón (reading, Amios), and Trainspotting Live (Resident Director, Off-Broadway). Blayze has developed new work at Musical Theatre Factory, Jewish Plays Project, Pride Plays, New Light Theater Project, among others, and has assisted Schele Williams (ASCAP), Portia Krieger (NYMF, 2ST Uptown), and Sarna Lapine. Her filmmaking has screened at Frameline International, Tribeca, Out on Film, NYTVF, and was nominated for Best Direction at FirstGlance Film Festival for 'Interested In.' 2018-2019 Artistic Associate/Resident Director, The Parsnip Ship. 2020 Drama League Semi-Finalist. 2020-21 National Directors Fellowship at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center/NNPN. Ring of Keys Member. SDC Associate. B.A. Theatre/Creative Writing, Florida State University.

Sharifa Yasmin

Sharifa Yasmin is a trans Egyptian-American director originally from South Carolina. She has completed directing fellowships with The Drama League, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Manhattan Theatre Club, Geva Theatre, Pure Theatre, and Hypokrit Theatre. Directing Credits include The War Boys by Naomi Wallace, 3:59AM by Marco Ramirez, In The Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks, For Colored Girls by Ntozake Shange, Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist by Carolyn Gage, and an LGBTQ+ celebration of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. She has assisted directors including Pirronne Yousefzadeh, Steve H. Broadnax III, Saheem Ali, Mark Brokaw, Arpita Mukherjee and Meredith Mcdonough. Yasmin graduated cum laude from Winthrop University with a B.A. in theatre performance and a minor in sociology. She uses these two areas of study to produce pieces of theatre that are not only powerful, but focus on socio economic issues and marginalized communities.

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2019 Fellows

Maria Patrice Amon

Maria Patrice Amon is a southern California based director, dramaturg, producer, and scholar. Directing: Fade (Moxie Theatre), The Madres (Moxie Theatre) Lydia (Brown Bag Theatre Company). Assistant Directing: Sweat (San Diego Rep), Cardboard Piano (Diversionary Theatre), Roz and Ray (San Diego Rep). Dramaturg: Manifest Destinitis (San Diego Rep), Beachtown (San Diego Rep). Patrice is Latinx Producer in Residence at San Diego Repertory Theatre. JD: California Western School of Law. PhD: UC Irvine.

Will Detlefsen

Will Detlefsen is a Bay Area-born New York-based freelance director and co-artistic director of a queer theater company called The Q Collective. Select directing credits include: The Funfair by Simon Stephens (Cal Rep) Machinalia by Steph Del Rosso (JACK & Ubuntu Theatre Project), Larvae by Kelsey Torstveit (Alchemical), Blasted by Sarah Kane (Duo Theatre), Strange Men by Will Snider, Go. Please. Go. by Emily Feldman, Lear by Young Jean Lee, and Vieux Carré by Tennessee Williams (UC San Diego). In December, Will is directing the world premiere of The Straights by T. Adamson at JACK's new space. Assisting credits include: Trip Cullman, Chay Yew, Tyne Rafaeli, Tony Taccone, Des McAnuff, Alex Timbers and Rachel Chavkin. 2013 Drama League Fellow, 2017-2018 Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow, 2018-2019 Playwrights Horizons Directing Fellow. SDC Associate. BFA: NYU Tisch. MFA in Directing: UC San Diego.

Addie Gorlin

Addie Gorlin hails from Minneapolis and is a director, producer, and educator invested in the regional theater movement and theater for all-ages. Recent: Next to Normal (Brown University), Good Person of Szechwan, Eurydice, Twelfth Night, and Streetcar Named Desire (Brown/ Trinity Rep), Charm and According to Coyote (Mixed Blood Theatre), Laramie Project (Children’s Theatre Company T.A.T.), I and You (Phoenix Theater and Children’s Hospital of Minnesota), and Five Tries (Cutting Ball Theatre). Addie has developed new work at The Playwrights Center, The Lark, Mixed Blood, Hudson Stage Company, Riverside Theater, Ivoryton Playhouse and has served as assistant director at The Guthrie, The Public, Trinity Rep, and A.R.T. among others. Fellowships include Artistic Management and Directing at Cutting Ball Theater and the National New Play Network (NNPN) Producer-in-Residence at Mixed Blood. Addie holds a K-12 English and Drama teaching credential obtained via Teach for America. B.A. Dartmouth College. M.F.A. Brown University/ Trinity Rep 2019.

Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is a director and producer of theater and new media. Her work embraces limitation, values accidental discoveries, and is deeply collaborative. She uses humor, physicality, and unexpected choices in casting, staging, language and tone to create medium-specific, inclusive, shared experiences that aim at truth rather than at the effect of reality. Sarah has collaborated as a director on new plays, performance art pieces, devised works, and immersive shows with Eliza Bent, Julia May Jonas / Nellie Tinder, MJ Kaufman, McFeely Sam Goodman / Limited Liability Theater Company, Chana Porter, Deepali Gupta, Julia Izumi, Eli Nixon, Pablo Helguera, Corinne Donly, Cara Scarmack, Alaina Ferris, Superhero Clubhouse, and more. As a producer she’s developed new live performances with Sibyl Kempson, the Office for Creative Research, MoMA, and Half Straddle, and with Graham Sack, Geoff Sobelle and Sensorium she’s created Augmented & Virtual Reality experiences for Tribeca Film Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, The New York Times, and Penguin Random House. Sarah's directing work has been seen at Abrons Arts Center, BAM Next Wave, The Bushwick Starr, JACK, Japan Society, Caveat, LPAC’s Rough Draft Festival, Columbia University, Vox Theater, The Brick, The Tank, Prelude, and CATCH, among others. Sarah worked for many years with Elevator Repair Service, assistant directing Gatz, The Select, Arguendo, Shuffle, and Fondly, Collette Richland off-Broadway and on tour, and with Target Margin Theater as Co-Artistic Producer. She is the recently-appointed Director of Artistic Programming at Theatre Row and teaches at Dartmouth College and NYU. An alum of the Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship and The Civilians’ R&D Lab, Sarah has been awarded a New Georges Audrey Residency, a Drama League Directing Residency, a Target Margin Artist Residency, and is a member of the New Georges Jam and the 2018-2020 WP Theater Directors Lab.

Rebecca Wear

Previous credits include Samsara by Lauren Yee (Coeurage Theatre); If the Saints by Eric Conner Marlin (Metro Baptist); Obedient Steel by Chloe Brown (HERE arts); and I Run with You by Anna/Kate (Women’s Center Stage). She associate directed the world premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage) and assisted Kate Whoriskey, Lindsay Allbaugh, and Diane Rodriguez. Rebecca is a resident director with HERO Theatre, previous associate artist at The Orchard Project, and is pursuing a PhD through a Chancellor’s Fellowship at University of California, Santa Barbara.

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2018 Fellows

Arpita Mukherjee

Artistic Director of Congressional Award-winning Hypokrit Theatre Company. Monsoon Wedding The Musical (Book Writer); Eh Dah? Questions for My Father at New York Theatre Workshop (Director). READINGS: The Cow Swallowed its Tail at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (Director), The Art of Gaman by Dipika Guha (Director). Queen at Ma-Yi Theater Company (Director), Appeasing Radhika at Baruch College (Director), An Evening of Indian Classics at Theater for the New City (Director), Romeo and Juliet at the Access Theater (Director), My First Time – D.C. premiere (Director), How to Succeed as an Ethnically Ambiguous Actor  Off-Broadway (Co-Writer/Creative Producer). Awards: Best Book at New York Musical Festival, Nominated for Best Director at Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, Congressional Award for Diversity in the Arts - Hypokrit Theatre Company. Arpita will be part of the 2018 Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

Tatiana Pandiani

Tatiana Pandiani is an Argentine born, NYC-based director and choreographer. Selected: Field, Awakening (Ford Studio at Signature Theatre), Azul, Otra Vez (BRIC), Eurydice & The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Atlantic Stage 2), Le Negrophilie (Kampala Theater Festival, Uganda), Appropriate & Assassins (Princeton Summer Theatre), NANAS (IATI), La Lupe (SEA), NORA (Lanesboro Arts), 1989 (Connelly). Upcoming: International Tour of La Negrophilie by Zakiya Markland to the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Rwanda and the Frank Collymore Hall in Barbados. Tatiana is a Teaching Artist at the Atlantic Theatre Co., a NYTW 2050 Directing Fellow, and the Artistic Associate at Miami New Drama. MFA: Columbia.

Mei Ann Teo

An Asian American and Singaporean theatre/film maker who works at the intersection of artistic, civic, contemplative practice to shift culture towards justice and compassion. As a director, devisor, dramaturg she creates across genres, including music theater, intermedial participatory work, reimagining classics, and documentary theater. Profiled in American Theatre's "Workers to Watch"  Teo’s work has toured Belgium's Festival de Liege, Edinburgh Fringe, M1 Singapore Fringe, Beijing Int. Festival, & Shanghai Experimental Theatre Festival. Directed/developed new work at OSF, the Goodman, the Public, BRT (Ground Floor), and was the first Asian American to direct at the National Black Theatre. Hampshire College Asst. Professor of Directing & Dramaturgy. MFA in Theatre Directing from Columbia University.

Hannah Wolf

Los Angeles-based director, dramaturg, and creative producer originally from Juneau Alaska. She makes “subversively shiny” work for the stage and explores new ways of making work in the rehearsal room. Recent work includes: TITLE LOADING (Fusebox Festival), The Bigot by William Glick, Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spigel, ENRON by Lucy Prebble (UT Austin), & The Sky Game by Kimberly Belflower (Peppercorn Theatre). She’s directed/developed new plays with Perseverance Theatre, Superhero Clubhouse, The Civilians, Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant, Colt Coeur, & TerraNOVA Collective. She also curates the blog Ask A Director. SDC Associate, 2012 Lincoln Center Directors Lab, 2014/15 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab & 2013/14 Fulbright Fellow (Bucharest Romania) MFA: UT Austin.

Jenna Worsham

New York-based Stage Director & Activist, focused on new work & radically inclusive, re-imagined classics. 2017 Drama League & Boris Sagal Directing Fellow at Williamstown Theatre Festival, where she co-conceived/directed Blue Ridge. Broadway: The Parisian Woman (Assoc. Director); The Heidi Chronicles (Assoc. Director); Picnic (SDC Fellow). Credits: Agnes (59E59 Theaters/Lesser America); Wonder Boi  (NYMF); The First Immigrant (WTF); Belleville (Pasadena Playhouse); .  Founding Artistic Director, The Middle Voice Theater Company. Jonathan Alper Directing Fellowship (MTC) & two SDC Foundation Observerships. LILLY Awards Power Network, The Actors Studio Directors Unit, LCT  Directors Lab, the Williamstown Directing Corps, & Affiliated Artist of New Georges. Co-founder of Creative Solutions at SPACE on Ryder Farm for social justice/human rights advocates.

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2017 Fellows

Sherri Eden Barber

New York-based theater director & Ricochet Collective Artistic Director. Recent: Happily After Ever (59E59, Edinburgh Fringe), 24 Hour Plays on Broadway.  Developed new work with Rattlestick, The Flea, Culture Project, Chautauqua, and Old Vic. Associate/Assistant directing credits: SWEAT (Broadway), Tiny Beautiful Things (The Public), Daphne's Dive (Signature Theatre), Faust: The Concert with Randy Newman (Encores!), The Village Bike and Side Effects (MCC). Drama League Program Director,  The Orchard Project Core Company Director, Drama League Directing Fellow, & recipient of US/UK Exchange Award. MFA: New School for Drama.

Estefania Fadul

Colombian-born, NYC-based director. Recent: Óye Oyá (Milagro Theatre), The House of the Spirits (SUNY Purchase), Cell (DirectorFest). Artistic Director of Pleiades Productions. Developed new work with Repertorio Español, The Drama League, Everyday Inferno, Barton Booth, Columbia University, NYU, Fresh Ground Pepper. Assistant Director under Rachel Chavkin, Jo Bonney, Ed Iskandar, Michael Barakiva. Foeller Fellow at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Drama League Directors Project, Repertorio Español Van Lier Fellowship, Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab, Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee. B.A. in Drama/French, Vassar College.

Kareem Fahmy

Canadian-born new work director of Egyptian descent. Recent: This Time (Sheen Center), Couriers and Contrabands (TBG Theatre), Indian Head (Luna Stage), and 3/Fifths (3LD). Playwriting: Noor Theatre, Rising Circle Theater Collective, The Lark, Fault Line Theatre. Resident Director at The Flea, Director-in-Residence at The New Museum . Developed new works with NYTW, MCC, Second Stage, Soho Rep, New Dramatists, EST, Sundance Institute Theatre. Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Van Lier Directing Fellowship, NYTW Emerging Artist Fellowship, NYTW Usual Suspect. MFA: Theatre Directing from Columbia University.

Leora Morris

Toronto-born director and Yale Directing Fellow at the Alliance Theatre. Developed new work at Banff Playwrights’ Colony, Tarragon Theatre, Paradigm Productions, NYU, Alliance Theatre. Recent: Orphans (Coal Mine Theatre), He Left Quietly (SummerWorks), Women Beware Women, The Troublesome Reign of King John, 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); love holds a lamp in this little room, (Yale Summer Cabaret). Ken MacDougall Award, Julian Milton Kaufman Prize for Directing. MFA: Directing, Yale School of Drama

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2016 Fellows

Jessica Holt

San Francisco-born director. Recent: Ugly Lies the Bone (Alliance Theatre), Phil Kent Directing Fellow at the Alliance Theatre. Artistic Director of Bay One Acts Festival. Associate artist at the Magic Theatre. Recent: “Act Five” of The Lily’s Revenge (Magic Theatre), The Glass Menagerie (Boxcar Theater), Terroristka (Threshold Theater). Developed new work at Alliance Theatre, Theater Emory, Playwrights Foundation, Cutting Ball Theater, New Conservatory Theater Center, PianoFight, Playwrights Center of San Francisco, and the Yale School of Drama. Co-Artistic Director of the 2014 Yale Summer Cabaret. MFA: Directing from the Yale School of Drama.

Laley Lippard

Creative Producer of DC-based Playwrights' Collective The Welders and co-founder of the Chicago Home Theater Festival. She has developed new work with Magic Theatre, Alliance Theatre, American Theater Company, The Kennedy Center, Kitchen Dog, O'Neill Theater Center, American Conservatory Theater, and Arena Stage. Selected additional directing includes: These Mortal Hosts (Cleveland Play House), Grounded (Virginia Stage Company), Glass Menagerie (Steppenwolf Garage), The Effect (Dobama Theatre), Pure Shock Value (Killing My Lobster), Big Love (foolsFURY Theater). Laley is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and SDC Directing Observership Program, Associate Member of SDC. MFA: Directing from Northwestern University.

Jeff Liu

From Southern Illinois, Hong Kong, and Berkeley in that order. He adapted and directed the Pulitzer nominated play Yellow Face by Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang for the YOMYOMF Network on YouTube. Recent: Hell Hath Fury, Chinglish by David Henry Hwang, Solve For X, Murderobilia and Terminus Americana, The Golden Hour and Grace Kim and the Spiders From Mars (Lodestone Theatre Ensemble), The Chinese Massacre (Circle X), Christmas in Hanoi, and Ixnay, Wrinkles (East West Players) and Slice (Fremont Centre Theatre). He will soon be returning for a third year to direct at Sci-Fest, the Los Angeles Science Fiction One Act Play Festival.

Madeline Sayet

Resident Director at Amerinda Inc. and a PhD Candidate at The Shakespeare Institute. She is a 2016 TED Fellow, a recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award, Van Lier Directing Fellow, National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellow. Select directing includes: The Magic Flute(Glimmerglass), Macbeth (NYC Parks), Daughters of Leda (IRT/Culture Project), Sliver of a Full Moon (Joe's Pub/Capitol Building/United Nations/Yale Law), Powwow Highway (HERE), Miss Lead (59E59), The Tempest (Various). Upcoming: Poppea (University of Illinois-Urbana), Winter's Tale (HERE). She has her BFA in Theater and MA in Arts Politics & Post-Colonial Theory from NYU.