THE DRAMA LEAGUE Announces 2021-2022 Directing Fellowships & Residencies
Last Edit: Official_Press_Release 03:31 pm EDT 05/06/21
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 03:06 pm EDT 05/06/21


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New York, NY | May 6, 2021 – The Drama League (Artistic Director, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks; Executive Director, Bevin Ross) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021-2022 Drama League Directing Fellowship and Residencies, part of the umbrella of programs known as the Directors Project. Each recipient will receive financial and career development support, skill-honing workshops, and production opportunities at theaters across the country.

The 2021-2022 Drama League Fellows are:

NEW YORK DIRECTING FELLOWS: Ryan Dobrin (he/him), Reena Dutt (she/her), Keenan Tyler Oliphant (he/him)
HANGAR DIRECTING FELLOWS: Christian Ávila (he/him), Jasmine B. Gunter (she/her),
Cara Hinh (she/they), Nicholas Polonio (he/him)
PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTING FELLOW: Tatyana-Marie Carlo (ella/her)
CLASSICAL DIRECTING FELLOW: Lanise Antoine Shelley (she/her)

The 2021-2022 Drama League Directors in Residence are:
IMPACT RESIDENT DIRECTOR: Rachel Dickstein/Ripe Time(she/her)
NEXT STAGE RESIDENT DIRECTORS: Matt Dickson (he/him), Lyam B. Gabel (they/them), Arpita Mukherjee (she/her),
Danny Sharron (he/him)

These directors join the 2020 Drama League New York Directing Fellows Cristina Angeles, Signe V. Harriday, Cait Robinson, and Taylor Haven Holt, who are currently in production on The Drama League's annual festival, DirectorFest; along with Classical Fellow Emma Rosa Went, who directed a staged reading of John Lyly's Gallathea for The Drama League and Red Bull Theater in March. This year, the four new productions of DirectorFest -- which were fully produced and staged by Ms. Angeles, Ms. Harriday, Ms. Robinson and Ms. Holt without an audience at the A.R.T./NY Theaters in New York City -- will be broadcast worldwide as digitally-captured performances beginning June 7. Visit directorfest.org for tickets and more information.

"As theatre begins to open to live performances again, The Drama League is supporting and preparing directors as leaders in that effort," said Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks. "These directors, chosen from hundreds of applicants, are phenomenally talented artists. The productions they will create, and the stories they will tell, will reverberate loudly as some of the first theatrical work of the post-pandemic era. We are honored to amplify their voices and can't wait for everyone to experience their imaginations."

Since its founding in 1984, The Drama League's Directors Project has become the preeminent development program for early and mid-career theater directors. The 350+ alumni – including Rachel Chavkin, Lear deBessonet, Michael Mayer, Diane Paulus, Shakina Nayfack, Alex Timbers, Christopher Ashley, Chadwick Boseman, Pam MacKinnon, R.J. Cutler, Lila Neugebauer, and more – Drama League directors are working in all aspects of entertainment: Broadway, Off-Broadway, at 200 regional theaters across the country, and in film, media, music, dance, virtual reality, and television. Currently, alumni of the fellowship are artistic directors and associates at over 60 theater companies across America.

Drama League alumni have been honored with Tony, Emmy, Golden Globe, Obie, Peabody, Drama Desk, NAACP Image, GLAAD, New York Drama Critics Circle, New York Film Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle, Screen Actors Guild, Evening Standard, Lucille Lortel, Bessie, Princess Grace, Garland, Drama-Logue, Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Elliot Norton, and Joseph Jefferson Awards, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. They have shaped the future of the American theater, with the praise of critics and audiences alike.

2021-2022 COHORT BIOS:


RYAN DOBRIN (he/him/his) is a queer, biracial New York-based director and producer interested in the exploration of emotional growth, spectacle, otherness, human connection, and morality. He is one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of The Movement Theatre Company, a member of the Roundabout Directors Group, and the director of Those Guilty Creatures. Previous fellowships include Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Ars Nova. Recent directing includes collaborations with Atlantic Acting School, Experimental Theatre Wing, A4, Playdate Theatre, Ars Nova, and Waterwell. His phone-based experiential short film, The Homiesexuals: a social media tragedy written by Gage Tarlton, will be released in 2021. Ryan graduated from Wesleyan University, where he received the Rachel Henderson Theater Prize and the Outreach & Community Service Prize in Theater. For more: RyanDobrin.com.

REENA DUTT (she/her/hers) Los Angeles: The Sitayana (Or How to Make an Exit) (East West Players, May 2021), This is Not a True Story (Artists At Play, Los Angeles, TBA), Antigone, Presented by the Girls of St. Catherine's (Sacred Fools Theatre Company), Defenders (Pandelia's Yellow Canary Company), Rise & Shine: I thought I was white (Bad Hindu Productions), Katy and Jennifer (Kings and Desperate Men Productions | Fierce Backbone). Online Productions: Sitayana (East West Players, TBA 2021), If I Should Wake (Greenway Court Theatre, Los Angeles). Assistant Directing: Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (The Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles), The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona (Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles). Film/TV: "Too Many Bodies" (Director), "Good Trouble" (Shadow, Disney|Freeform). Awards/Honors: LA Times Critic's Pick 2020 Antigone, Presented by the Girls of St. Catherine's, Producer's Encore Award 2019 Katy and Jennifer and 2018 Waitless. Affiliations: Bridging the Collective Mentorship, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Directors Lab West. www.ReenaDutt.com

KEENAN TYLER OLIPHANT (he/him/his) Off-off Broadway/New York: Self-Combustion of a 30 Something Year Old Chet; or, Icarus Tries to Catch the Sun (New Ohio Producers Club); Being in Time (International Human Rights Art Festival); Round (Samuel French Off-off Broadway Festival); queen (Dixon Place). Regional/ International: In-between (South African National Arts Festival); Private Parts (South African National Arts Festival). Associate/Assistant Directing: We're Gonna Die (Second Stage); Moby Dick (A.R.). Educational Performance: baldwin[GIOVANNI]brando; Neptune; Romeo and Juliet; Three Sisters (Columbia University). Mixing Bowl Productions (Artistic Director). Awards/Honors: Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship 2020/2021; Unions: SDC; Education: MFA Directing for Theatre Columbia University 2020; BMus Honours Jazz Vocals, University of Cape Town; BA Drama and English Literature, University of Cape Town. KeenanTylerOliphant.com


CHRISTIAN ÁVILA (he/him/his) is a theater director, playwright, and activist based in New York City. Recent credits include?Dark Yes (with Richard Schechner), Electability (Theatre in Asylum), Masseur (Dream-Up Festival), ?Daddy's Boy (Theater for the New City), Debates (Theater in Asylum), and ?Chasing the Dream (Columbia University). Christian is a founding member of the Back to Work Collective, which created the "Feminist Flashmob" performed at the 2017 Women's March on Washington D.C. Other credits include:?Big Love, Alice,?Falling in Line (PTC); Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, On Stage in ?20 Questions, and ?Last Unicorn (TDPS, Berkeley); and on-screen as Host and Co-Creator of "Club TV" in San Francisco. He holds an M.A. in Theater from LIU Post and an undergraduate degree in Dramatic Art from UC Berkeley. He has trained under the tutelage of Stan Lai, Anne Bogart, SITI Company, and Richard Schechner.

JASMINE B. GUNTER (she/her/hers) is the 2019-20 artistic apprentice at Hartford Stage. She is also a proud associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers. Jasmine has spent the past years as a freelance director/assistant director for several regional theaters in the nation. Some of her directing credits include Intimate Apparel (SUNY Brockport), Lines in the Dust (Geva Theatre Center), Reroute (24 Hour Plays: Nationals). Assistant directing: Nina Simone: Four Women (Arena Stage), In the Heights (Seattle Rep), Quixote Nuevo (Hartford Stage/Huntington Theatre Company), and The Luckiest People (Actors Theatre of Charlotte/NNPN). As well as being a freelance director, Jasmine has a wealth of experience as a teaching artist. She taught for the Berkshire Theatre Group and the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse NY.

CARA HINH (she/they) Broadway: "Hadestown" (SDC Observer), Off Broadway: "Tornkid" (The Tank, NYC); Regional: "The Sensational" (Actors Theatre, Louisville), "Where the LoveLight Gleams" (New Work Festival, UCLA School of Theatre), "TornKid" (Cohesion Theatre, Baltimore),"Count Me In" (Luna Stage, New Jersey), "Sa'idah" (Cincy Fringe Festival, Cincinnati). Assistant Directing: "FLEX," "Are You There?," "Once on This Island," "Christmas Carol" and "Hype Man" (Actors Theatre, Louisville), "King of the Yees" (Baltimore Center Stage), "Vietgone" (Studio Theatre, DC), "Cat in the Hat" (Adventure Theatre, DC), "Disgraced" (Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati). Roundabout Directing Group Cohort Member 20-21, SDC Associate Member. CaraHinh.com

NICHOLAS POLONIO (he/him/his) is a Filipino-sourced, American-born, Chinese-bred theater director based in Brooklyn, NY. He has adapted and directed works including Late Fame: A History Play, A Phoenix Too Frequent, We are Wombats!, and The 100 Most Beautiful Names of Todd. As an Assistant Director, he has worked on and off-Broadway, regionally, and internationally for directors including Robert O'Hara, Tatiana Mallarino, and Bill Buckhurst. Nicholas is an alum of the Williamstown Theatre Festival Directing Corps, the Young Vic Genesis Directors Program, and the Conservatory at Shakespeare's Globe. He was a 2016 National YoungArts Finalist in Spoken Theater, and received his BFA in Acting from Rutgers Mason-Gross School of the Arts. www.NicholasPolonio.com


SIVAN BATTAT (she/they) is an Iraqi-Jewish theatre director & community organizer. Sivan's work is across genres - in the theatre, community, ritual celebration, and beyond. They create work that leans into multiplicity and resists cultural erasure, exploring displacement across immigrant experiences, asking questions about nostalgia and home. Recent projects include: Layalina (National Queer Theater), The Night Traveller (Cutting Ball Theater), Coexistence My Ass (Harvard University/Tour), Baba Karam, McArabia (Atlantic Middle Eastern Mixfest), East o', West o'! (ANTFest, Ars Nova). Fellowships/Residencies: Roundabout Theatre Company (Directing Fellow), NYTW (Adelphi Residency), 14th Street Y (LABA Fellowship), Studio Theatre (Artistic Apprentice). SivanBattat.com.


TATYANA-MARIE CARLO (ella/her/hers) Regional/Other: Fade, Tanta Bulla...¿Y pa que?, and La Tempestad (Trinity Rep, Rhode Island); References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot and She Kills Monsters (Pell Chafee Performance Center, Rhode Island); Real Women Have Curves and Clybourne Park (Mainstreet Players, Miami). Assistant Director: A Seat at the Table (Rites and Reason Theater), Song of Summer (Trinity Rep), Orlando and Soft (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Massachusetts). Awards/Honors: 2020 MFA Directing Candidate (Brown University), 2021 Drama League Directing Fellow, 2019 Matt Harris Directing Fellow (Williamstown Theatre Festival). SDC. www.TatyanaMarieCarlo.com


LANISE ANTOINE SHELLEY (she/her/hers) is the Artistic Director of The House Theatre of Chicago. She is a Haitian actress, director, playwright and podcast host. Selected directing credits include: Just Cause (Defamation Experience), Pretended (written & directed for Paramount Theatre's Inception Project), Blue Manakin (Rising Sun Performance Company), Rastas & Hattie, Black & Blue, Muthaland (16th St Theatre) Identity Lab (Lookingglass Theatre), The Tenant (Akvavit Theatre), RefuSHE Project (Voices & Faces Project), Rumors (DePaul University). Associate Director: the world premiere of Plantation (Lookingglass Theatre, dir. David Schwimmer), Nell Gwynn (Chicago Shakespeare), The First Deep Breath (Victory Gardens Theatre) and The Snow Queen (American Repertory Theater), as well as staged readings at Stratford Shakespeare Festival. She holds a BFA in directing, acting, and playwriting from Cornish College of the Arts, an MFA from ART/MXAT at Harvard University, certificate in Classical Theatre from BADA in Oxford, England, and Birmingham Conservatory. She was Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Chicago Fellow 2016 and Victory Gardens Theatre's Directing Fellow 2019. Presently Lanise is the host of the podcast "When They Were Young: Amplifying Voices of Adoptees" available on all listening platforms. www.laniseantoineshelley.com


MATT DICKSON (he/him/his) is a freelance director based in Brooklyn with a focus on new work, classics and musicals. Upcoming: Where Did We Sit on The Bus? by Brian Quijada (Colorado
Springs). Recent credits: Everything Is Wonderful by Chelsea Marcantel (Juilliard), Where Did We Sit on The Bus? (A digital creation w/ Actors Theatre of Louisville, Drama League nomination), Mike Pence Sex Dream by Dan Giles (A digital presentation, Ensemble Studio Theatre), Brontë by Polly Teale (a digital stream, NYU Stella Adler), We The People: America Rocks! (Theatreworks, US Tour), Selkie by Krista Knight (Dutch Kills), The Sign In Sidney Brustein's Window by Lorraine Hansberry (NYU Grad) and Disco Pigs by Enda Walsh (Drama League DirectorFest). He is a 2017 Drama League Fellow, a Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow (Manhattan Theatre Club) and member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. He is currently an adjunct professor at NYU teaching, "Theatre- Making in the Digital Age." B.F.A. from Boston University. MattJDickson.com
(RESIDENCY PROJECT - Regrettably, the Ghost that was Previously Haunting our Mansion has Died by Nadja Leonhard-Hooper

LYAM B. GABEL (they/them) is a trans* director, writer, and researcher who creates containers for collective remembering and radical celebration. They are co-founder of trans-media oral history and performance collective LAST CALL, and co-director of the NEFA NTP '18/ MAP '16 performance Alleged Lesbian Activities. They are a member of physical theater ensemble NEW NOISE where they directed MAP '17 project Jubilee, about undoing familial patterns of racism. Their work the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table exploring queer care from the early years of the AIDS crisis through COVID-19 recieved a NPN Creation Fund commission. Other work includes an AR journey through trans* euphoria and queer ecology and a short film about lip-sync as time travel. They developed work at Judson Church, Pipeline, Ashland New Plays Festival, The Theater Offensive, and The New Orleans CAC. Drama League Fellow 2017, Distillery Artist New Orleans CAC 2016
(RESIDENCY PROJECT - the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table by Lyam B. Gabel)

ARPITA MUKHERJEE (she/her/hers) is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Congressional Award–winning Hypokrit Theatre Company and the Festival Chair for Tamasha for South Asian performing artists. Upcoming: Running by Danny Pudi (East West Players/Enacte/Hypokrit) Recent: Islands of Contentment by Dipti Bramhandkar (Hypokrit/The Tank), Bollywood Kitchen by Sri Rao (Geffen Stayhouse/Hypokrit), Jump by Charly Evon Simpson (APAC), House of Joy by Madhuri Shekar (San Diego Rep), Eh Dah? Questions For My Father by Aya Aziz (Next Door at NYTW), Elements of Change by Divya Mangwani (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, UNICEF). Arpita is a 2020-2021 Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow, 2019 SDC Denham Fellow, a 2018-2020 WP Lab Member and a 2018 Eugene O'Neill National Directing Fellow. Arpita is currently the book writer for Monsoon Wedding (musical) and is developing several film and TV projects in India and the USA.
(RESIDENCY PROJECT - Maya by Cheeyang Ng and Eric Sorrels)

DANNY SHARRON (he/him/his) is a Brooklyn-based theater director with a focus on developing new plays and musicals. He is committed to creating work about the LGBTQ+ experience and providing a platform from which the voices of that community can be heard. Danny is the Senior Associate Director for the Tony Award-winning Dear Evan Hansen (Broadway/London/Toronto/Tour). He recently directed the world premiere of Jason Kim's The Model American at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and an environmental production of Taylor Mac's Okay at Bushwick's Central Arts. He has developed and directed work with The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ars Nova, LAByrinth Theater Company, Primary Stages, Ma-Yi, and The Lark. Danny is a recipient of New York Theatre Workshop's 2050 Fellowship, Williamstown's Bill Foeller Fellowship, The Drama League's New York Fellowship, and is an alumnus of the Ars Nova Director's Troupe. Proud member of SDC. www.DannySharron.com
(RESIDENCY PROJECT - Untitled by Jason Kim)


RAN XIA (she/her/hers) is a Shanghai-born, Brooklyn-based playwright, director, and sound designer. She's a Resident Director at the Tank, where she received the inaugural Artist of the Year award in 2019 and directed the world premiere of Independent Study by Ben Gassman, US premiere of The Tallest Man in the World by Ailís Ní Ríain, her own play In Blue, and most recently, a cinematic theatrical hybrid production of Prometheus Bound (adapted by Howard Rubenstein), Risa Puno's The Privilege of Escape (Creative Time). Alumnus of Pipeline Theater's PlayLab 2020, and a usual suspect at Exquisite Corpse Co (Memory House, Governor's Island). Sound designing works include Islands of Contentment (Hypokrit), Zoetrope (ECC), etc. Guest directing Orlando at Barnard College (Fall 2021). RanXia.info
(RESIDENCY PROJECT - Chava the Giant and the Oldest Bird by Ran Xia)


RACHEL DICKSTEIN/RIPETIME (she/her/hers) devises and directs theatre, opera, and dance-based performance. Artistic Director, Ripe Time since 2000. Commissions: BAM, CTG, Annenberg Center. Sleep (BAM Next Wave, Yale Rep, Annenberg), The World Is Round (BAM-Fisher, Obie Award), Septimus And Clarissa (Joe A. Calloway, Drama Desk, Drama League nominations, BPAC) Fire Throws (3LD), Innocents, Betrothed (Ohio Theatre). Opera/New Music: Blood Moon (Fisher/ McLaughlin/BMP, Prototype), Desire (Lash/Jack Quartet/Miller Theatre), Sankaram's Thumbprint (LA Opera), Iyer/Ladd's In What Language? (Asia Society, REDCAT, PICA). 2015 LPTW Lucille Lortel. Nominated: Alan Schneider Award (2014), Doris Duke Impact Award (2014,15). NEA-TCG Director's Fellowship. BA, Yale College. Co-Chair, Theatre and Performance, Purchase College, SUNY.

(RESIDENCY PROJECT - Candidate X by Aisha Zia, created in collaboration with Ripe Time)

The Drama League Directors Project is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Foundation support for the project comes from The Howard Gilman Foundation, Hyde and Watson Foundation, Sylvia W. and Randle M. Kauders Foundation, Jolene McCaw Family Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, and a leadership gift from Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts.
In addition, The Directors Project is made possible with the generous donations of Drama League Members, Corporate Members, our Board of Directors, and individuals nationwide.


The Drama League of New York, since 1916, has been at the forefront of the American Theatre community, providing talent, audiences, and prosperous support. The Drama League advances the American theater by providing a life-long artistic home for directors and a platform for dialogue with, and between, audiences. The Drama League opens doors for exceptional stage directors by providing time, resources, and space to work without restriction, while augmenting skills through personalized training, production opportunities, and professional development. The Drama League carefully selects directors whose vision and talent are unparalleled, with a clear commitment to the craft, the field, and audiences.

Through our work, The Drama League celebrates the important role theatergoers have to the future of the industry, and champions the impact theater plays in civic life. The Drama League breaks the formidable barriers that impede success in the arts. These directors, nurtured and empowered by The Drama League's support, are trained to create the most rigorous work possible, as a live exchange between artists and audiences. In doing so, we elevate the conversation, deeply impacting theaters and their communities. Bringing people together to celebrate difference, share experiences, and discover common ground are crucial needs served by the work of Drama League directors. This necessary cultural practice is the foundation of our shared humanity.

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