ITV Director Scheme


In 1960 Howard Thomas, then Managing Director of ABC Television, introduced the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme to help further the careers of aspiring theatre producers and directors. It was his belief that television had every reason, then as now, to be grateful to the theatre for its supply of creative talent. The scheme was conceived as a way of repaying the debt.

The project continued to be run by Thames Television but went on to attract the interest of other regional network companies who were envious of its success. Eventually support was offered from all ITV companies across the country and administration of the scheme passed to the central ITV Fund. However, following the reallocation of ITV contracts in 1991, this support gradually came to an end. Thames Television, despite being one of the companies to lose their contract with ITV, asked that the project be returned to its administration. They then invited individual ITV companies to sponsor trainees in their local theatres. As a result, the scheme was re-launched in 1993 with the financial support of Scottish Television, Central, Channel 4 and Thames Television itself.

Thames ultimately passed the administrative responsibility to Channel 4 and, on the fortieth anniversary of the programme, the decision was taken to rename it The Channel 4 Theatre Director Scheme. Following 12 successful years of support, Channel 4 discontinued its involvement in 2007 and ITV once more took over the leadership of the scheme.

Jack Andrews MBE administered the project for 20 years and over this time ensured that it continued to grow from strength to strength. In 2007 he retired and invited the Young Vic to take over his administrative responsibilities.

In 2010 the scheme will have been running for 50 years and can claim an impressive list of past recipients. Many ex-trainees have been or are now artistic directors of the UK's leading theatres. This strong track record clearly demonstrates the contribution the project has made - and the impact it has had - on training the young directors of the future.

Former trainees include:

Vicky Featherstone West Yorkshire Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre
Rupert Goold Salisbury Artistic Director, Almeida
Dominic Hill Perth Artistic Director, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Teresa Heskins Birmingham Rep Artistic Director, New Vic, Stoke on Trent
Peter Rowe Leatherhead Artistic Director, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
John Tiffany Traverse Associate Director, Royal Court Theatre
James DacreNew Vic, Stoke on Trent Artistic Directore, Northampton Royal & Derngate

Freelance directors who have taken part in the scheme include: Michael Boyd, Nicholas Kent, Bill Alexander, Tim Albery, Giles Havegal, Ken Loach, Hettie MacDonald, Roger Michell, Adrian Noble, Sir Trevor Nunn, Nina Raine, Michael Rudman and Tim Supple.

  1. For a full list see Past Trainees page

"When we began the scheme in the early years of Independent Television, ABC was part of ITV's original crazy quilt of a network. We were the weekend company for the North and Midlands and the scheme was designed specifically to support the many fine repertory theatres that graced our region: hence its original title the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme. To watch the scheme grow in its scope and range since those early days and to observe over the years the remarkable wealth of talent it has nurtured has been a heart-warming experience for those of us who were in at its birth." Brian Tesler CBE (Patron and originator of RTYDS)