Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Launches Its Professional Development Program

April 11, 2023

The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation has launched a revamped initiative for early-career choreographers and directors: the Professional Development Program. SDCF, a New York City–based not-for-profit whose mission is to support and elevate the artistry of choreographers and stage directors, put what was formerly known as SDCF’s Observership Program on hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Through the revamped program, burgeoning artists have the opportunity to observe or support seasoned choreographers and stage directors through varying stages of putting on a current production. PDP opportunities range from short-term shadowing during one specific aspect of the process to watching the entire process from first rehearsal to opening night, as well as fellowships in which candidates get hands-on experience as part of an artistic team. Depending on the track and length of the project, mentees receive a stipend for shadowing and observing of $600 a week, while fellowship awards typically range from $3,000 to $6,000.

As part of Cycle 1 of the program, which launched in January, choreographers JoAnn M. Hunter and Susan Stroman served as mentors while they launched Broadway musicals Bad Cinderella and New York, New York, respectively. Cycle 2’s tracks include shadowing Annie-B Parson and Elizabeth DeMent during rehearsals for the Broadway production of Here Lies Love in May and a fellowship with Sam Pinkleton on a San Francisco production of The Wizard of Oz beginning this month. SDCF plans to open application cycles three times a year, with the number of participants determined based on what opportunities are available.