Directors Inclusion Initiative

Established in the 2015/2016 season, the Directors Inclusion Initiative aims to encourage and develop emerging Chicago directors who identify as people of color, disabled, women, transgender, gender non-conforming and LGBTQ+. We continue our commitment to cultivate a new generation of diverse directors who create dynamic theater work from their unique points of view.

Under the leadership of Ken-Matt Martin and Roxanna Conner, the initiative has been reimagined with a new curriculum which includes four free masterclasses by leading theater artists, observing first rehearsal for each mainstage production, and directing one reading in the 20/50 Festival. The Director Inclusion Initiative cohort will also have the opportunity to attend optional events such as technical rehearsals, final dress, and gatherings hosted by VG leadership.

2021/2022 Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellows

Devin Christor
Grace Dolezal-Ng
Aliza Feder
Arti Ishak

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  • 35 hours total, January 2022 – August 2022
  • 12 hours of free masterclasses with leading theater artists
  • 15 hours directing one reading for the 20/50 Festival
  • 8 hours observing rehearsals
  • Additional optional opportunities may be offered periodically.

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2021/2022 COHORT DATES

  • Tuesday, January 4, 2022: first rehearsal for Queen of the Night
  • Saturday, February 26, 2022: Masterclass #1
  • Tuesday, March 8, 2022: first rehearsal for In Every Generation
  • Saturday, April 23, 2022: Masterclass #2
  • Tuesday, May 17, 2022: first rehearsal for cullud wattah
  • Saturday, June 4, 2022: Masterclass #3
  • Monday, June 27 – Saturday July 2, 2022: 20/50 Festival
  • Sat, August 20: Masterclass #4



$350 for directing one reading for the 20/50 Festival; commensurate with pay for the Ignite Chicago Reading Series.


Submit a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a portfolio of no more than 5 production photos, or one video of a piece you’ve directed. Applications are due by 12PM CT on Friday, October 15, 2021. All materials should be sent to with the subject line “Directors Inclusion.” Please send your files as a single .pdf document, named as follows: Last_First_DII2122.

Past Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellows

Alexander (Lex) Turner
Tiny Beautiful Things
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Lanise Antoine Shelley
The First Deep Breath
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Christina Casano
How to Defend Yourself
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Jeremy Ohringer
Dhaba on Devon Avenue
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Aliza Feder
Right To Be Forgotten
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Lauren Katz
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Mikael Burke
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N. Emil Thomas
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Denise Yvette Serna
Cambodian Rock Band
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Ruby Des Jardins
If I Forget
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Elizabeth Swanson
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Fun Home
Hannah Tova Wolff
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Regina Victor
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Carol Ann Tan
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Mies Julie

Kaiser Zaki Ahmed
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Hand To God
Arianna Soloway
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Roz and Ray
Charlotte Drover
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Ameenah Kaplan
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A Wonder In My Soul
Alyssa Vera Ramos
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Native Gardens

Toma Tavares Langston
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Sucker Punch
Lavina Jadhwani
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Never the Sinner
Lexi Saunders
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Kevin Matthew Reyes
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Hillary And Clinton
Chika Ike
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The House That Will Not Stand