20th Annual Directors Lab West Pasadena-Bound

Published : Monday, April 1, 2019 | 4:40 AM

Directors Lab West, an eight-day interactive forum that engages emerging directors and choreographers in an intensive study of their craft and fosters collaborative relationships among artists, will have its 20th anniversary gathering at the Pasadena Playhouse on May 25 to June 1.

The Lab, which started in 2000, provides a place for directors and choreographers to meet and exchange ideas.

Each year, between 25 and 50 emerging and mid-career directors and choreographers attend the Lab, selected from hundreds of applicants, and during the conference participate in lectures, panel discussions, roundtables and collaborative workshops with a slate of esteemed theater makers, according to a report by Broadway World.

Boston Court Pasadena is co-hosting the event, which is now funded through the generous support of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the report said.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Directors Lab West,” Pasadena Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman told Broadway World. “The annual gathering of directors creates a strong sense of community and professional development opportunities for theater artists, two things we are very passionate about here at the Playhouse.”

Session topics at Directors Lab West include broad issues such as producing theater, working with writers and dramaturges, the relationship between actors and directors, movement, design and diversity in Los Angeles Theater.

Participants will also attend several live performances by Los Angeles-area performing arts organizations, bringing L.A.’s rich theatrical landscape into the artistic dialogues.

The Directors Lab West steering committee, composed of Che’Rae Adams, Ernest Figueroa, Janet Miller, and Diana Wyenn, said hundreds of prominent guest artists have volunteered their time over the years, including luminaries such as Jack O’Brien, Randy Newman, Tonya Pinkins and Jason Alexander.

Speakers and panelists at past events have included writers, actors, artistic directors, critics, dramaturgs, designers, and directors and choreographers with such groups as Actors Equity, Theatre LA, LA Stage Alliance, Theatre Communications Group and other organizations.

“We were so excited that first year when all the attending directors showed up for the first day of the Lab, and 20 years later that excitement is still there and has never diminished,” Figueroa said as he looked back on the history of the Lab.

Figueroa was with a group of other fellow Los Angeles-area directors at a session of the Lincoln Theater’s Directors Lab in New York in 2000 when they decided to create a place for emerging and mid-career stage directors and choreographers to be in the same room and learn not only from each other but from masters of the craft. That decision led to the founding of Directors Lab West.

For more information about the Pasadena event, visit www.directorslabwest.com.

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