Applications close may 5th at 6pm CT!


To apply for DirectorsLabChicago, a director must meet the following criteria:

  • Has directed at least two professional projects outside of an academic setting.

    • This includes any fully-staged production, including community theatre, theatre for young audiences, and festivals. Readings and developmental workshops do not qualify.

    • If unsure whether your projects qualify, err on the side of applying anyway.

    • Please note, you will be asked to specify on your application which two productions from your résumé meet the application criteria.

  • Is not enrolled as a full-time student in the coming academic year.

    • Directors currently in an undergraduate program are invited to apply for a Lab internship, and those currently pursuing an advanced degree are encouraged to apply once your schooling is complete.

  • Has not attended more than one previous DirectorsLabChicago.

    • Directors may attend the Lab a maximum of two times. Attendance at the NYC Lab or any of our sister Labs does not count toward this limit.

The ideal applicant is a director who is committed to working professionally and has been in the field for at least two years. We welcome directors of any age (21 and over), including both directors with academic/professional training as well as those without formal training. We are interested in passionate people from varied artistic traditions, value cross-cultural exchange, and seek directors from diverse origins from around the world.


The dates for this year’s Lab are Sunday, August 18, through Saturday, August 24, 2019. The Lab will take place at Victory Gardens Theater and other locations throughout the city of Chicago.

The Lab is an immersive, full-time commitment during the dates listed. Lab participants should not plan to be available for any outside activities for the duration. In particular, we ask Chicago-based directors to treat the Lab as if they have traveled to attend and to clear their schedules completely. No rehearsals or other outside activities are permitted. Because of the round-the-clock nature of the Lab and the large number of applicants, if you find you are only partially available during this week, please apply in another year and let a space go to someone who can attend fully.

If you are accepted and confirm your attendance and then drop out before we begin (without a substantial reason such as illness or major job offer), you will not be admitted in future years. We plan the Lab around the directors we accept, and it negatively affects the entire group if a director drops out. This is a professional situation. The Lab’s work relies on the directors’ participation in all its activities, and for the good of all we need to accept people who can commit to the full Lab experience. Please consider your schedule carefully before applying.

Daily Schedule 

We draw most of the ideas for Lab sessions from responses in the application essay questions. We will be sorting through these ideas and putting the Lab together after participants are selected. Many years our schedule is not finalized until just hours before the Lab begins.

That being said, we can give you a general idea of what to expect. During the day, you will participate in workshops, activities, panel discussions and more. Evenings will be dedicated to rehearsal observations, theatre outings, and structured social activities. The exact schedule for the week will be provided on the first day.


Directors who have been accepted to the Lab must pay a $35 registration fee, due by August 1st. Housing, meals, transportation, and other incidentals are your responsibility. We are unable to offer any grants or financial assistance to attending Lab, though we may be able to offer assistance securing housing or other arrangements for directors once they have been accepted.

Although DLC is often able to access discounted tickets to the shows we choose to attend as part of the Lab, we are not able to cover these individual costs for you. As such, participation in these events is strongly encouraged, but not required. Directors who do not attend these activities for financial reasons will be provided with suggestions of lower cost alternatives or places together so that the immersive Lab experience continues for everyone.

Application Process

Applications for the 2019 Lab will open on March 18th, and will remain open until 6pm (Central Time) on Sunday, May 5th. Late applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.

Applicants are asked to respond to a variety of essay questions, reflecting on this year’s theme, it’s relationship the applicant’s directing work, and their artistic goals. We recommend that you write your essay responses in a separate document and paste them into the application form when you are ready to submit. Changes to an application cannot be made after it has been submitted.

We will notify all applicants of decisions via email no later than Sunday, June 10, 2018. Please see additional considerations for international applicants below.

Please note: All communications regarding your application will come from the email address To ensure that you do not miss important message, please add this address to your email address book before applying.

Additional Considerations for International Applicants

Rolling Acceptance: In order to give international attendees as much time as possible to make travel arrangements, international applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis. If you are based outside the US, your application will be eligible for consideration as soon as you submit it. (US-based applications will not be read or adjudicated until after the application deadline.)

Language: Although the Lab takes place in English and applicants must be comfortable working and communicating in this language, we are able to read applications in French Spanish, Italian, and Norwegian. If one of these is your first language and you feel more comfortable writing in it, please do so. If you’re most comfortable writing in another language not listed, you’re welcome to have someone translate it to English for you. It’s hard to write in a non-native language, and we want to know who you truly are!