is a training and development scheme which supports young-in-career artists who are ready to get their hands dirty – people who are interested in a career in theatre, but haven’t got too far down the road yet. We are supporting eight people over the course of 2021 who are looking to nurture their skills in a practical environment, structured around two key pillars of learning and mentorship.


#startDIRECTING supports four people who want to begin a career in directing for theatre, but have yet to receive any formal, vocational training in the role. It’s a FREE entry-level programme running over 8 months (May-December), with regular online sessions curated and hosted by our artistic director Paul-Ryan Carberry.

Participants in the scheme will also be offered the opportunity to be placed as assistant directors across our Summer Festival and Winter Season – allowing the opportunity to apply some of the skills gained in learning sessions in a practical environment.


Applications for #startDIRECTING 2021 are now closed.


#startDESIGNING is for four set or costume designers, who’ve just got started or are recent graduates from training. The scheme is giving them the opportunity to be a part of making mid-scale theatre during our summer festival. It’s targeted specifically at designers looking to develop their skills in a safe and supportive environment, and looking to build connections for the next steps in their careers, and provides an associate designer placement on one of our summer shows.

startDESIGNING participants for 2021 have been selected. Application will open again in 2022.



If you’re interested in finding out more, have a read of the further information pack, below. Applications for 2020 are now closed, but there will be further opportunities in due course. If you want to hear about #start as it develops, sign up to our mailing list using the pop up on this website.

If you’ve any questions, or need the attachments in a more accessible format, get in touch with us at office@iristheatre.com.

Further information

start is made possible by the the regular donations of our incredible supporters. If you’d like to support our charity by helping use with a manageable, monthly donation… you can do that HERE. We receive no core funding and so every pound really does make a difference.