International Exchanges


The International Stage Directors Exchange

The International Stage Directors Exchange, funded in part by the Trust for Mutual Understanding, is open by invitation only to professional directors and artistic directors. 

The International Stage Directors Exchange sends American stage directors and theatre makers to international festivals and theater companies with the goals of immersion in a new culture, and exposure to a wider variety of aesthetics, metholodologies, and directorial practices.  Building relationships across boundaries, international directors and makers are also invited to institutions in the United States to share ideas, inspirations, and techniques that infuse the national discussion and practice.  Finally, the exchange also develops research, production, and collaboration opportunities for American and International directors in both countries via international exchanges and residencies.

The program currently partners with Art Offica Sofia (Bulgaria), the Bucharest International Theatre Platform (Romania), and various partners in China, the United Kingdom and Poland.

Since 2009, The International Stage Directors Exchange has included international exchanges resulting in collaborative productions, assistantships, educational exchanges, collaboration workshops; and research visits for:


  • Zi Alikhan, director
  • Elena Araoz, director
  • Raiko Baichev, playwright
  • Michael Barakiva,
    Artistic Director, Hangar Theatre
  • Clare Barron, playwright
  • Jesse Berger, Artistic Director, Red Bull Theater
  • Shelley Butler, stage director
  • Rachel Chavkin, Artistic Director, The TEAM
  • Claire Cook, Director, Basin Arts
  • Ida Daniel, stage director
  • Vesselin Dimov, stage director
  • Dimitar Dimitrov, playwright/stage director
  • Ivan Dimitrov, playwright
  • Anna Dinkova, director
  • Ivan Dobchev, director
  • Catinca Draganescu, director
  • Estefania Fadul, director
  • Susan Feldman,
    Artistic Director, St. Ann's Warehouse
  • Javor Gardev, director
  • Georgi Georgiev, playwright
  • Svetlozar Georgiev, playwright
  • Joey Guastella, The Foundation Center
  • Katrin Hrusanova,
    Managing Director, ACT Festival
  • West Hyler, stage director
  • Nikolai Iordanov, Artistic Director,
    Varna International Theatre Festival
  • Jivko Jeliazkov,
    Artistic Director, Derrida Dance Center
  • Petar Kaukov, Deputy Artistic Director,
    Nikolai Binev Youth Theatre
  • Javor Kostov, director
  • Barbara Lanciers, Director,
    The Trust for Mutual Understanding
  • Yana Lozeva, photographer
  • Alexander Manuiloff, playwright
  • Rebecca Martinez, director
  • Kristin Marting, Artistic Director, HERE Arts Center
  • Joseph MeLillo, former Executive Producer,
    Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
  • Maia Morgenstern, Artistic Director,
    State Jewish Theatre of Romania
  • Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director, Dallas Theatre Center
  • Emily Morse, Artistic Director, New Dramatists
  • ‚ÄčMargarita Mladenova, Artistic Director, Sfumato Theatre
  • Lila Neugebauer, director
  • Jim Nicola, Artistic Director, New York Theatre Workshop
  • Handan Ozbilgin, Associate Artistic Director,
    LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
  • Catherine Porter and Barry Rowell,
    Artistic Directors, Peculiar Works Project
  • Vasilena Radeva, director
  • Cara Reichel, Artistic Director, Prospect Theater Company
  • Juanita Rockwell, director
  • Mariy Rosen, director/actor
  • Tony Simotes,
    former Artistic Director, Shakespeare & Company
  • Yordan Slaveykov, playwright/stage director
  • Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, director/artistic director,
    The Drama League
  • Teya Sugareva, stage director
  • Asen Terziev, Chief Coordinator,
    Varna International Theatre Festival
  • Daniela Varon, Artistic Associate, Shakespeare & Company
  • Iasen Vasilev, playwright
  • Andrew Volkoff, stage director
  • Kalina Wagenstein, Art OfficeSofia
  • Nicole Watson, Associate Artistic Director,
    Round House Theatre
  • Valentina Zaharia, actor/writer/director


With over dozens of productions, collaborations, workshops, visits, and discussions to its credit, The International Stage Directors Exchange has developed new work around the world.  One example: in 2013, the Drama League, in conjunction with the Present Company, proudly presented the American debut of the acclaimed Theatre B+ production of The Spider at the New York International Fringe Festival.

Actors Penko Gospdinov and Anastassia Liutova in the Theatre B+ production of The Spider, written and directed by Dimitar Dimitov and Yordan Slaveykov.  Presented in NYC at C.O.W. Theatre, August 9 -16, 2013. Photo: Richard Termine. 

Written and co-directed by Dimitar Dimotrov and Yordan Slaveykov, The Spider tells the story of conjoined twins – a brother and a sister – spending a last birthday together the night before the operation that will separate them forever.  Both loving and hating their existence, they struggle to face this momentous decision: should the remain together, or separate? Should they escape to into freedom or cling to the reality they have always known?

The Village Voice called it the top show of the Fringe Festival, and “the reason one goes to the theatre”! The New York Times “[couldn't] look away” from the “impassioned performances”, and credited the Drama League for “helping to sprinkle some Eastern European tragicomedy in a Fringe program filled with lighter fare”. The Spider was also the winner of Best Theater Experiment and Best Actress at the 2012 St. Petersburg ArtOKraina International Festival.

The Ivan Vazov National Theater, Sofia, Bulgaria


To inquire about participation in this program, professional directors and artistic directors should email gshanks@dramaleague.org.



The Drama League is a dedicated advocate for increased diversity and for the inclusion of artists who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Differently-Abled, and LGBTQIA2+ in all our programs. We aim to achieve full inclusion in all our programs, providing opportunities for directors to tell their stories, so that we make a theater that truly reflects the society in which we live; where each artist is considered on their merits as an individual; where the stories being told are drawn from authentic and diverse experiences; and where our individual humanity can be celebrated.

The Drama League does not and shall not discriminate, and will take affirmative actions to ensure against discrimination, on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, the selection of fellowship and residency artists; selection of staff, artists, partners, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors and clients; and provision of services.