Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Awards

The Mike Ockrent Fellowship to Seonjae Kim

Director Seonjae Kim has been chosen as the 2016-2017 Mike Ockrent Fellow on Pam MacKinnon’s Amélie. Ms. img_3085Kim’s fellowship will last the entire length of the production process, with pre-production and rehearsals on Amélie beginning in October 2016 and continuing on through its run at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles and beyond.  Ms. Kim will receive a $5000 award.

Mike Ockrent was a British stage director whose London productions were Once a Catholic, Educating Rita, Passion Play, Follies and Zenobia for the RSC. Ockrent also directed several productions of Me and My Girl, which earned him Olivier, Ivor Novello and Drama Magazine awards. On Broadway, Ockrent’s Me and My Girl was nominated for 13 Tonys and earned him the Drama Desk Award for Best Director. In 1992, Ockrent worked with Susan Stroman on Crazy for You. They were married in 1996 and remained so until Ockrent’s death from leukemia in New York in 1999.

Modeled on SDCF’s prestigious Sir John Gielgud Fellowship in Classical Theatre, the goal of the Mike Ockrent Fellowship is to help early-career directors of promise develop their skills by working with a master director on the creation of a big-budget musical or play. The Fellowship, established in 2001, offers up-and-coming artists a remarkable education in creating theatre on a Broadway scale.

Previous recipients of the Ockrent Fellowship are Cassey Kivnick on Jerry Mitchell’s Gotta Dance, Paula D’Alessandris on Sean Mathias’s No Man’s Land/Waiting for Godot, Alex Lippard on Jeff Calhoun’s Bonnie and Clyde, Tomé Cousin on George C. Wolfe’s A Free Man of Color, Gregg Wiggans on Rob Ashford’s Promises, Promises, Elissa Weinzimmer on Casey Nicholaw’s Minsky’s, Jillian Loyas on Bob Avian’s A Chorus Line, and Benjamin Kline on Scott Elliott‘s Barefoot in the Park.

Seonjae Kim is a theatre director based in New York City, originally from Seoul, South Korea. Her select directing credits include: The Essential Ella Maythorne (Dixon Place) You’re Amazing!!!, That Noise (Williamstown Theatre Festival) A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rabid Bat Theatricals) Cloud 9, A Perfect Wedding, Kafka on the Shore (Northwestern University) Moksori (Chicago Fringe Festival). Recently, she took part in the inaugural class of Next Generation, a new residency for artists at La MaMa Umbria, Italy where she developed Surplus Novel, a ritualization of the life and works of Theresa Hak Kyoung Ja, with collaborator Scarlett Kim. Seonjae has assisted Stafford Arima, Bill Rauch, Ed Iskandar, Teddy Bergman and Morgan Gould among others and is honored to work with Pam MacKinnon on Amélie. She is the creator and director of Riot Antigone, a Riot Grrrl adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy in collaboration with composer Erato A. Kremmyda, which will be presented at the Club at La MaMa in February 2017. Alumni of Directors’ Lab West, SITI Company Summer Theatre Workshop, Powerhouse Training Program, Williamstown Directing Corps. Recipient of Van Lier Fellowship for Directing from the Asian American Arts Alliance. BA: Northwestern.


Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Awards

The Sir John Gielgud Fellowship to Nathan Singh

Nathan SinghDirector Nathan Singh
has been selected to be the 2016 SDCF Sir John Gielgud Fellow. He will be assisting Seret Scott on her production of Electra at the Court Theatre in Chicago, IL.

In 1996 this Fellowship originated from a generous contribution from Sir John Gielgud to provide opportunities for early career directors to study the artistic processes of master directors of classical plays. Past recipients include Chika Ike, Tlaloc Rivas, Tyne Rafaeli, Desdemona Chiang, Elyzabeth Gorman, Saheem Ali, and Susanna Gellert.

Nathan Singh
is a director from Los Angeles whose work includes theatre, opera, and site-specific performance. He has worked at various theatres around LA including: East West Players, Playwrights’ Arena, The Theatre at Boston Court, Son of Semele, Company of Angels, and Musical Theatre Repertory. He directed the opera America Tropical for the Autry National Center and USC Vision and Voices. He also directed A Shipwreck Opera for the Definiens Project and USC Spectrum. He spent two seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival serving as the FAIR assistant director on Willful (2011) and The Tenth Muse (2013). He is a graduate of the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Nathan is currently pursuing his MFA in Directing at The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago. This upcoming spring, he will be directing the Chicago premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Wig Out!


Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Awards

The Shepard and Mildred Traube Fellowship to Rhonda Kohl

Rhonda Kohl - Theatrical

Director Rhonda Kohl has been selected to be the 2016 SDCF Shepard and Mildred Traube Fellow. She will be working with Kathleen Marshall on the Broadway production of In Transit at the Circle in the Square Theatre in NYC.

In 1999 the Shepard and Mildred Traube Fellowship was established in celebration of the 40th anniversary of SDC and to honor the legacy of Shepard and Mildred Traube. Shepard Traube was one of SDC’s founders and Mildred Traube served for many years as the SDC’s Executive Secretary. The Traube Fellowship supports the development of future Broadway artists by providing early-career directors and choreographers with the opportunity to assist or observer a master director of choreographers at work on a Broadway production.

Born in North Dakota, Rhonda Kohl has spent her life in search of warmer climates, leading her to Los Angeles where she now resides and recently served as the assistant director to Colman Domingo for the Geffen Playhouse’s West Coast Premiere of Barbecue by Robert O’Hara. Previously she directed the L.A. Times Critic’s Choice Around the World in 80 Days for Actors Co-op and premiered the new work Pocket Universe at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. In addition to working as a director and choreographer, Rhonda produced the LA Weekly and Ovation-nominated Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde for Actors Co-op Theatre Company. She is a proud associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, holds an MFA in Acting & Directing, and is an alumni of Directors Lab West. Rhonda has guest directed and taught at Regent University and Azusa Pacific University. In all her free time, she also founded and runs The Play’s The Thing reading series and a non-profit organization for young artists called Hollywood Youth Theatre.


Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Awards

The Denham Fellowship to Diane Rodriguez

Headshot 2011 Blue BlouseDirector Diane Rodriguez was chosen as the 2016 SDCF Denham Fellow for her production of her play, The Sweetheart Deal, which she will also direct in Los Angeles in the spring of 2017. The Sweetheart Deal, which takes place in 1970 – in the midst of the largest Chicano social movement of the century, led by Cesar Chavez – sheds light on the struggles of farm workers, their family members and their allies and explores the political tension between the personal and public.

Established by Mary Orr Denham in 2006 with a bequest to SDC Foundation in honor of her late husband, Reginald H. F. Denham, the Denham Fellowship is an annual award to women directors to further develop their directing skills.  Past recipients include May Adrales, Tea Alagic, Rachel Alderman, Kathleen Amshoff, Jessi D. Hill, Joanie Schultz, Bridget Leak, and Hannah Ryan.

Diane Rodriguez is an OBIE winning theatre artist, regional theatre director and Associate Artistic Director of Center Theatre in Los Angeles.  In Spring of 2017, her latest play, THE SWEETHEART DEAL will be produced at the Los Angeles Theatre Center by the Latino Theatre Company. She will direct.  THE SWEETHEART DEAL has been developed at New Harmony Playwrights Project and the Atlantic Theatre’s Latino MixFest in New York City. Diane has directed and developed the work of many playwrights including Nilo Cruz, LynnNottage, Lloyd Suh, Jacqueline Lawton, Sean Lewis, Erik Patterson (LA Weekly Best Director Nomination for “Sick”), Annie Weisman, Oliver Mayer, Octavio Solis, Jessica Goldberg, John Leguizamo (Arizoni Award Best Director Nomination Award for “Spic O Rama),   Dan Guerrero, Richard Montoya, Roger Smith, Culture Clash (Arizoni Best Director Nomination for “Border Town”), among others.  She has directed at City Theatre in Pittsburg, PA, Mixed Blood, South Coast Repertory, San Jose Repertory, Hartford Stage, Sundance Theatre Lab; in Arizona at Actors Theatre of Phoenix, the Phoenix Theatre, Borderlands Theatre; in  Los Angeles at Playwright’ s Arena, the Fountain Theatre, East West Players,  Center Theatre Group, Pasadena Playhouse,  Cornerstone Theatre and Ojai Playwrights Conference, among others. Diane will direct her own play, “The Sweetheart Deal” in April of 2017 in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Theatre Center for the Latino Theatre Lab in Association with El Teatro Campesino.  This production is part of the Latino Theatre Commons, El Fuego Project.



For 50 years, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation has developed and promoted the creativity and craft of directors and choreographers. SDCF’s mission is to create access to the field, to connect artists, and to honor the theatrical legacy of these artists. The centrality of the director’s role in theater and the impact that they have on other artists’ careers—from playwrights to designers to actors—makes SDCFs services essential to the theater industry’s health and continued vitality.

Through mentorship programs, community forums and public events, SDCF constructs paths for early-career directors and choreographers from all backgrounds to interact with established artists around the country; puts mid-career artists in the room together to debate and solve issues they face in the business; and reaches beyond the theater industry to tell the story of what directors and choreographers contribute to the art form. In a discipline that can often feel isolating, SDCF serves the needs of artists at all stages, building a cross-generational theater community.