A professional development award for emerging theatre makers and directors

The John Fernald Award


History of the Award

The Award was set up in 1988 in honour of the late Theatre Director and RADA Principal John Fernald, with the aim of helping emerging Theatre Directors gain valuable experience within their field.


Purpose of the Award

The Award is to fund or part-fund the successful applicant in directing their play or site-specific event. Theatres can also apply on behalf of a director they wish to hire.  Please note the money is to go towards covering the director’s fees and/or living costs whilst working on the project.  It is not intended to be spent on production costs.


Who is it for? 

Theatre Directors or Theatre Makers who work in Live Performance.


Who is eligible?

Theatre makers and directors from the UK or Republic of Ireland with some professional experience in the field.

Professional theatres may also apply on behalf of a director they wish to hire.


Applications are closed until March 2025.

Apply Now

Applications are closed until March 2025.
If you are applying independently as a theatre maker or director, you will need to submit:
  • A one page personal  statement which must include the answer to the following two questions:
    • Please indicate how the monies would be used to develop your directing skill set
    • Please outline specifically how the monies would be spent, noting that the purpose of the award is to assist the person, not the project
  • A two page outline of the project
  • A preliminary one page budget top sheet
  • Two letters of recommendations from a theatre practitioner or a member of a University or accredited Drama School in support of their application.  Please note that these letters must be sent under separate cover, unseen by the applicant
  • A current CV
  • A signed consent form

If you are a professional theatre who is applying on behalf of a director you wish to hire, you will need to submit:

  • A letter of support from the theatre
  • An outline of the project
  • A contract demonstrating the financial terms and time period of the engagement
  • A personal statement from the director
  • The director’s current CV
  • The Theatre’s most recent company accounts
  • A signed consent form

Please send by email to:

John Fernald Award c/o Equity Charitable Trust




  • If shortlisted, you may be required to travel to London for an interview
  • Preference is given to first time applicants
  • Applicants must have a minimum of two years professional experience as a theatre practitioner, or be a graduate from a University or an accredited Drama School
  • Applications for Fringe or touring shows are also considered