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What Our Alumni Have Said

20+ years of inspiring the future of the American Theatre

"You'll hear past participants say that DLW is life changing and you might think that's an exaggeration. Maybe you won't go straight from the Lab to a Tony award, but there is something subtle and far more important in having a group of your peers recognize you as one of them. The experience of attending the Lab was valuable in all that I learned and all the artists I met. But the re-commitment to myself as an artist - as a director - that the Lab inspired in me is its most precious gift."

–Kelly McMahon, DLW 2019

"It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since I attended the DLW. The experience was so profound that I still find myself utilizing the artistic insight I gained in the workshop in my day to day work as a writer/director. Kudos to all who who have kept this unique and important program alive and thriving for so many years. "

–Judy Chaikin, DLW 2004

“Thanks to the DLW, I have increased confidence as a director, a larger network that spans the country, amazing life partner and now a child too:)! Ryder Thornton and I could not be more grateful for our time at the Director's Lab West!”

–Jenny Mercien, DLW 2011

"The lab was a joyful week of collaborative and creative immersion!  We bonded quickly as a group, energizing each other with distinct ideas and diverse backgrounds, The great session presenters of artists and leaders led us to a greater understanding of how wide and fabulous our LA theater community really is and how to be a better participant in it, as well as opening up new pathways to our individual artistic expression and fresh approaches to consider going forward. What a wonderful feeling to be learning in a community of directors for a whole week, rather than going it alone."

–Cathy Fitzpatrick Linder, DLW 2008


“Directors Lab West continues to foster community, dialogue, growth and artistic richness for so many, and I'm so happy to be part of it.”

–Laura Karlin, DLW 2014

“Aside from being instrumental in my professional development, Directors Lab West allowed me to make friendships with fellow participants like Andi Chapman and Douglas Clayton, as well as guest artists like Che’Rae Adams and Lisa Wolpe. I will cherish my week at the Pasadena Playhouse and highly recommend it for anyone seeking to enrich their directing skills.”

–Thomas Parham, DLW 2007

"I learned so much at the Director’s Lab - and have recommended it so many times over the last few years.”


–Robin Walsh, DLW 2016

“DLW was a turning point for me in my Directorial career. When I completed the lab in 2002, I had a better understanding of what my strengths and weaknesses were and how to improve my work. As a result, it empowered me to grow and excel in the theatre.”

–Ron Celona, DLW 2002

“DLWest 2015 solidified my transition from actor to director. After the conference, I knew I'd found the lane I'd be in for the next phase of my career. The resources, the community, and the feedback have been invaluable to me. I only wish I could attend again.”

–Ameenah Kaplan, DLW 2015

 “While firmly established in the LA film studio system, Director’s Lab was that blatant reminder for me, a reminder of what I really wanted to do with my life – direct theatre and create beauty in the world. And, happily, that’s what I do.” 

–Michael Cooper, DLW 2005

“It was my pleasure to attend the lab while I was living in the LA area in 2003. Directing rarely becomes a group task, so getting to interact with other directors in the course of the symposia, discussions, and activities was illuminating and energizing. I would encourage anyone to participate.” 

–Marc Bruni, DLW 2003

“Where I learned that theatre is wonderful and wonder filled, where passion is tested with process and bonds are created for the creative. Directors Lab West, I am grateful.”  

–Mary Huls, DLW 2003


"Directors Lab West connected me with artists from around the world who helped expand my knowledge of theatre and directing as well as expanding my world view. The connects I made with other artists have continued well after DLW was over.  I left reinvigorated and with a stronger sense of who I am as a director."

–Carly Bodnar, DLW 2018

"Directors Lab West rejuvenated my work as a director by providing a space for collaboration,exploration, and the chance to be inspired by other directors in a non-competitive environment. I continue to reach out to the people I met for insight when I find myself at a sticking point in creative processes.”

–Heather May, DLW 2014

“DLW was a career changer for me. The week was well-organized, the workshops were very informative and the other participants were people like myself who had some experience and craft behind them and we all came out with much more.”

–Joel Asher, DLW 2017

"Even amidst weeks of collaboration, being a director can sometimes be lonely. The DLW steering committee carves out a space, gathers a braintrust from around the world, and immerses you in thoughtful and exciting programming connecting you to a network of peers that will reinvigorate your passion to dream, create, and inspire."

–Christine McBurney, DLW 2018



"I can’t thank the Directors Lab West enough for the amazing experiences and friends that I made. The introduction to the LA theater community, productions and artists was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I continue to draw on all of the DLW insights and inspiration in my creative work."

–Emmett Murphy, DLW 2017

"Directing can be one of the loneliest professions, and no one understands that path like other directors. Attending Directors Lab West not only brought tremendous growth to my work in the craft of the director, but brought such clarity of joy to the path of being a director. Every director should experience this lab. It is vital nourishment for the creative soul."


–Alex Freeman, DLW '18


"The tools and connections built at the Director’s Lab instilled a new confidence in my artistic voice that continues to inform my creative practice."


–Andrew Pearson, DLW 2018

"Not only was the Director's Lab one of the most fun weeks of my life, not only did I learn a ton of new techniques and meet new friends, but it really drove home that what we do is relevant, important, and can truly change minds and hearts. Directing is a powerful tool and Director's Lab West added amazing new skills to my tool kit."


–Matt Ritchey, DLW 2017

“Being accepted in DLW felt like winning the lottery and being given a much needed booster shot of confidence.  I adored my cohort of Directors and all the activities and lectures that were planned for us.  Happily, I was able to use my experience at DLW as a springboard that led to gigs at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and A Noise Within!” 

–Carol Becker, DLW 2016

“The annual convening of directors and choreographers from around the country (and the world) afford a rare and exciting opportunity to break out of the solitary role of Director and/or Choreographer and collectively explore concepts, ideas, tools and tips, and build a support network that goes beyond the intensity of the week-long Lab. Its “summer camp” for creative adults – and its FREE!!!! So grateful to all the folks who continually support and contribute to making this program happen and endure!”

–Tanya Kane-Parry, DLW 2003

"I attended DLW at a time when I felt stagnant in my career and my art.  I can close my eyes right now and see snatches of specific presentations, collaborations and conversations from my DLW experience.  We’re not fully aware of what gets woven into us when we open ourselves up to new experiences, but DLW has remained with me through graduate school, directing projects and my current teaching position in San Jose." 

–John Kaufmann, DLW 2006

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