Event Details
  • Communications Lab (writers must be accepted before buying)
    October 3, 2020
    1:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Writer-Director (Virtual) Communications Lab 2020

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020
1pm to 7pm eastern time
To be held virtually on Zoom, so artists beyond the New York area are encouraged to join. Register to receive the link.

This is an amazing opportunity for directors and writers to meet, and hone their ability to talk productively with each other! We are honored that feedback will be given by commercial producers Jennifer Manocherian (Meteor Shower, Dead Accounts, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Mountaintop, War Horse, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, August: Osage County) and Ric Wanetik producer (Tony nominated Twilight Los Angeles: 1992, Broadway’s Marlene, Off-Broadway’s Jolson and Company) and senior advisor for America to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC); and entertainment attorney/mediator Eric Goldman. TRU executive director Bob Ost will facilitate the day.

Writers, use this form to submit: DIRECTOR-WRITER-2020-Lab-writer-app - deadline for writer submissions is extended to Friday September 25th. Email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com with "Writer Lab Submission" in your subject line.

Directors may send an email to TRUnltd@aol.com to inquire about availability for future labs, and include your resume.

One of the most important - and most sensitive - relationships in theater is that between playwright and director. In some ways, the entire success of a show can hinge on the shared understanding,  trust and mutual respect between these two artists. The director and the writer need to see the show with the same eyes, otherwise their collaboration won't work.  This is important to establish in the initial meetings. TRU's program will train theater artists in the crucial skills of communication. It is led by commercial producers, since the producer is generally the real-world mediator in writer-director disagreements, and has the better overview of a production.

In this Lab we will team up to ten directors with up to ten writers prior to the Lab itself. OBSERVERS ARE ALSO WELCOME TO COME WATCH AND LEARN, LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE. Playwrights will email us a synopsis, pitch and production history, plus 5-10 sample pages of a script; directors will select a project that interests them from those submitted, request and read the script and prepare for a preliminary director-writer discussion about the play. We will watch and guide that discussion in the Lab. You will:

‚ÄĘ Discover your personal communication style
‚ÄĘ Learn to identify the style of the person you are with, and adjust to it for maximum mutual understanding
‚ÄĘ Explore non-threatening ways of discussing text, communicating and listening
‚ÄĘ Identify your domain of authority, and determine protocols

Confirmed directors: Leya Adler, Cate Cammarata, Mike Canestraro, Miriam Eusebio, Noel MacDuffie, Katherine Ray, Larry Ruth, Jennifer Sherron Stock. All director slots are filled, but other directors (as well as writers) are encouraged to attend as Observers and join the conversations.

COST (writers and directors):
$90 non-members 
$75 TRU members 


I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for orchestrating the Director/Writer Communication workshop (which is clearly quite a feat!) and your wonderfully wise thoughts on every interaction.  I was very impressed with the caliber and generosity of the panel and I thought they brought excellent points to each discussion.  I appreciated how clear eyed you were on each interaction.  I am tempted to ask if you have a methodology for how you listen to these discussions, but I suspect that years of experience is the primary method. It was an excellent workshop - it is just great to be around people who love theater as much as I do and are working super hard.  Bliss! ~Noel MacDuffie, director-choreographer, '18
I want to thank you for the director/writer workshop last week. I am now directing a 25 minute excerpt of Look For Me in the upcoming New York New Work Theater Festival! Thanks!  ~Miriam Eusebio, director, '18

Great workshop! Wonderful people participating, both deeply knowledgeable panelists, and generous directors. I will continue to talk up your programs as well as attend as many as I can. My best to you and your true passion, the arts and theater. ~Ina Chadwick, '18

I found it helpful and illuminating in a number of ways. Coming shortly after my first experience of selecting a director, it made me aware of the necessity of a lengthy and focussed discussion before any commitments are made. It was useful both to talk through the issues raised by my own play with a director like Cate [Cammarata] and to observe other couples going through the process of discovering whether they could work together or not. It was also moving to witness unexpected dramatic moments in the course of the day. And finally the presence of two such knowledgeable and successful Broadway producers as Ken [Waissman] and Margot [Astrachan] commenting freely on the proceedings was a huge bonus. ~ Dennis Porter, playwright

One of the things that I find invaluable about the TRU Director/Writer Communications Lab is the opportunity to see my fellow directors in action. We don't very often talk about "our method," so being able to observe another director meet a particular challenge or negotiate with a writer is special indeed. I walked away with many new ideas I'll use ‚Äď and even¬†a few things I plan to avoid. ~Brent Buell, director

I got a lot out of it and it was great to meet such wonderfully supportive people. I especially enjoyed meeting and talking to Claude [Brickell, my Lab director], and I thought he made a tremendous effort to support me. ~ Damon Chua, writer

There really is no substitute for being "in the room" with collaborators and the fact that you are able to create this atmosphere with working professionals who are in the trenches and can speak to what's real says a lot about the good and relevant work you're doing with your organization. Kudos. ~ Ben Gonshor, writer

You created a wonderful space for us writers. And, personally, it could have not gone better for me and the relationship I hope to have started with [my Lab director]. He gets my words written on paper and that's fantastic. ~ Jonathan Citron, writer

What a fabulous Lab that was! No drama - everyone seemed to match up so perfectly! I know I did. I'm eager to continue my conversations with [my writer] - we really hit it off and she's fantastic. ~Cate Cammarata, director

The lab is fascinating, and I found not just my time, but watching the other teams very valuable. ~Richard Riskin, director


    holds an M.A. in Educational Theatre from NYU with a directing emphasis and an undergraduate degree in Theatre from Florida State University. In 2010, Leya co-created and produced an original Children‚Äôs Educational Theatre company, Phonics Fantasy Theatre, where she wrote and directed an educational musical and instructional film which received the ‚ÄúNational Parenting Center Seal of Approval‚ÄĚ as well as a favorable review in the School Library Journal.¬†Leya was a teaching artist/actor for Living Voices, Inc.- Theatre Works on tour from 2007-2010 where she performed various one-woman historical plays and facilitated a learning/talk back session. Leya received the¬†2004 Elie Wiesel Award for Arts and Culture¬†for producing and directing. Leya has directed numerous theatre arts productions. Youth credits include;¬†I Never Saw Another Butterfly¬†at the Provincetown Playhouse,¬†The Would Be Gentlemen, Flowers for Algernon, The Pot Boiler,¬†A Shayna Maidel, The Dining Room, Story Theatre, Romeo and Juliet, Luv N‚Äô Light, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Annie, Frozen, Miss Nelson Is Missing, Miss Electricity¬†as well multiple Musical Theatre Revues, Showcases and Original Works.¬†(Off Broadway) Last Jew in Europe (Off-Off Broad.) History of Weather, The Homecoming Act II, Miss You the Most.¬†Teaching credits include developing theatre curriculum and teaching for the 92Y and being a member of the full-time theatre faculty at BAK Middle School for the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Currently, Leya runs an after school Theatre Arts program with multiple young performers in Bergen County, NJ where she teaches acting, physical theatre and directs productions.¬†In 2019 Leya Adler Co-Founded the Educational Theatre company Journey To Broadway alongside Donna Vivino.


    Recent Director/Choreographer credits: Anna Karenina Lives (Off-B’way), Merrily We Roll Along (excerpts) for Drama League NYC, Evangeline (Adelphi University), three Summertime Musical Revues at the Madison at Molloy. For Plaza Theatrical: Gypsy, Guys and Dolls, Mame, Funny Girl, My Fair Lady. Countless musicals including several for the Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart estates, at such venues as Gateway Playhouse, College Light Opera Company, and many LI. school districts. Education Director for Bay Street Theater 2018 Season. Mike is a member of AEA and Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab and has appeared in five Off-Broadway Musicals, the Russian Tea Room, Don’t Tell Mama, Liederkranz Foundation, Maine State Music Theatre and Theatre by the Sea. YouTube Channel: Michael Canestraro


    director and sometime actor in NY.  She recently directed a filmed online reading of the musical Look For Me by Liz Schiller whom she met here at the communication lab!  If you would like to see it please contact Miriam.  Miriam’s directing work includes the acclaimed Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through MIT’s Male Math Maze written and performed by Gioia De Cari, touring since 2009, and Happy Days by Samuel Beckett at WOW Café Theatre.  Work in classic theater includes Pericles, Taming of the Shrew, and Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles.  With young people: The Twelve Huntsmen by Briandaniel Ogelsby, Escape From Happiness by George Walker, several works by Thornton Wilder, and Handsel and Gretel, the opera by Engelbert Humperdink.  As staged readings she had directed include Illegal Helpers by Maxi Obexer with Voyage Theater, and The Mysteries of Monet Berzoff by Sharon Jane Smith at Wow Cafe Theater. Her directing work has been seen at Dixon Place, New Jersey Repertory Company, Wow Cafe Theater among others. Acting credits include Suzanna in Murder of Crows by Mac Wellman, Banana in Asshole Differential by Moira Cutler and Dromio of Syracuse in Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, and she sang in the band for The Kandake Dance Theatre for Social Change’s 1001 Nights: Love Stories from Death Row.  Miriam also sings with The Glass Menagerie chorus which was part of the Mile Long Opera by David Lang in October 2018. She in a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, Wow Cafe Theater and an associate member of SD.


    enjoys exploring stories about who we are and what makes us human.  Those stories can take many different forms, from intimate productions to big idea productions. Everything is allowable as long as the actors are telling the human story. Noel often utilizes his past work as a contemporary choreographer to support the concepts of the text. Recent pieces he has directed and choreographed include the original work, The Woman Who Shed Her Skin, and an expanded version of Euripides’ Medea. Other recent work Noel has directed include: The Final Word, The Baltimore Waltz, Doubt, The Real Inspector Hound, Scarecrow, The Foreigner, and Matt and Ben. He has had the pleasure to assist directors Terry Berliner and Kristen Marting. He has also choreographed and directed three evening length narrative dance works and over 30 contemporary dance pieces. Noel received his MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College.


    is a visual artist equally at home in broadcast, film genres as well as theatre. 15 years experience as a director of photography and camera operator, as well as technical line producer and production manager.  She brings her knowledge of video and tech to her directing, creating visual compelling stories.  She is trained in Frantic Assembly methods and improv, challenged by working in drama, comedy, musicals and political theatre. In the end it’s all about telling the story, and collaborating with actors to bring text to life. Recent regional credits include An Act Of God (CT premier), Spring Awakening, Fences (CT critics best of the year award winner), Peter and the Starcatcher, Bingo the Final Bloodsport, Avenue Q, Assassins, The 39 Steps, Glengarry Glen Ross, American Idiot, The Green Car (workshop), It Takes a New Aged Village (Manhattan Rep Theater). Co- producing artistic director for Planet Connections Theatre Festival 2011-2014. She is a member of The League Of Professional Theatre Women and the SDC. 

    In addition to having directed many established scripts, one of my passions is working with playwrights on developing new work and reworking pieces that already have a life. I‚Äôve enjoyed helping playwrights realize their visions for over 25 years. Many of the projects were through Working Title Playwrights, in Atlanta. There I worked with new and veteran playwrights to help them clarify their ideas, flesh our their characters, and remain true to (or to change) their vision, to the story they want to tell‚ÄĒall in service to making the most dynamic production of the play that reflects what the playwright wants to say to the world. Currently, I‚Äôm working with Preston Fox on his play, Doubt That the Stars Are Fire. The hallmark of my work as a director is a keen, inclusive collaboration, with the playwright‚Äôs ideas always resonating in my head, to create theatre that challenges, inspires, entertains, and has real relevance.


     joins the TRU workshop with a rich and varied background in education and theatre. She has taught in the City University system since 1996, and at City College itself for the past 20 years. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from William Smith College and her Master’s degree in Theatre from Hunter College where she was a recipient of the Harold Clurman Scholarship. She took thirty credits beyond the Master’s at the CUNY Graduate Center and study abroad at Balliol College in Oxford, The London Central School of Speech and Drama and The National Theatre. From 1993-1995 she served as the Artistic Director of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre, and she was a board member of the American Association of University Women’s New York Branch from 1997-1999 where she also serve as head of their Drama Program. A member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC), Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), IATSE LOCAL 306 and PSC-CUNY, she is a professional director, actor, playwright and educator who works all across the continental United States as well as in Alaska and China. Favorite all-time directing credits include Lend Me a Tenor for the All College Theatre at the State College of New Jersey, Proof for the Sheboygan Theatre Company, Noises Off at the Duluth Playhouse...Favorite acting credits include Countess Aurelia in the Madwoman of Chaillot and Rosemary Sydney in Picnic both for the Berea College Repertory Theatre Festival.


    For over 25 years, Eric has provided legal services to Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winning talent, and to technology and internet entrepreneurs. Recent projects include representing the writers of the Broadway smash hit Come from Away and the producers of the highly successful Off-Broadway musical parody of the television show Friends. Before launching his own firm in 2011, Eric worked for 15 years as a Senior Associate for entertainment attorney Mark Sendroff of Sendroff & Baruch LLP. Eric also served as in-house counsel for St. Martin’s Press and Hertz Computer. His first job out of law school was working as an associate for copyright guru Stanley Rothenberg.  Eric is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and New York University School of Law.


    Credits include Meteor Shower, Nice Work If You Can Get It; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Dead Accounts; The Mountaintop; A Little Night Music; La Cage aux Folles; The Norman Conquests; The 39 Steps; August: Osage County; Spring Awakening;The Little Dog Laughed; Caroline, or Change; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Thoroughly Modern Millie; The Crucible; Jane Eyre; Stomp.


    President of Ricochet Group LLC, a strategic planning and communications advisory.  Known for his onboarding of leadership at major theaters here and in England, Ric is a frequent advisor to several regional theaters and is an active producer, investor and production supervisor. He is the Senior Advisor for America to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).  He served as the President of RSC America, a US entity supporting the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company here and around the world. An investor in over 35 Broadway and Off- Broadway productions, Ric was the lead producer and Tony nominated for Anna Deveare Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles: 1992. In 1999, he was the lead producer for Broadway’s Marlene, and was the sole producer of Off-Broadway’s Jolson and Company.  For eight years Ric was the supervising producer for the Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show on CBS-TV and has produced several TV Specials for cable, PBS and universities including: Segment Producer, Great Performances Anniversary Special; Executive Producer, A Tribute to Comden and Green directed by Patricia Birch; producer for Ohio TV Network and CBS, What Ohio Kids Need. He is guiding the 2025 South Florida premiere of Fat Ham and the 2024 South Florida premiere of The NEW Fantasticks.  He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on theatre management and marketing.