Josh Roche wins the 20th anniversary James Menzies-Kitchin Young Director Award with My Name is Rachel Corrie.
Josh beat a record-breaking number of applicants to win the £25,000 award in the now-legendary JMK selection process which has been described as being almost like a training scheme in itself. He will be directing My Name is Rachel Corrie, the celebrated piece of verbatim theatre created from the writings of Corrie herself and jointly edited by the late, great Alan Rickman and journalist Katherine Viner, who is now editor-in-chief of The Guardian.
The runner up this year was Nathan Crossan-Smith with a proposal for a production of debbie tucker-green’s random and will receive a £2,000 award.
My Name is Rachel Corrie was first staged to equal acclaim and controversy in 2005 at the Royal Court, directed by Alan Rickman. It is based on the vivid diaries and emails of American peace campaigner Rachel Corrie who was killed by an Israeli tank while protecting Palestinian homes from demolition at the age of 23. It went on to gather awards and further controversy, particularly in the US, where the premiere was withdrawn after objections were raised about its portrayal of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is a testament to the quality of Rachel Corrie’s skill as a writer and passionate commitment to her cause that this monologue drama has stood the test of time with numerous revivals worldwide since its premiere.
The production will be staged at the Young Vic later this year; production dates to be announced soon.
On winning the award, Josh said: “I’m stunned and delighted to win the JMK award. It’s hard to express quite what it means to me. The chance to direct at the Young Vic is extraordinary in any context, but to be working on this play makes the opportunity even more remarkable.
“Rachel Corrie and I were born only ten years apart. Her legacy is our inheritance. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to tell her story on the Young Vic stage, and hugely indebted to the JMK Trust”.
27-year-old Josh Roche has worked as a reader and literary associate of theatres including Shakespeare’s Globe, Soho Theatre and for Sonia Friedman Productions and is founder of Fat Git Productions, discovering new approaches to new writing for the theatre through the commissioning and editing processes. He was resident assistant director at Soho Theatre, assisting Joe Murphy and Steve Marmion, and also assisted Joe Murphy at Shakespeare’ Globe (The Taming of the Shrew). He has assisted John Dove (Eternal Love for ETT and Dr Scroggy’s War at Shakespeare’s Globe, and – more recently – Farinelli and The King at the Duke of York’s). In 2015-16 Josh was assistant director at the RSC for Gregory Doran on Death of a Salesman and Shakespeare Live!; Polly Findlay on The Alchemist and Maria Aberg on Dr Faustus, as well as several one-off projects. Among the productions Josh has directed for his own Fat Git Productions are i feel fine, A Third and Magnificence at venues in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The JMK Trust was founded in the memory of James Menzies-Kitchin, a young director of great promise, who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 28, to give opportunities to theatre directors of similar ability and vision. Each year it gives one prestigious award to enable an outstanding applicant aged 30 or under to create their own production of their choice of classic text, currently at the Young Vic. Find out more here.