The National Women's Theatre Festival



The National Women’s Theatre Festival, based in Raleigh, NC, proudly announces the return of our signature education program, WTFringe Lab! 

What is WTFringe Lab?

WTFringe Lab, a virtual training program culminating with an in-person production, is a professional bootcamp for theater makers where participants gain a deep and extensive amount of MFA-adjacent training in a short amount of time. It’s a radical infusion of directing/producing knowledge for those who wish to receive further training in theatre but who may not have the time, money, or access to pursue an MFA at this time. WTFringe Lab is a key component of National WTF’s mission to contribute to the pipeline of theatre artists working towards accessibility and parity in our industry. 

For WTFringe Lab 23, a single cohort of 10-20 Directors + Producers will engage in a series of virtual training seminars and practically apply the knowledge by collaboratively creating and executing a program in person for the 2023 WTFringe Festival. Participants attend the majority of the program virtually (all seminars and practicums). The capstone of the Lab will be the production of a program in person at the WTFringe Festival, for which participants are expected to be present in Raleigh, NC. See below for dates.

Participants may apply as a director, producer, or as a director-producer. Accordingly, in the final project, directors will direct, producers will produce, and director-producers will direct and produce.

WTFringe Lab consists of:

  • Seminars: Each 2-hour seminar with a guest teaching artist will be followed by a 20 minute discussion/Q&A and a 10 minute closing. 

  • Practica: Each 2-hour practicum session will include a brief practical lesson followed by facilitation from National WTF’s Executive Artistic Director Johannah Maynard Edwards. The cohort will use the practicum to learn-as-they-go while developing their unique program for the 2023 WTFringe Festival

  • Final Project: With Johannah’s guidance, the cohort will collectively decide whether the piece will be full length or short, written or devised, what the budget will be and how it will be allotted, and all other parameters of the project. Directors + Producers will be matched as working relationships evolve. Meetings, rehearsals, and assignments will be completed outside of class time so cohort members will be encouraged to devise a program with a scope that is feasible and aligns with their availability and needs. 

Who is WTFringe Lab for? 

WTFringe Lab is for aspiring, emerging, established, and curious directors, producers, & director-producers of all genders and all life stages. We will accept an equal number of directors and producers to WTFringe Lab to facilitate collaborative relationships. WTFringe lab is ideal for:

  • Folks who want to get more professional producing or directing experience under their belt

  • Folks interested in making a career switch to pursuing theatre professionally

  • Folks interested in branching out their career within the theatre from another area to directing/producing

  • Folks with directing/producing experience interested in learning the ins and outs of producing/directing at a Fringe specifically

  • Folks who are looking to decolonize their directing/producing and learn to create work that is radically accessible to audiences with various access needs




Apply ⋆

Application Timeline

Applications are open from January 8 – February 1 at 11:59pm ET. 

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by February 6.

Accepted applicants must register by February 12 to secure their spot in the program.

Program Timeline

The WTFringe Lab cohort will meet virtually on Tuesday evenings (7-9:30 pm ET) from February 21 – June 13

Then, the cohort will meet in person during the 8th Annual National Women’s Theatre Festival (June 17 – 25, NC State University) to execute their WTFringe 23 project and experience the WTFCon as a group. 

Accepted cohort members are expected to attend every virtual session of the Lab and be present at WTFringe for the in-person final project. Cohort members who are not local to the Triangle region of North Carolina will be offered local housing with community hosts. In some cases, cohort members who can ONLY attend the Festival virtually/remotely will be considered.

SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE (subject to change):

2/21 – Seminar: The Role of the Director & Producer (2.5 hr)

2/28 – Practicum: Collaboration (2 hr)

3/7 – Seminar: Consent & Intimacy Considerations for Directors + Producers (2.5 hr)

3/14 – Practicum: Dreamstorming: Generating Ideas, Building Buy-in & Enthusiasm (2 hr)

3/21 – Seminar: Decolonizing Your Production Process (2.5 hr)

3/28 – Practicum: Creating Your Production Plan (2 hr)

4/4 – BREAK

4/11 – BREAK

4/18 – Practicum: Budgeting Deep Dive (2 hr)

4/25 – Seminar: Anti-Racism + Justice for Directors + Producers (2.5 hr)

5/2 – Practicum: Project Management Deep Dive (2 hr)

5/9 – Seminar: The Rehearsal Process  (2.5 hr)

5/16 – BREAK 

5/23 – Practicum: Marketing & PR Deep Dive (2 hr)

5/30 – Seminar: The Tech & Production Process (2.5 hr)

6/6 – Practicum: Accessibility 101 (2 hr)

6/13 – Practicum: Next-level Accessibility (2hr)

6/17-22 – Festival Onsite Seminar & Practicum

6/23-25 – Festival Onsite Performances

6/27 – Practicum: Post Mortem & Self Reflection (2 hr)


  • 32.5 hours of instruction in directing & producing delivered virtually

  • Through collaboration, cohort members will goal-set, conceive, plan, rehearse, direct, and produce a project for the 2023 WTFringe Festival with facilitation & mentorship from WTF’s EAD Johannah Maynard Edwards

  • A Full Festival Pass to the 2023 National Women’s Theatre Festival (June 17-25, 2023) with a conference programming track designed specifically for cohort members ($250 value)

  • Local housing with host families in Raleigh, NC for the duration of the 2023 Festival



Apply ⋆


Pay What You Can / Flexible Fee Structure

Tuition for WTFringe Lab 23 is offered at 3 price points and a variety of payment plans. Full and partial scholarships are also available. No accepted candidate will be turned down based on financial need. National WTF endeavors to balance diverse economic realities with fair compensation and honoring the value of the work. 

Tuition Tiers

Cohort members may choose the tuition rate that most aligns with their economic reality.

$425 (valued at  $13 per contact hour of virtual instruction)

$650 (valued at $20 per contact hour of virtual instruction)

$775 (valued at $24 per contact hour of virtual instruction)

Payment Plans

Cohort members may elect to pay:

  • A single payment

  • 2 equal installments

  • 4 equal installments

  • An individualized payment arrangement that meets their needs

Scholarship Options

All cohort members may apply for a scholarship. No accepted candidate will be turned down based on their ability to pay. Scholarship recipients are asked to complete either a select number of volunteer hours or provide a final report to the organization. 

Partial Scholarship: Recipient will pay $200 and provide WTF with 10 hours of volunteer service and/or complete a brief final report

Sponsored Scholarship: Recipient will pay $75 and provide WTF with 15 hours of volunteer service and/or complete a brief final report

Full Scholarship: Recipient will attend WTFringe Lab at no financial cost and will provide WTF with 20 hours of volunteer service and/or complete a brief final report

Additional Costs

Cohort members who are not local to the Triangle region of North Carolina will be offered local housing with community hosts for the duration of the Festival. Unfortunately we cannot cover transportation costs for every participant so participants do need to be able to provide their own transportation to and from Raleigh.

Instructors & Curriculum

Johannah Maynard Edwards serves as WTFringe Lab 23’s Lead Instructor/Facilitator. Meg Ledford will serve as the Lab’s TA and Co-Facilitator. Each Seminar session will be led by a guest Teaching Artist expert in the area. Past teaching artists have included JaMeeka D. Holloway, Mikki Marvel, Juliana Valente, and Gina Sandi Diaz. Johannah, along with some special guests, will lead each Practicum session. Past special guests at WTF workshops have included Lauren Kennedy Brady, Vivienne Benesch, and Sally Cade Holmes. The full list of guest Teaching Artists and their bios will be available soon. A full syllabus will also be provided upon acceptance, including required and optional reading and prep work.

The goal of WTFringe Lab 23 is to provide Directors and Producers with the training to work with confidence in their field along with the opportunity to develop collaborative working relationships with like-minded creators from around the country. Together, this cohort will have the opportunity to develop a project from start to finish that will premiere at the 2023 WTFringe Festival. This unique experience combines advanced training, mentorship, and a directing/producing credit at a professional international Fringe Festival. 

Cohort members will be expected to meet and complete tasks related to their WTFringe 23 production in between classes. As the Festival performance approaches, cohort members should expect the workload to increase (as is the case with any production). The cohort will be responsible for deciding on the scope and goals of their project to allow for different levels of comfort, ability, and bandwidth. Johannah and Meg will offer weekly Office Hours. Office Hours are not required, but are available to cohort members for additional support towards their goals. 


Johannah Maynard Edwards (she/her) is the Executive Artistic Director of the National Women\’s Theatre Festival based in Raleigh, NC. She has directed, devised, and produced in NYC, Minneapolis, and the Triangle. Johannah is currently co-creating, directing, and devising THE MOMVERSATIONS PROJECT production and podcast. Other recent directing credits include readings of OUT OF BALANCE by Lindsay Carpenter, NATURAL SHOCKS by Lauren Gunderson (both WTF) and YOU ARE WHAT YOU by Mora V. Harris (Burning Coal) as well as productions of SPACE GIRL by Mora V. Harris (Longleaf School of the Arts) and her original devised work LICKED CUPCAKE (WTF).  

Recent performance credits include GERTIE AND ALICE BY THE SEA (Gertie) by Caridad Svich and ALABASTER (June) by Audrey Cefaly. Her short form video performance 200 DAYS IN was commissioned by the Raleigh Arts Commission’s SEEK Raleigh program. A passionate arts educator, Johannah has been a teaching artist at Raleigh Little Theatre, Arts Together, Sterling Montessori, LearningSpring, NC Governor’s School, and at Longleaf School of the Arts. 

Johannah is a Chief Rep for PAAL, the Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts and serves on the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access through the Office of Raleigh Arts.  She has also served on the SETC Equity Diversity Inclusion + Access Task Force and as the Founding Chair of the SETC Disability Inclusion Committee, and the Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Conference Content Committee. In 2022, Johannah received the LEAD® Award for Emerging Leaders from the Kennedy Center. Johannah is a graduate of NYU/Tisch School of the Arts/Playwrights Horizons Theatre School.


Meg Ledford (she/her/hers) is a Festival Production & Education Apprentice Intern for the National Women\’s Theatre Festival 2023 season. She is currently pursuing her MFA in playwriting at Columbia University. She was the 2021 winner of the Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition for her play Hi! Maintenance. She also works as an actor and has played: #02 (The Wolves), Kayleen (Gruesome Playground Injuries), and Anybodys (West Side Story). 



Apply ⋆