JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Directing Fellowship

Summer 2017: Application deadline March 15, 2017

Emily Martin
Emily Martin, 2013 Stage Director Intern,
at work with Paul Houghtaling

The National Opera Association's JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Directing Fellowship provides funding to aspiring Opera Stage Directors as they begin their careers. This Fellowship is open to Music or Theater graduate students, or early career post-academics, with an interest in Opera Stage Direction. The Fellowship winner will receive the following:

  • A Fellowship stipend towards application, tuition, travel, and/or housing to any summer opera stage director program (multiple awards of up to $1000 are possible)
  • If the applicant has not been offered a contract at a summer program, NOA will provide expedited application to one of the many such programs that are run by NOA members.
  • The winner will be offered the opportunity to present a session at the next subsequent NOA National Convention, detailing their experiences.


An applicant must have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Music or Theatre. The person selected will have experience in stage direction and keen interest in opera and working with singers. The Fellow will be at or near the beginning of his/her professional career as a stage director. Those working as Assistant Director or in Production are welcome to apply, however special consideration will be given to those applicants in a mentored program.

Application Materials:

  • An updated Resume or CV
  • Web link(s) to a scene or performance directed by applicant
  • Web link to a short (5-10 minutes) video showing them in a rehearsal process
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Brief statement of the applicant's professional goals

Please send all application materials to:

Application deadline: March 15, 2017

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Samuel Mungo, Stage Director Intern Chair, at

2015 Stage Director Intern: Jen Stephenson

This past summer, the National Opera Association's Stage Directing Internship program afforded me the opportunity to study and work at the Druid City Opera Workshop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Through this program, founded and directed by Paul Houghtaling, I was able to work with various knowledgeable and talented leaders of our industry who offered me supportive and enthusiastic instruction as I directed several opera scenes performed by emerging professional artists.

I could not have been more thrilled with the program, learning a wide variety of important skills and tools that will be essential to me as I continue to forge ahead in my career. Each of the faculty was engaging and truly passionate about their craft, and all expressed their availability to me to ask questions and advice of them during the program and beyond.

I am grateful for the wonderful experience that I had at the Druid City Opera Workshop, and thankful to the National Opera Association's Stage Directing Internship Program for allowing me the opportunity to work with such a fantastic and dedicated group of professionals!

Jen Stephenson


2014 Stage Director Intern: Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller
Joshua Miller, 2014 Stage Director Intern

The Opera Stage Director Intern Committee is pleased to announce the 2014 intern. Joshua Miller is currently a doctoral student in the Butler Opera Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Miller studies directing with Dr. Robert DeSimone and is enrolled in the Arts Management Portfolio Program through the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. His current lecture recital thesis is “The Lyric Acting Application of W. Timothy Gallwey’s book The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance.” Miller has served as an assistant director for La traviata (Wolf Trap Opera Company), Les Misérables (ZACH Theatre), Le Nozze di Figaro & Turandot (Austin Lyric Opera). His most recent directing credits include Sweeney Todd (Butler Opera Center), The Rape of Lucretia (Spotlight on Opera), Cesti’s Orontea (UT Early Music Ensemble), Little Women (Spotlight on Opera) and The Magic Flute (Concord University). He also directed “The Pagliacci Project,” a touring outreach opera for Austin Lyric Opera. During the summer of 2014 Miller will assistant direct Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel as a member of The Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists Program.

Joshua will be working with the opera program at Texas State University in San Marcus, Texas. Dr. Samuel Mungo director of opera studies will be serving as his mentor.

2013 Stage Director Intern: Emily Martin

I wanted to thank you so much for the opportunity you gave me with Paul Houghtaling and the Druid City Opera Workshop through the NOA Directing Internship.  It was an incredible experience and I was very thankful to have been a part of Paul’s wonderful program.  The talented singers were very prepared so staging and working with them was rewarding and exciting.  Paul was a great mentor – always available and willing to talk but at the same time letting me explore and express my ideas in my staging.  The collaboration between all of the faculty could not have been more supportive.  I feel as if I have made wonderful connections with these colleagues and I look forward to working with them all again in the future.

Thank you again for this opportunity.  It was truly wonderful.

Emily Martin-Moberley