Directing Fellowship


Under the mentorship of Eric Gibson, Stage Director and Director of Opera and Lyric Theatre at Northern Arizona University, and Chris Niess, Stage Director, Choreographer, and Professor at the University of Central Florida, the IPAI Directing and Stage Management Fellowship offers students practical training, professional development, and resume-building experiences. The program offers three intense weeks of personal instruction, guidance, and skill development for the next generation of directors and stage managers. 


Young stage directors and managers of all levels are welcome to apply. A select group of 2-6 students will be chosen based on their application and interview. Our faculty develop a curriculum of individual coaching and classes on the principles of directing, stage management, and leadership according to the needs and levels of each participant. 


Directing Fellows are assigned either opera or musical theatre scenes to stage or choreograph and function as company stage managers for our performances. Participants may also perform in the Musical Theatre and/or Opera scenes.


Directors with a Musical Theatre emphasis may be invited to Hamburg for the Musical Theatre Intensive to observe and work with the Production and Casting Departments of Stage Entertainment Deutschland. Those with an interest in opera will attend a professional opera performance at a German Theater in Erl, Munich, or another nearby city.



Fellows are encouraged to attend weekly opera and musical theatre master classes that focus on style and interpretation, audition techniques, mind/body awareness, coping with stress and nervousness, the business of performing, career building and more!


IPAI artists start each day with movement, dance, yoga, or stretching classes and learn the practical basics of how to move gracefully on stage. Fellows are welcome to participate or observe in our daily dance, movement, and acting classes and have the opportunity to take individual dramatic coachings. 



Our faculty are fluent in German, French, and Italian. IPAI Artists learn and practice in daily German Language class and by living in a Bavarian village for three weeks. Instruction includes the basics of functional conversational German, an introduction to German culture and etiquette, learning to slate and answer basic audition questions in German,  as well as opportunities for more advanced speakers to refine their language skills. Our artists receive Musical Theatre and lyric diction coaching in German, French, Italian, English, and Czech integrated into their weekly lessons and coaching sessions. 


In addition to professional development & audition workshops, IPAI artists receive one-on-one feedback from each of our esteemed faculty throughout their IPAI residency.  Our three-week training program culminates in  a Next Steps Conference that offers an opportunity to connect on a deeper level with our faculty, strategic planning for the "next steps" of your artistic career, personal advice, and mentorship from our esteemed international faculty artists.


Tuition includes accommodations at Hotel zur Post in Kiefersfelden, a full traditional Bavarian breakfast each morning, and a catered hot lunch with salad bar each afternoon. Students are responsible for dinner each evening and the cost of flights and transportation to/from Kiefersfelden, Germany. 


An unforgettable study abroad that combines a European cultural experience with practical training and professional development opportunities in stage direction and management under the mentorship of world-class stage directors, casting directors, and industry professionals.

Eric Gibson

Stage Director, Director,

Opera/Lyric Theatre

Northern Arizona University

Having taught overseas for several summers, I think many opera programs can vary in the overall quality of the experience. But IPAI is a fantastic organization, small enough to cater to each student's needs, with a faculty-student ratio that is enviable to other programs of its type. Still, it's large enough to attract top-flight faculty and guests drawn from both sides of the pond. Practical curriculum to ease a career into Europe (German language classes, interviews and masterclasses with working European singers and directors, and faculty currently working in their craft) abounds!


This is a fantastic program for any level of singer and I look forward to going back to not only mentor young singers, but to enrich my own artistic life!

Program Coordinators & Contact


CHRIS NIESS (Musical Theatre)

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