To say our Spring 2016 Scripts in Play Festival was a success is a bit of an understatement (if I do say so myself). It isn’t every new play festival that comes away with a brilliant team of fresh local collaborators, not to mention a new play for its upcoming season. So, naturally, why not do it all over again?
Because we’re still on artistic overload from the incredible crop of plays from this spring, we’ve decided to spread out our Scripts in Play process from a festival into a series, meaning that Avant Bard will be host at least two readings during each of its mainstage productions. Interested in submitting? Read on!
What is Scripts in Play? The Scripts in Play Reading Series is a testing ground for both new and classic works that adhere to Avant Bard’s mission of producing plays that are artistically, thematically, and linguistically challenging and push the boundaries of what constitutes a classic text. The Festival’s mission is twofold: to produce contemporary and classic works that may find their way into a future Avant Bard season; and to provide a forum for emerging DC playwrights, directors, actors, and other theatre artists.
• Classic Plays: Lesser-known works by established writers of the theatrical canon who tend to have the same few works produced again and again; new translations and adaptations of classic texts (e.g., Rebecca Wahls’ adaptation of Dido, Queen of Carthage); works by playwrights who fall outside the category of oft-produced dead-straight-white-men (e.g., Friendship Betrayed, an English translation of a play by a 17th-entury female Spanish playwright). We’re especially interested in works that fall outside of the Western literary canon or speak to underrepresented voices.
• Contemporary Plays: Classically-inspired plays or adaptations by living writers that we are seriously considering for future seasons, not necessarily by local playwrights (e.g., Lauren Gunderson’s Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Tonight or Sarah Ruhl’s Dear Elizabeth).
• New Plays: Works by local playwrights that fit within our basic artistic premise and who would benefit from a workshop experience and an opportunity to have their work seen by other DC artists (e.g., Anna Lathrop and Katherine Clair’s First Citizen and Jonelle Walker’s TAME.)
• Diversity: We achieved 50 percent gender parity with playwrights and directors at our 2016 festival, which is awesome. This year, we’ll be working particularly to give voice to writers of color, as well as non-Western/non-English-language plays (while keeping up the gender-equity momentum, of course).
• Comedy: All three of our 2016/2017 plays—TAME., The Gospel at Colonus, and King Lear—are pretty serious, and we’d love some levity to balance out these mainstage shows. So if you’re good at funny, bring on the jokes! (Non-funny is certainly still eligible, of course, so not to worry.)
• Connections: We encourage you to read about next season’s plays and consider how your play might be in conversation with them. It’s certainly not required, but we may consider thematic and artistic connections when planning the series.
When can I apply? Readings will take place during the run of our three mainstage productions, so there will be three deadlines to submit plays over the course of our 2016/2017 season. The deadline to be considered for a reading in conjunction with TAME., the first of our mainstage productions, is Friday, September 2. There will be other opportunities to submit for readings during the run of The Gospel at Colonus and King Lear (likely in December and March, but stay tuned for details), and we will keep plays not selected for TAME. in consideration for later readings.
When will I hear back? All selections for our TAME. readings will be made within a month of the production, so you will hear back from us with an answer either way in early October.
How else can I be involved? If you’re interested in performing in a Scripts in Play reading, feel free to email Artistic and Executive Director Tom Prewitt at firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume, headshot, and inquiry. If you’re interested in being a reader, email me at email@example.com for details!