One of the many things we have at Theatre Unleashed is a playwriting unit. Lots of companies have them – it’s where they internally develop original work. Ours is not terribly formal. Once every few weeks, we get together at a tea house a few blocks from our theater in North Hollywood. Some are ensemble members of TU. Some are friends whose work we respect and want to eventually produce. We swap pages and offer constructive critique. We pitch ideas and solicit feedback. We talk about elements of our current projects we’re struggling with. We share playwriting resources. All with an eye to developing original material that will eventually wind up on our stage. It’s a fun, laid-back, and supportive environment.
During a recent gathering at the Den, I was asked to talk about what I did to get my work published. My writing partner, Mike, and I held a brief impromptu symposium on what we did to get Super Sidekick: The Musical into Samuel French’s catalog, and I provided additional insight from shopping Friends Like These around (which eventually wound up with Steele Spring Stage Rights).
Over the course of the conversation, Mike and I touched upon a plethora of resources we’ve either used or heard about. So, in an effort to make things easier for our Den-izens, I recently compiled a list of links to all of the playwriting resources we’d discussed, and I’ve decided to share them here for your benefit. I hope you find these resources as helpful as I do! For ease and convenience, I have split them up into four categories:
- Playwriting Organizations
- Online Resources
- Festivals & Self-Producing Opportunities
- Miscellaneous Resources
- The Dramatists Guild
The Dramatists Guild – the professional association of playwrights, composers, lyricists & librettists. The Guild is for established writers, but offers a plethora of resources and opportunities to members.
- National New Play Network
The National New Play Network is the country’s alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays. They strive to pioneer, implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new plays and playwrights.
- ALAP | The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights
The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (ALAP) is a service and support organization dedicated to protecting the rights and addressing the professional needs of the Los Angeles playwriting community through providing playwriting resources. Founded in 1992, ALAP has a large and diverse membership of area playwrights ranging from students and beginning writers to established professionals.
- Los Angeles Female Playwright Initiative
The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative is an LA-based movement working to ensure that women playwrights are fairly represented on local stages, and beyond.
- Playwrights’ Center
The Playwrights’ Center champions playwrights and plays to build upon a living theater that demands new and innovative works. Theater begins here.
Online Playwriting Resources
- Play Submissions Helper
A subscription-based service featuring a list of play submission opportunities from around the world. Updated monthly. Subscriptions are $20 per year.
- New Play Map
The New Play Map is a project of the HowlRound: A knowledge commons by and for the theatre community—based at Emerson College on behalf of and in collaboration with the field that seeks to develop opportunities that internet and communication tools have for enabling collaborative, culturally transformative, and globally-scaled resource sharing.
- New Play Exchange
Create profiles for your plays in this online catalogue used by artistic directors, producers, and literary managers searching for new material.
Festivals and/or Self-Producing Opportunities
- Short + Sweet
Short+Sweet is a global festival brand, presenting highly successful Theatre, Dance, Cabaret, and Song Festivals around the world. We provide audiences with exciting and contemporary works that challenge and entertain. Short+Sweet’s mission is to build theatre-going audiences around the world. Short+Sweet made landfall in America in 2016, launching Short+Sweet Hollywood.
- THE SAMUEL FRENCH OFF-OFF-BROADWAY SHORT PLAY FESTIVAL
The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival started in 1975 and is Manhattan’s oldest, continuous short play festival. Pro tip – this is how Samuel French scouts new talent. Just ask Michael Shapiro.
- World Fringe Alliance
The World Fringe Alliance combines the resources of some of the world’s largest festivals to create a conduit for communication, visibility opportunities and cross-festival participation. The members meet annually to reflect on the status of the modern festival and take actions to better the enjoyment of participants and patrons on a global scale. Members include the Edinburgh International Festival, Hollywood Fringe Festival and FringeNYC – The New York International Fringe Festival.
- Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals
CAFF’s member festivals have worked together for more than thirty years to pioneer a made-in-Canada model unique in the Fringe world. Our festivals are designed to put artists and audiences in direct contact, fostering experimentation and discovery on both sides of the fourth wall… A movement for artistic innovation through audience-driven “curation.” Members include the San Diego International Fringe Festival and the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Because Canada.
Miscellaneous Playwriting Resources
- The Official Playwrights of Facebook Public Group
The Official Playwrights of Facebook has over ten thousand members. The purpose behind this group is that, traditionally, being a playwright is difficult work, but succeeding as one is tough as shit. The support, advice, and camaraderie of fellow playwrights is paramount. So, here it is, an attempt to reach across the whole of the international Facebook community to unite playwrights so that we can improve our chances to become vastly wealthy, buy giant mansions, bathe in water imported from the glaciers of Norway, Eugene O’Neill, Henrik Ibsen, and Euripedes, and generally not go crazy. We’ll probably be drinking brandy and wearing monocles, too. Top hats in the bathtub are optional, but highly recommended.
Because Reddit. A subreddit for writing for the stage — from 10 minutes plays to full length productions.
- Post questions about playwriting (format, submissions, etc)
- Converse with other playwrights (share ideas, successes, etc)
- Submit your own work for feedback (pdf is best, via google docs)
- Add articles or websites that other playwrights may find helpful
- HowlRound | Theatre Blog, Reviews, Livestreaming & Creative Commons
A commons by and for people who make performance. HowlRound is a condition—one that results in a howling noise when sound from a loudspeaker is fed back into a microphone. It’s an amplified feedback loop. This idea of a feedback loop represents the condition upon which HowlRound was born five years ago—as a place for artists to provide feedback, learning, expertise, frustration, and vision—in an effort to enliven the fields of theatre and performance to the aspiring and established artist alike.
- Serial Killers at Sacred Fools.
Serial Killers is regular hit factory. Shows that were developed through SK include Absolutely Filthy (Winner – Top of the Hollywood Fringe 2013), The Poe Show, The King of Kong, and more.
So, that’s my list of 17 playwriting resources! Next up will be a list of theatrical publishing companies and how to submit to them. But that’s for another day. Did I miss anything? If so, please post a link in the comments below!
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