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Saturday, December 15, 2018

McFarland & Company seeks English-language plays

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Seeking: “First-Person” plays of any length and genre for publication in an upcoming anthology exploring the intersection of Disability and the Performing Arts

Submission timeline: Friday, September 14, 2018 – Friday, December 28, 2018

Overview: This first-of-its-kind critical anthology, to be published by McFarland & Company and slated for a 2020 release, seeks English-language plays (or English-language translations) that explore the realities of being both a performing artist and a person who identifies as—or is seen by others as—disabled. The collection focuses on the labor, the perceptions, the economics, the expectations, and the creative expression inherent in working in the performing arts, and the ways in which disability—in its many forms and faces—interacts, interrupts, and/or transforms those aspects, whether in pragmatic concerns, battling the charitable and freakshow models, or simply attempting to create ones art within a disability context. In addition to encouraging diversity in content, style, structure, and point of view, we are looking for plays that share the following commonalities:

• Scripts told in the “first person” – i.e., they feature one or more characters that speak directly to the audience in a seemingly autobiographical fashion. This may be a one-person show (as in I Am My Own Wife, Black N Blue Boys, etc.) or a show with a larger cast (as in Wit, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, etc.). These “autobiographical” characters can either be fictionalized (as with Wit and Hedwig), true representations of the playwright’s lived experiences (as with Sherry Jo Ward’s Stiff or Neil Marcus’s Storm Reading), or somewhere in-between. The possibilities include everything from “TED talk”-style solo works to ensemble-devised post-dramatic explorations to meta-theatrical treatments of Richard III. Authors are encouraged to submit boldly!

• In addition to having experience in the performing arts, playwright(s) should be one of the following:
(1.) someone who self-identifies as Disabled (under any model of the word)
(2.) someone who belongs to a group/demographic that is often deemed disabled by society/the medical community, whether they accept that term or not (example: those who identify Deafness as cultural rather than medical, etc.)
(3.) In some cases, “Disability-adjacent” playwrights (i.e., playwrights who have an immediate family member/loved one who is disabled, who have served as a caretaker, aid, or assistant for someone with a disability, etc.) may be considered, however, their submission must be specifically from that point of view, and not attempt to “wear” disability themselves.

• “Disability,” for the purposes of this project, is an intentionally broad term. It includes “impairments” and “disorders” (whether physical, emotional, or cognitive, and whether the term is adopted by the person in question, their doctor, or society); alternative limbs; neurodiversity; disfigurement, life-threatening illness, etc., as well as chronic pain, prescription medication addiction, and other related situations that often carry medical and social stigma. Considerations of medical, social, labor, and/or any other models of disability are welcome into the submissions process.

• “Performing Arts” has also been intentionally left as a very broad term. Though the collection currently focuses on traditional stage theatre, authors with other ideas are encouraged to get in touch.
Other important information:

• Plays which explore intersectional aspects of disability and performance, including race, gender identity, economics, sexuality, religion, citizenship, age, etc., are especially encouraged.

• Playwrights whose plays are selected for inclusion will be asked to grant limited, non-exclusive rights to the editor and publisher, restricted to the singular purpose of this anthology. The playwright will retain all rights to the play, both for performance and other publishing opportunities.

• Plays of any length and any genre, previously performed or not, are welcome. Musicals/plays with original songs are welcome for consideration if accompanied with either sheet music or audio recordings.

Please submit scripts in PDF to TheAccessibleStage@gmail.com.

The author’s name should *not* appear on the script. Instead, please include a separate PDF with a cover letter, all contact information, a brief biography, and—if applicable—any reviews/materials from past productions of the submitted play.

Accessibility note for users of screen-readers: the email address for submissions is The Accessible Stage at g mail dot com.

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