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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Midwinter Madness Seeks Children's Plays for February 2014

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Dear Friend in the Theatre,

Every small theatre company in the country is aware of the possibilities of children's theatre (meaning, for me, theatre performed by adults for children and their parents). Why? Because children's-theatre audiences are populated by people whose only requirement is that they have children (or be children). If you perform children's theatre and market it properly, you can expect regular audiences of people who otherwise wouldn't think of going to a play.

The Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival, now in its 4th season, is inaugurating a Children's Theatre Division. We are searching for companies who want to try out new material in this genre, either to see it on its feet, test it with a young audience, or develop an audience for themselves.  To create a special focus for the genre, we're reserving special slots early on weekend mornings and in the daytime on Thursdays and Fridays (Mondays through Wednesdays are reserved for tech rehearsals).

Here are the salient details of the Festival:
Dates for the Festival are Feb. 10 - Mar. 1, 2013.
We are looking to expand on last year's Festival, with 2 theatres.

Plays should run 30-45 minutes or 45-60 minutes. Better short than long.  The plays will be timed at tech and cannot go over.

Scripts should be submitted in standard playscript format.*

Any subject matter okay, including musicals.

The Festival will not combine shorter plays to make full programs. All plays must be off-book. There will be no staged readings. We have no interest in shows that require projections or other special effects. Smoke and fire are prohibited.

Production requirements must be minimal: rehearsal cubes, a table or two, some chairs (all provided by the Festival), and your own props and costumes. There is some storage during your run only.

Tickets will be $14-17. There are no fees. The Festival splits the door with the shows, giving the shows half the net (the net is defined as 40 percent of the maximum-sized house). (This feature is new this year.)
Festival participants may see their own and other shows for free, seating permitting. Seating is reserved for producers, writers, and directors at their own shows. We honor press comps, by reservation. No comps may be transferred to anyone else. There are no other comps.
We prefer shows to be non-Equity. Equity showcases may be permitted under special circumstances.

The Festival will provide a press agent, venue manager, lighting designer, and box-office manager. You must provide your own board op. (The Festival has a list of available qualified technical staff from which you may draw. They are competent and reasonably priced.)
While the Festival provides the venue and staff, you must provide the production. Roy Arias Studios may offer discounts on rehearsal space, at its own discretion. The Festival will provide 10 hours of free rehearsal time, during "off-peak" hours, probably at Roy Arias Studios.

There will be a tech rehearsal running 2.5 times the running time of your show, during business hours on Thurs. and Fri.

All performances will take place from 6 pm to 11 pm weekdays or 11 am to 11 pm weekends.

Each show will receive at least 3 performances, probably all in the same week. Shows that sell the most tickets in advance may receive more performances.

The Festival will provide a program "wrapper": you must provide a program specific to your show, and insert it into the wrapper for distribution to your patrons.

There will be a juried award ceremony after the Festival. Last year's awards were combined with the Midtown International Theatre Festival Awards, held in Sept. 2013.

*12 pt Times Roman; character names in the middle on their own line; line spaces between speeches and stage directions; indented stage directions; 1" margins all around.

Festivals are an easy, cheap, and fun way to see your work on its feet. To submit a script, send it as an attachment in .doc or .pdf format to john.chatterton@gmail.com. Any questions, don't hesitate to shoot me an E-mail!


John Chatterton
Executive producer, Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival, Midtown International Theatre Festival, and Short Play Lab

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