The Playwright Cabaret is a place at the TBA Annual Conference for writers to have their work read and seen by colleagues. See below for how to submit your work for consideration.
|Photo: "Playing with fire" by Matthias Weinberger on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.
The Playwright Cabaret “Lucky Thirteen” (i.e., how it all works):
1. Membership. Playwrights must be TBA individual members in good standing through March 31, 2016 to present their work at the conference. (Join here!) Monthly membership holders are eligible. Playwrights who present their work at the Playwright Cabaret will receive half off their conference registration, as will their team members.
2. Selection process. Playwright Cabaret slots will be filled by lottery, with a short waiting list in the event of cancellations, lapsed memberships, etc. Scripts must be received by firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. The selected and waitlisted writers will be notified via email by 5 p.m. that same day. Specific time slots cannot be guaranteed, but cabaret playwrights may trade spots with one another.
3. Venue and length. The Playwright Cabaret will be held in the Berkeley Rep bar. The stage space is tiny. Each slot is 15 minutes long, including setup, reading, and clearing the stage for the next team.
4. Timeliness. A playwright’s team must arrive on time, begin the reading on time, and clear the stage for the next team on time, or become ineligible for the following year’s Playwright Cabaret.
5. Writer participation. Playwrights are not to act in their own plays, read their own stage directions, or participate in any technical or logistical capacity. The whole point is to be free to experience the audience’s reaction.
6. Stage directions. TBA will provide a production assistant (PA) to read stage directions. Please bring a PA script with desired text already highlighted. The TBA PA will not be available to rehearse the script on the day of the reading, so if your stage directions have complex vocabulary or timing, you will want to rehearse and bring your own PA.
7. Teams. Maximum team size is six: the playwright plus up to five team members (actors, outside PAs, directors, etc.). Playwrights are responsible for assembling their teams, furnishing them with scripts, and ensuring that they register for and arrive at the conference. All Playwright Cabaret team members receive half off their conference registration. We encourage writers to share actors, in order to reduce the danger of "no-shows." (This has happened; it was an incredible drag for the playwright.)
8. Stuff on Stage. Music stands and chairs will be provided. That’s pretty much it. Props are heartily discouraged; the space is tiny.
9. Sound. Microphones and sound equipment will not be available (nope, not even a CD player). Simplicity in presentation is best.
10. Choice of material. You must present the same script you send to TBA. You may send more than one script to TBA, but no writer will get more than one slot. Script format may be whatever you like: one short play, several very short plays, or an excerpt from a longer piece. It can obviously address any topic in any style. TBA will not censor, edit, or even correct the spelling in scripts we receive, unless and until the script is published. About that...
11. Publication. Cabaret playwrights may be offered the opportunity to have their short play published on the TBA website and promoted via TBA’s social media channels. This is totally optional; playwrights may absolutely choose to decline. TBA may also decline to publish a script if we have concerns about super disturbing content, but only after a conversation about these concerns with the playwright.
12. Promotion. The Playwright Cabaret readings will be promoted in the conference program, likely as an insert. Please feel free to do your own promotion outside of the conference (email, social media, postcards) to invite people. There will be no room for postcards at the conference registration table, which is the most hectic spot at the entire event. Postcards left there, even accidentally, will be cleared and probably recycled.
13. Share the Love. Please cross-promote and watch the other playwrights’ readings! Support them the way you’d like them to support you.