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Playwright Cabaret at the 2015 TBA Annual Conference

Posted By TBA Staff, Friday, February 6, 2015

Want to present your work in the Playwright Cabaret?

Submit your script today!


The Playwright Cabaret is, quite simply, a place at the TBA Annual Conference (April 13, 2015) for writers to have their work read and seen by colleagues. See below for how to submit your work for consideration.



Photo: "Cafe Flambe" by user Brain Toad 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 April 30, 2015 to present their work at the conference. Monthly membership holders are eligible. There is no membership requirement for the cast or production assistant (PA). Playwrights who present their work at the Playwright Cabaret will receive free admission to the conference.

2. Selection process. All 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 by 4 p.m. on March 15, 2015. 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, which will be open for business during that time (expect noise and very honest audience reactions!). Each slot is 20 minutes long. Each team has 5 minutes to set up, 10 minutes to read, and 5 minutes to reset the stage for the next team. If you set up and clear quickly you may use the rest of the time however you wish, including announcing your reading verbally to draw a crowd. Common-sense caveat: Do Not Do This During Another Writer's Reading. You Will Go To Playwright Hell, Where You Will Be Forced to Write "Disney On Ice" Adaptations of Epicoene, By Ben Jonson, For All Eternity.

4. Timeliness. If a playwright's full team fails to arrive on time, start on time, or clear the stage for the next team on time, s/he will become ineligible for the following year's Playwright Cabaret.

5. 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 feel the audience taking in your work. 

6. Stage directions. TBA will provide a production assistant (PA) to read stage directions. However, the TBA PA will not be available to rehearse or even read through the script before the reading. So if your stage directions have complex vocabulary or timing, you will want to rehearse and bring your own PA.

7. Cast. Maximum cast size is 6, plus one PA (optional). Playwrights are responsible for casting their shows, furnishing their teams with scripts, and ensuring that their teams register for the conference. Actors and PAs will receive 50% off conference admission. We encourage writers to share actors, 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. Props are heartily discouraged; the space is tiny

9. Sound. Microphones and sound equipment will not be available (nope, not even a CD player). Unplugged singing or instrumental music is fun, sure, but remember: simplicity always wins. 

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, but if you bring promotional materials to the conference, be prepared to carry and hand them out yourself. 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.



Email Laura Brueckner

Tags:  #tbacon15  Annual Conference  playwright  reading 

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