Feb 072017
 

CHANDLER ANNOUNCES 2017 VERMONT ISSUES PLAYWRITING CONTEST

Contact: Chandler executive director, 802-728-9878, director@chandler-arts.org

Chandler Center for the Arts, 71-73 Main Street, Randolph VT

 

Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph (VT) is pleased to announce its third issues playwriting contest. With the renewed support of the Walter Cerf Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, Chandler will again be using the contest to promote excellent writing for the stage, giving particular focus to plays that address social issues.

“Social issue” plays are, for the purposes of this contest, plays that frame and delve into pressing topics important to Vermont communities, topics which either affect Vermonters today or have affected Vermonters in the past. Writers from Vermont, or those with a strong Vermont connection, are invited to submit to Chandler original plays on social issues with a running time of at least 45 minutes. Submissions may be made by electronic or snail mail, and must either be received electronically by midnight on May 31st or be mailed with a postmark no later than May 31st.

Accompanying each submission must be a $20 entry fee, a description of the play’s record of past public presentation if applicable, and a statement confirming that the play has not yet been produced professionally. For an additional fee of $15, a second script may be submitted by the same playwright. Entry fees, sponsorship support, and ticket sales make it possible for Chandler to produce the contest. If fewer than ten scripts are submitted by May 31st, the contest will be canceled and the fees will be returned.

Scripts will be evaluated by judges with theater experience, who will select up to five finalists based on the quality of the writing (language, characterization, dramatic structure) and the clarity with which the focal issue is presented. Their selection will be final.

Finalists will be notified by August 31st, and each will receive a $100 cash prize. Each finalist play will be given a staged-reading production in Chandler’s Upper Gallery between September 2017 and May 2018.

The staged readings will be scheduled and promoted by Chandler as an Issues Play Series, readings being performed by non-Equity actors guided by experienced directors. After the readings, panelists with expertise in the issue(s) raised will participate in post-performance talkbacks moderated by the directors. The play’s authors will be encouraged to attend, but their costs to do so will not be covered by the contest.

 

 

OVERVIEW AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR PARTICIPANTS

The purpose of this third contest is again to promote excellent writing, by Vermont writers, for the Vermont stage. Its particular focus is “social issue” plays: plays that frame and delve into pressing topics important to Vermont communities, either those issues relevant today or those that have affected Vermonters in the past.

Eligibility

  • Any play entered into the contest must be original, and must not have been professionally produced before the end date of the contest (May 31, 2017). Plays that have received a workshop performance or a staged reading are eligible; plays that have been performed by Equity actors for a paying audience are not.
  • Each play entered must deal with a social issue:  for example, the rights of farm workers working illegally in the U.S. or Vermont’s early stand against slavery. The play may examine the issue in terms of its public ramifications (e.g., court cases, legislation, media coverage) or its private impact (e.g., personal and domestic relationships.) Eligibility of a particular topic should be confirmed with the contact below before time is devoted to writing a play on that topic for submission to the contest.
  • Plays for children, as well as for adults, are eligible.
  • Single-character plays are eligible, but monologues are not.
  • One-act plays are eligible, but any script submitted must have a running time of at least 45 minutes.
  • Scripts may be no longer than 120 pages, in 12-point font and with margins of 1 inch on each side of the page.
  • Authors may submit two plays, in which case two registration forms are required but only one application form is needed.

 

Submission process

  • Entries by electronic mail are preferred. Each entry must consist of a PDF of the script, accompanied by the author’s application form and the play’s registration form. The pages must be numbered, and the script must be fronted by a cover page containing only the title, not the author’s name. This submission must be sent to director@chandler-arts.org no later than midnight on May 31st. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted, nor will post-submission corrections.
  • Entries by regular mail will also be accepted. Each entry must consist of three copies of the script, accompanied by the author’s application form and the play’s registration form. The pages must be numbered, and the script must be fronted by a cover page containing only the title, not the author’s name. This submission must be sent to Chandler, ATTN: CONTEST, 71-73 Main Street, Randolph, VT 05060, postmarked not later than 5 PM on May 31st. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted, nor will post-submission corrections.
  • For a submission by regular mail, the entry fee of $20 for a single play or $35 for two plays should be included, via a check made out to Chandler. For an electronic submission, a check for the fee(s) should be sent to Chandler via regular mail.
  • Receipt of the script(s) and the fee(s) will be confirmed within two weeks.
  • If a playwright wishes the return of materials submitted by regular mail, he/she should include in his/her submission a stamped, self-addressed return envelope.

 

Limitations:  If less than 10 scripts are submitted by May 31st, the contest will be canceled and entry fees will be returned.

 

Judging criteria

  • Judges will evaluate scripts on the basis of the quality of the writing – specifically, the language, characterization, and dramatic structure — (65%) and of the clarity with which the focal issue is presented (35%). At the end of their review, the judges will also rate the overall impact of the play. If two scripts are tied on the basis of the numerical criteria, the overall-impact rating will be used to break the tie.
  • The judges will choose up to five finalist plays, and each play chosen will be awarded a $100 cash prize plus a staged reading.
  • Since the judges’ review of the scripts will be blind and authors may submit two scripts, it is possible that two finalist scripts may be written by a single author. Even should this be the case, the decisions of the judges shall be final.

 

Notification to the finalists:

  • Each finalist will be notified by August 31st. At that time he/she will be asked to confirm in writing the certifications made at entry: that the script submitted is his/her original work and has not been professionally produced, and that he/she does have a Vermont connection.
  • If such certifications are made, the cash prize will be sent to the winning playwright and planning will begin for the staged reading of the play during Chandler’s 2017-18 season.

 

Staged readings of the finalist plays

  • For each finalist play, Chandler will choose a director with experience suited to the particular character of the script; this choice will be final. The director will cast the play with experienced non-Equity actors from throughout the region; his/her casting will be final.
  • Between September 2017 and May 2018, the reading will be scheduled for performance in Chandler’s Upper Gallery based on both the availability of the director and the non-contest programming scheduled for that space.
  • After each reading, a talkback panel moderated by the director may include panelists selected for their connection to the current social issue with which the play is concerned. Audience comments about the script will be transcribed and shared with the finalist author if the author is not present.
  • Finalist authors will be encouraged to attend these readings and talkbacks, but the contest cannot cover any expenses they might incur to do so.

For clarifications about anything in the above material, or questions about topics not covered, please contact director@chandler-arts.org

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