To follow is a first draft proposal of terms for a plan to create a viable pipeline of locally grown new plays here in Seattle, incorporating the deep resources of the large Regional Theatre houses as well as the risk tolerance and experimental acumen of the smaller “fringe” producers. It was drafted by Jim Jewell, Public Relations Manager at the Seattle Children’s Theatre and all-around Northwest theatre thinker/activist.
Seattle Local Playwright Initiative
A partnership between one of the LORT theatres and a fringe theatre with a dedicated space to encourage the ongoing development and production of plays by local playwrights, with a starting timeline of three years.
The partner organizations will choose two plays each year to be produced in the fringe theatre with marketing and artistic support from the LORT house. The fringe house commits to producing six such plays over three years, and the LORT house commits to producing one play of the six as part of their mainstage programming no later than the season that follows the third year.
The initial playwright pool will be drawn from Seattle-based applicants to the program and any local playwrights with whom either of the partner organizations has an existing relationship. One play per playwright will be submitted to a reading pool, to be read and commented on by artistic staff at each partner organization (one page response to each play by each organization). The partner organizations will then meet and come to a consensus on two plays to produce each year; in the absence of consensus, each partner organization will select one play.
The fringe house will act as primary producer of all six initial productions, acting as lead for design, production, promotion and execution, and will staff all admin, front of house and crew. As primary producer, the fringe house accepts the majority of financial risk and reward.
The LORT house will provide artistic support, including dramaturgy and design, promotion support, including production and distribution of print and electronic marketing materials, and technical support. The LORT house will also be asked to advocate to AEA and/or IATSE for any union artists or technicians interested in working on the productions.
The expectation is that the minimal one production at the LORT house that comes from the partnership will be given institutional and budgetary support on par with other productions in the season in which it is performed.
Both partner organizations benefit from positive PR generated; six local playwrights get the opportunity to draw on the best the fringe and LORT theatres have to offer to develop their work, with one receiving a full production; the LORT theatre is able to locally outsource some measure of workshopping; fosters more direct relationship between local playwrights and largest institutions; offers and opportunity to develop a local voice in theatre that may help speak to untapped audiences for both LORT and fringe theatres.
I do not want to make any substantive comments here because I really do want to hear what you have to say, but it must be pretty obvious how I feel about it given that I am posting it here under the title above.
Let the feedback frenzy begin!