Putney Theater Company Drama Writing Competition Open

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The Putney Theater Company has opened applications for its annual writing festival, which will give amateur playwrights the chance to have their work performed on stage.

Registration for the New Writing Festival closes at 5 p.m. on November 25, after which a panel chaired by New Writing Director Rebecca Marangos will select four plays to be presented at the Putney Arts Theater May 3-7.

To ensure anonymity in the application process, scripts should not contain contact details or personal information.

The Putney Theater Company has hosted the New Writing Festival for the past two years, exploring the subject of “Revolutions” in 2019 and “Truth or Dare” in 2020 through a selection of 15-minute plays.

“Truth or Dare” had to be played online on Zoom due to the pandemic, but it is hoped that the next festival will appear in front of a live audience.

Marangos decided to expand the dramaturgy guidelines in anticipation of this by requesting one-act plays lasting 45 minutes, set in any genre or historical period.

While she admits that many apps from previous years often skipped set topics, her decision to drop thematic guidelines was implemented largely to give playwrights more creative freedom.

“I want something that will spark discussion outside of the theater,” Marangos said.

As Covid-19 is still talked about regularly, Marangos would prefer playwrights to choose to dissect other topics that are not as prevalent in public consciousness.

Theatre503 in Battersea runs a similar program for playwrights who have not yet been professionally produced, called 503Five, offering successful applicants a start-up commission of £ 2,000.

By comparison, New Writing is a charity and therefore cannot pay its authors.

That being said, the lack of financial incentive did not affect Marangos’ pulling power as she revealed that a tsunami of scripts from around the world had already appeared in her inbox.

In fact, the festival has grown in popularity since switching to Zoom last year, as the online portal has drawn more viewers than the 140-seat Putney Arts Theater.

RETURN IN PERSON: An exuberant audience at the Putney Arts Theater. Credit: Putney Arts Theater

Although ticket sales are an important facet of any theatrical event, Marangos always focuses on uncovering various talents as a playwright.

“I want to explore all these people sitting at home going wild with imagination,” she added.

With scripts already piling up on her desk, there will be plenty of imaginative content to sift through as she struggles to find the rising voices of English theater.

Applications or festival-related questions should be emailed to Rebecca Marangos at [email protected].

Featured Image Credit: Putney Arts Theater


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