We did not what to expect when we put out our call for submissions into the great, wide open on April 1. But our hope was that not all the excellent plays had already been written – that there were new works out just about ready for an audience to fall in love with.
Now, two and a half weeks and 262 scripts into this process, we are feeling like our hope was well-founded. Granted, we’re basing this assessment on only the first 30 pages of any given script, since that is what we requested our playwrights submit at this stage.
Still waiting to hear back from the city on some plans, but assuming things go forward as intended, and hoping to open our first show before the end of July 2018, we’re planning on cutting off the submission window for plays to be considered for our inaugural production at midnight on April 21, 2018. That doesn’t mean we won’t accept submissions after that date, as we’re hoping to fill out the rest of our 2018-2019 season. So you clever playwrights out there, please do submit that lovely thing you’ve been working on.
Before the end of the month, we plan to request the rest of the script from the top contenders. (Note: We’ve received some submissions for excellent plays that would work better during another part of the year. We plan to revisit those after we’ve selected our first show. So if you’ve written an excellent spooky script, or something perfect for the holidays, we hope you’ll understand if we want to hold off for now.) Then we’re hoping to make our final determination by mid-May. Eventually, we hope to give ourselves a little more breathing room for these kinds of things, but for now, we’re wanting to hit the ground running and we’re wanting to make a great impression with that first play.
And here’s the bottom-line good news. It’s starting to feel like the hard thing won’t be coming up with a play that makes a great first impression; the hard thing will be narrowing it down to a single one.
We’ve received some questions from playwrights regarding our call for submissions for our inaugural season. Much of this is being worked out as we go along, but we’ll share what we do know at this stage. Don’t see something you’re wondering about, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What is the approximate date of your inaugural play?
A. Uncertain at this point, as we are working through a couple remaining permit issues, but in broad strokes, we’re working toward putting up our inaugural play in Summer 2018.
Q. How many performances of a play do you intend?
A. This is to be determined, but at this point, we’re thinking runs of 3-4 weeks, with 4-5 performances a week.
Q. What do you expect of the playwright? Meeting with production staff, director, attend rehearsals, opening night, etc?
A. We are hoping to have an ongoing line of communication with the playwright, possibly including seeking further development of the script (recognizing, of course, that the script is the playwright’s baby and the playwright has final say), online participation at readings, periodic online attendance at production meetings, periodic availability for online consultation with cast and crew during the rehearsal process, and online availability for media interviews as production nears. If any of this can be done in person, that would be terrific, but we recognize that it may not be practical, and technology can be our friend that makes remote participation possible. In short, we’re hoping for a truly collaborative experience for all involved throughout the process. If you’re comfortable with that, then The Hive Collaborative could be a good fit for you.
Q. Will you have a spotlight?
Q. Do you envision your seating wrapping around the stage?
A. While we have some flexibility, our basic set up will be about six rows of 13-14 seats each, with each row on risers facing the stage directly in front of them.
Q. Do you plan any play specific merchandising?
A. We’ll have some Hive merchandise, but would be open to play specific merchandising.
And on the 13th day, by lunchtime, 122 scripts had arrived. So we headed to Sweeto Burrito on University and ordered their carnivore to split (with a side of tots) and a pair of large dark beverages and got to work.
We reviewed each play’s synopsis and other “pre-read” factors, then negotiated who gets to read what over the weekend between weddings and things.
I think my “S” key still has some dried burrito juice on it.
While we continue working on the necessary permit to throw open our doors to the public as a theater (something about the location of a door – working on it), we’ve thrown open the submission door to playwrights anywhere our website reaches. Our hope is to start building our 2018-2019 season with amazing new works.
We opened our call for submissions last weekend on April 1, 2018. Our first entry came within hours of posting our guidelines. It’s a well-written drama from a Canadian playwright. In the first week, we’ve received a total of 36 submissions. We weren’t sure what to expect in terms of quantity of submissions, as The Hive Collaborative doesn’t exactly have a track record to share with playwrights considering whether to expend the effort to submit (having been on the other end of that process many time, we know what a time-consuming process that can be), nor do we yet have a wide online following. But we’re pleased that people are finding us, and we’re pleased with what we’ve seen thus far in submissions from local playwrights as well as playwrights from afar.
So far, we’ve been calibrating our evaluation system (hopefully helpful hint: the items on the submission form above the “attach script field” are important — not as important as the script, of course, in terms of weighting, but still factors pretty high in the scoring system we’re developing and into the order in which we’re reading the first 30 pages), after which we hope to start digging in in earnest. We plan to not wait until the end of the four-month submission window to review the scripts, as we’d prefer to not let things get too back-logged. Plus, we’ve got a hankering to start developing projects sooner than later. So if you’ve got something out of the oven, feel free to send it our way.
A note about “wow.” We mentioned in our submission guidelines that we’re looking for something with a “wow” factor in it. We know that might sound a bit naive and rub some people the wrong way, but we hoped there would be those who would get what we’re after (we’ll be, after all, a small theater with new works competing against more established theaters featuring known works – we’re going to need a little extra something). One playwright who submitted suggested that our request for “wow” should be a good story told well, and we don’t disagree with that. But if we can find a good story told well with a little bit of wow included to boot, we’re going to lean toward that.
To all who have submitted so far, thank you. You’ve already made for some interesting lunchtime conversations as we kick around the possibilities your scripts offer.
We had 20 minutes between meetings on Thursday. Could we shoot our call for submissions video in a 20-minute window? Ken said we should go for it. We got close, but then people started showing up for our 4 pm meeting, so we had to pull the plug, three lines shy of our full script.
We found ourselves with a few more free minutes the next day, but we weren’t wearing the same clothes. But we also didn’t have enough time to shoot the whole thing over, plus who could be expected to recreate that caliber of acting, I ask you? So we decided to just shoot the three lines and hope that nobody noticed our continuity issue.
In any case, the main point is this: while we’re working through the various permit issues with the city, we’re hoping to use the time to find one or more projects that make us go “wow.” We’re a new theater, we know, so getting the word out will be a little tricky, but we’re going to try. Did we mention there’s a cash prize?
In any case, here’s the video. You didn’t notice any continuity issues with our wardrobe, did you?