Friday, May 21, 2010

Have a New Play with Literary or Historical Themes?

The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, in partnership with the University of Central Florida, is now accepting submissions for its 2011 Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays.

They are specifically looking for new full-length plays and musicals based on or inspired by works of classic literature or historic events and/or persons and profound advancements in science. These need not be limited to events or themes prior to the 21st Century, nor need they be completely based in reality. Their guidelines note that they prefer plays that require six actors or less, and they are happy to see one-person shows. However, even in the case of one-person shows, they are not looking for history lectures or museum piece adaptations that are faithful to a fault, but rather dynamic new theatrical versions of classic stories that speak to the contemporary mindset.

They also welcome new musicals and musical adaptations. For musicals, the cast size isn't as important, but the above requirements for mission and theme still apply.

They are actively soliciting works by Hispanic authors (or works with Hispanic subject matter) for their Hispanic Initiative, although works submitted must be written in English. These works, too, should be inspired by works of classic literature and/or historic events and persons. Past Hispanic Initiative participants include Elaine Romero, Ricky J. Martinez, and Miami's New Theatre.

Patrick Flick, Director of New Play Development for the festival, describes it as "a ten-day theater event in Orlando, Florida packed with dynamic new plays and new play programming for anyone who loves great theater. It's an interactive theatrical maelstrom of readings, workshops, world premieres, seminars, master classes and more."

The festival's mission is to celebrate, cultivate, and present new plays, nurture new playwrights, attract local and national audiences, introduce the Orlando community to new theatrical voices, and provide a marketplace for local and national theater professionals.

PlayFest 2010 was headlined by actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who participated in an "Inside the Actors Studio" style Q&A with Artistic Director Jim Helsinger.

Attendees at PlayFest 2010 included theatre respresentatives from across America including Chicago Dramatists and Atlanta's Horizon Theatre. A full production of John Biguenet's "Shotgun" was the centerpiece of the 2010 PlayFest and was presented as part of a National New Play Network Rolling World premiere in partnership with Southern Repertory Theatre and Florida Studio Theatre.

Next season, they will be presenting Kathleen Cahill's "Charm" as a full production during PlayFest. "Charm" was previously read and work-shopped at PlayFest.

The deadline to submit is August 31, 2010. Go here for a printable pdf of their submission guidelines.


  1. Hm, and my first thought was "why name a festival of new plays after Ann Sothern?"

  2. There's a Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, too. How funny that Ann Sothern's real name sounds phonier than her fake name!