Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ten Minute Playwriting Festival at Northpark Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe

by Jonathan Bushnell

Loie Gail and Haig Koshkarian in "Thank You" by Roger Brookfield, Cheviot, OH
Directed by Loie Gail

The North Park Vaudeville Theater and the North Park Playwright Festival are the result of the dreams of my wife, Summer Golden.  Summer, a playwright and actor, dreamed of running a theater. She also knew, from experience, that getting new plays produced was very difficult. After we met we began producing plays in rented theaters and retirement communities, but Summer still dreamed of having a theater. In 2002 we began serious planning to make the dream happen. In May, 2003, we opened North Park Vaudeville with the mission of providing a place where new plays could be produced and involving all people interested in making theater in our operation. We especially wanted to involve people new to theater.

Jo-Darleen Reardon and Nancy Wong in "Early Call" by William Derringer, Albuquerque, NM
Directed by Gustavo Flores and Sheila Martenies

In October, 2003, we produced the first of what we hoped would become an annual event--the North Park Playwright Festival. We put out a call for short, "ten minute", plays to the local playwright community. We received about 20 plays and chose twelve to produce over two weekends. We found people interested in directing (some for the first time) and acting, organized the rehearsals, and had a successful little festival. The following year a playwright friend asked if he could put out the call for plays to his online playwrighting group and we received 40 plays. Word spread quickly throughout the playwrighting community and submissions grew dramatically. We now receive over 300 plays from around the world annually.

Andrew Pearson and Lynda Bell in "Numbers" by Gregg Kreutz, New York City,NY
Directed by Prim Kanchanastit

Our festival is different than most in that we encourage anyone regardless of experience to participate. We have beginning, as well as very experienced, actors and directors and people of all ages. We have had a play produced that was written by a twelve year old and actors as young as eight and as old as eighty. Over the last five years we have had almost 100 people participating in the festival.

The North Park Playwright Festival is also different from other festivals in that the plays are chosen by the directors.  Directors read all the plays submitted and vote on plays they would like to direct.  The plays produced are those with the most votes.  This makes for a very diverse group of plays as each director has different things they like.  It is not judged by a group of dramaturges as are most festivals.

Each year we involve almost 100 people in making theater through the festival.  Our mission certainly seems to be accomplished!

Visit our website for a free subscription of the ArtsNFashion Magazine. ArtsNFashion Magazine


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grants For Single Moms