Monday 13th January 2014
Today is the closing date for submissions for this year’s 24:7 Theatre Festival. The deadline is midnight and, because writers love a good deadline, there is a flurry of last minute submissions, including one at 11.59. Well done, that person, you made it. Just.
Thursday 16th January
Submissions are counted, checked (for payment received!) and compiled into a database. The first 10 pages are printed off (well, for those who have remembered to pay the submission fee!), and the Stage One reading process begins. Here, up to 8 readers read and comment on the first 10 pages of every script. They fill in a feedback form with their thoughts, and decide whether to recommend for a full read or decide the play isn’t quite there yet. There’s a few in-between, which is why it’s good to get a cross-section of directors, writers, producers, actors and technicians to read and comment. There’s a lot of quiet reflection and contemplation but 24:7 HQ is buzzing with excitement. Somewhere in this pile of scripts are the plays for this year’s 10th Anniversary Festival!
Friday 17th – Sunday 19th January
The Stage One reading continues. It’s all anonymous, so readers have no idea whose script they are loving or rejecting, laughing at or frowning over, thinking about or scratching their head at. It’s fascinating to get into writers’ minds and worlds, and the range of subjects is quite extraordinary. Tea is drunk, chocolate biscuits are eaten, and some plays are discussed as people really want to share their experience, especially ones there is a real buzz about.
By Sunday 4pm, the final read of the final script at Stage One is complete, and the process begins of compiling a yes file and a no file. Some scripts demand another read – it’s only fair after the work that has gone into them that they are given as much due consideration as possible, and some move from a possible no to a definite yes, and vice versa. Every script has had AT LEAST 5 reads, and most 6 or 7. Over half go through to the 2nd Stage full read, which is very healthy, and the next part of the process can begin.
Tuesday 21st January
For writers who haven’t made it to the next stage, feedback will be given on their scripts. This feedback is collated from comments made by the 5 or more readers at Stage One, and one more reader who goes through all the scripts, just to make sure no gems have slipped through. The feedback will, we hope, provide useful comments for the writer to help them develop their piece or their work in general. We are aiming to send this feedback out in early February.
We will also be publishing ‘general’ feedback on the website – to highlight frequent comments about scripts and offering some advice and guidance for writers.
Meanwhile, second stage scripts are assigned to second stage readers, and the next process begins, where every script is given 2 full reads. From this a longlist will be complied of scripts to be considered for the festival. Some may need more development work (and there will be a mentoring/redrafting process for this, for a re-submission in March); some may go straight through to the 3rd Stage read.
Watch this space…