The week slowly winds down, with Friday coming sooner than one would expect. Another whirlwind beginning to the academic year. Faculty meetings, committee meetings, design meetings, interest meetings, meetings to devise the best time to meet so that we can plan meetings that will then be used to discuss future meetings. And then I find time to finally teach and begin shop preparations for our first production. And it is this first production I want to touch on today.
In just over a month Theatre Westminster will present it’s FIRST ever 10-Minute New (And Nearly New) Play Festival. I wanted to give all of our fans out there a bit of history how this developed, and where we wish for it to go. During the Spring of 2012, Dr. Scott Mackenzie and I began talking about what we would like to do for the “fourth” show in our non-musical season. In the past this has been a student directed production of some sort. The problem we began to run into is that our most qualified students were graduating, and we were still in the process of training the up and coming students so they would have all the necessary tools to properly direct a full length play. As we bounced ideas off of each other, the idea to do a small 10-Minute Play Festival was broached.
“Let’s allow some of the students we would like to see direct in the future direct a 10-minute play as part of a festival. They can search through 10-minute playbooks and choose what they are interested in.”
Brilliant! And so I began doing a bit of research. I talked to a couple of students, and found out there might be interest in student writing their own pieces. This sounded like a wonderful way to get the students involved. And the next thing you know I’ve sent a letter gauging interest to the Westminster College community. I even posted something on my Facebook page so that alumni of Westminster might see it. At the same time, I casually mentioned to my FB friends that if they knew of people who wrote 10-minute pieces to contact me.
It was then that I got a message from a friend that I had worked with many years before at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. She had some connections to 10-minute playwrights through several festivals she had been a part of.
Whoa, wait, have playwrights from around the country submit their works. Little Westminster College, hosting a festival with brand new works from across the country. Could it actually happen? I wrote the letter, sent it out to several contacts, posted it once again for the Westminster community, and thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll get 10-20 submissions.”
As July 1st came closer and closer, I began to worry. The submissions were around the 10 mark. I calmed myself with the thoughts that this was the first year. That it would be better next time. And then it happened.
49 submissions. 49 plays. 49 scripts to read. Only 8 spots for the plays to fit neatly in to. 49 PLAYS!
So, needless to say, it has been hectic since July 1st. With 6 readers, we narrowed down the choices to the top 8 plays. I contacted to playwrights to let them know they were chosen. And I began hunting for directors. Our director pool is made up of 2 full time faculty, 1 adjunct, 1 alumni, 1 staff member, and 3 students. Our auditions happen on September 2nd and 3rd. And the shows open on October 3rd.
And with that, I want to tell any and all prospective students, current students, and alumni, that Westminster College can do anything that a giant university can do. In less than a month, we will be opening several WORLD PREMIERES. And I couldn’t be prouder of the students, staff, faculty and alumni in their support.
This is what makes Westminster College such a great place to be a part of.