The development of our artistic policy...

When Theatre Upstairs was originally founded, we held a table read of every single submitted script - solicited and unsolicited. This incredible feat was coordinated by Sarah Finlay and Gerard Adlum for many years but as time went on and the scripts multiplied, this once difficult achievement became impossible and we adopted a more traditional submissions policy for subsequent years - whereby scripts were submitted with the potential for feedback, development and with a small percentage being produced.

Now, we recognise the changing nature of what new writing in Ireland is and the need for a more malleable submissions policy as well as the need to encourage artistic collaboration, making it possible for physically driven pieces, musically driven pieces and theatrical creation of all types to be considered for production.

All productions at Theatre Upstairs are produced in association with Theatre Upstairs and we are Ireland's only theatre dedicated to solely staging the world premieres of new plays. In 2017, we will experiment with two more types of new writing, hosting the Edinburgh Festival Previews for a series of comedians during the summer and presenting an Irish Premiere in our final winter season.

The play's the thing...

Theatre Upstairs was created as a home for new writing, a purpose built venue for new work where countless plays have now had their world premieres, many of which have been debut plays for writers. Our mission is to get plays from the page to the stage and each production requires different collaboration with the Theatre Upstairs team with supports varying from dramaturgy to design to marketing to direction and beyond but we do not run a play clinic and we do not commission works. We ask that writers submitting scripts to Theatre Upstairs do so with the aim of co-producing the production and staging the piece at Theatre Upstairs. For writers looking for feedback on their scripts, for script submissions and for script development within a new play clinic, we suggest you contact and submit your work to Fishamble: The New Play Company, the world renowned producer of new plays who run the Fishamble: New Play Clinic. 

Each and every submitted script is read and considered at Theatre Upstairs. Our company directors and associate artists consider and discuss script submissions on an ongoing basis, the frequency of which varies depending on multiple other artistic time demands and because of the high level of submissions, we regret it is not always possible to respond to everyone so, if you don’t hear back within 4 months, it is unlikely that we are interested in taking the project forward at this time. 

If we do take the project forward, the first step will be a table read at Theatre Upstairs. Professional actors receive the script in advance of the reading, there are no cold reads and there is no public admittance. Afterwards, the artistic representatives for Theatre Upstairs and the actors will discuss the text, providing feedback for the writer. Theatre Upstairs is dedicated to seeking out bold new writing and challenging stories, so if you are a writer and would like to send us a script for consideration, please follow these guidelines:

SCRIPT SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 

1) Theatre Upstairs does not accept scripts by email. Please send scripts in hard copy, with a brief synopsis and cover letter describing any previous playwriting experience and contact details, to: Karl Shiels & Laura Honan, Lanigan’s Bar, c/o Theatre Upstairs, 10 - 11 Eden Quay, Dublin 1. Alternatively, you can deliver it personally to this address - please leave with the Clifton Court receptionist.

2) Theatre Upstairs is a new writing venue, therefore we can only accept new plays that have not been produced in their finished state, eg. pieces that have been performed as (clearly advertised) “works in progress” are acceptable. 

3) Before you submit a script to us, we suggest that you familiarise yourself with Theatre Upstairs; come and see the plays being produced here and take a look through some of our previous productions. This should give you a better feel for what we are looking for and help you to submit work that is appropriate for the space.

4) Unfortunately, we cannot consider resubmissions or new drafts of plays we have read and responded to, unless we have specifically requested a new draft.

5) Scripts will be recycled and not returned via An Post.

6) Unfortunately, we cannot accept multiple annual submissions. 

The home of new writing...

Theatre Upstairs recognises that not all new writing can be submitted as a play and we have been very proud to present the world premieres of innovative texts including the entirely physically driven The Words Are There, the theatrical cabaret Gaslights, the immersive stream of consciousness Test Dummy and the sort of musical A Picture Of Us: A Sort Of Musical. As with script submissions, we ask that artists submitting new writing to Theatre Upstairs do so with the aim of co-producing the production and staging the piece at Theatre Upstairs. Alternatively, your production may be a conventionally text driven piece but you already have your full creative team in place and therefore a standard script submission is not the right route for you.

Each and every new writing pitch is read and considered at Theatre Upstairs. Our company directors discuss new writing submissions on an ongoing basis, the frequency of which varies depending on multiple other artistic time demands and because of the high level of submissions, we regret it is not always possible to respond to everyone so, if you don’t hear back within 4 months, it is unlikely that we are interested in taking the project forward at this time.

If we do take the project forward, the first step will be a pitch meeting at Theatre Upstairs and the content of this meeting will vary on a production to production basis. If you are an artist and would like to send us a production breakdown for consideration, please follow these guidelines:

NEW WRITING SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 

1) Please email a production pitch to: info@theatreupstairs.ie with the label NEW WRITING SUBMISSION.

2) Your pitch can include any of the following in addition to any supporting documents you find relevant: details about the creative team involved, writing extracts from the piece, sample videos of the piece, an invitation to any work in progress presentations you’ve got coming up, a story board breakdown, a company history.

3) Theatre Upstairs is a new writing venue, therefore we can only accept submissions that have not been produced in their finished state, eg. pieces that have been performed as (clearly advertised) “works in progress” are acceptable. 

4) Before you submit a pitch to us, we suggest that you familiarise yourself with Theatre Upstairs; come and see the plays being produced here and take a look through some of our previous productions. This should give you a better feel for what we are looking for and help you to submit work that is appropriate for the space.

If you can't work for yourself, who can you work for?

The vast majority of world premieres staged at Theatre Upstairs have been produced with little or no funding and with artists facing staggering unemployments rates, not even nearly enough funding to go around in the arts and the need to express ourselves without always have the means to do so, self producing has become par for the course within contemporary theatre. 

Theatre Upstairs prides itself on supporting emerging companies, debuting rising talent and nurturing new writing from the page to the stage. The process of self producing is incredibly demanding but the rewards, both personally and professionally can be invaluable. 

There are a number of roles and responsibilities that a self producer must undertake in order to succeed. Here's a taste of what it takes:

  • Marketing
  • Budgeting
  • Fundraising
  • Scheduling
  • Gathering Your Creative Team
  • Sourcing Technical Support
  • Keeping The Lines Of Communication Open
  • Crisis Management
  • And countless tasks ranging from the mundane to the insane...

We understand that the role of a self producer can appear daunting but with enough drive, innovation and a willingness to create and adapt, you have every chance of success. 

We look forward to collaborating with you along the way...


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