Around four times a year CAST IRON THEATRE produces evenings of short plays by local, and sometimes not so local, writers at the SWEET DUKEBOX THEATRE. We welcome new writers, actors and directors.
CAST IRON THEATRE is a true collective. We meet regularly to share ideas and writing - get encouragement and suggestions from fellow members, before finishing the final draft. Selected plays are then given to our small rep-style company who stage the work with our guidence. We also accept plays from writers we haven't met, so if you have a piece you think is ready, send it to us.
Our short play nights are a wonderful opportunity if you're a first time writer, director or actor because the ethos of the company is that we help and support each other. It's a great way to test and develop your skills.
We are always accepting submissions and declarations of interest throughout the year, although we do have submission windows so keep in touch on social media to see when the next short play deadline is coming up.
Our next submission window is opening very soon - check out our notes to Writers for submission details. Send your plays or any questions to email@example.com .
These are guidelines. Not hard and fast rules. Get in contact if you want to discuss anything.
DIRECTORS At Cast Iron Theatre there is no audition process. Directors are asked to make their interest known for each performance block by contacting us. Also, see our notes for Actors for ways of getting to know us. Selected scripts are then matched with a director and cast by Cast Iron Theatre's Artistic Directors. We have found that this usually matches directors to scripts that they find interesting/challenging, or directors who are best suited to the piece. It also lessens the risk of directors and actors always working with the same people / same writers, so that we are able to give new people - in whatever capacity - more of a chance. You'd be well advised to avoid too much in the way of set - tables, chairs and the like. The same is generally true of LX and FX. We try to have each play open and end with music (to facilitate the changeovers). We normally select the music, but if you have a preference, please let us know what music you'd like as soon as possible. Directors and actors arrange their own rehearsals at their convenience. If space/time allows, you may be able to arrange rehearsals in the Sweet Dukebox Theatre. The artistic directors will visit at least one rehearsal during the schedule (more if you request it). We encourage you to invite the other groups in the company to at least one rehearsal later in the process. We generally have one technical rehearsal, usually the Wednesday or Thursday before first performance (a Friday).
ACTORS Actors are asked to make their interest known for each performance block. Scripts are then matched with a director and cast by Cast Iron Theatre's Artistic Directors. Since there is no audition process, an excellent way to get yourself 'known' by Cast Iron Theatre (and so be more successfully matched with appropriate scripts and casts) is to come along to one of the Andrew Allen's improv drop in classes, held every Sunday evening (outside of Christmas / Summer holidays), 7pm, at the Sweet DukeBox Theatre. Details here: http://ironcladimprov.weebly.com/sunday-night-drop-in.html . The classes are a lot less terrifying than you might think.
Directors and actors make their own arrangements for rehearsals. If space / time allows, you may be able to arrange to have rehearsals in the Sweet Dukebox Theatre. We generally have one technical rehearsal, the Thursday or Wednesday before first night (a Friday). We ask writers to avoid writing parts for a specific age / gender. Thus, in casting, you may be playing opposite / beyond your usual range. On occasion, you may be cast outside the gender / age suggested in the script.
WRITERS What to write? We generally don't have themes or topics. What we are looking for are plays that excite us. We like plays that are fresh, explore themes that challenge us or make us see the ordinary in a different way. We still get a lot of plays written for men. That’s fine but we have lots of fantastic female actors. As such, we are particularly interested in plays that allow for female performers (and those who identify as female) to be cast in roles that are challenging and new. We are also particularly interested in writing and narratives from under-represented writers. While you need to be free to write the story that you want to tell, we do welcome plays which are as ‘type blind’ as possible.
Things to consider might be: Could you give your characters names that are gender neutral to allow for freedom of casting? Is it essential for you to physically describe your character? Do they have to be a set age? With the exception of parent/grown biological child narratives, is there ever a need to describe your character's gender/age/physical characteristics? As writers ourselves, we respect your voice and, if your play is accepted, we will contact you for approval first before we cast against the work. We try not to stage lots of 'romantic relationship in crisis' dramas in one night so yours will be in competition with many others and would have to be outstanding to be selected. We don't encourage sketches (as opposed to funny short plays). It's not that we never accept them; it's just that yours will have to work that much harder to get through the gate.
If your play does not get accepted for one round, it might be put in a 'holding pattern' for a show in the future. It might be that your play is too similar to others that will be produced on that night. In the event that we think your play works for us but would benefit from some constructive feedback, we will be in contact. We try to offer brief feedback on all scripts that are not selected, should you request it.
Technical Bits: 1-4 characters. Ideally, less that 4. We only use adult actors. Scripts should be around ten minutes long. We're prepared to be a bit relaxed about this, and have indeed accepted scripts that are shorter / longer, but ten minutes is an excellent guide. Please consider carefully the relative restrictions both of the small 'black box' space of the Sweet Dukebox Theatre, and that each play on a performance night will have a minute or so to get in / get out of their set! You should avoid sets like tables, and too many chairs. On a similar note, please remember that it is surprisingly difficult to have things like gunshots on stage - even having people make cups of tea on stage is often more trouble than it's worth. Indeed try to avoid too much in the way of set and FX / LX at all. Think worst case scenario: can your script work by simply being performed on an empty stage?