Our short play nights are all about collaboration. We accept short plays from new or emerging writers. Selected plays are given to our small rep-style company who stage the work with our guidance.
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.
Though we do have submission windows, we accept plays throughout the year. So send us your work when it's ready or keep in touch on social media to see when the next short play window is coming up.
CAST IRON SHORT PLAY NIGHT GUIDELINES 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 in the evening a day or so before first performance night. We'd really suggest that you come along to our show nights to see the work of other directors. Have a look at our WHAT'S ON page for information.
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 7pm, at the Sweet DukeBox Theatre. See our WHAT'S ON page for current dates. You'll also find details of our upcoming short play nights there. It's a good idea for you to see what other performers are doing.
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 in the evening a day or so before the first performance night. 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 age/gender blind as possible. Though, of course not essential and if you're local to Brighton, it's a good idea that you come along to as many of our events as possible too, so you get a feel for what we like and see the work of other writers. Have a look at our WHAT'S ON page for information.
Things for writers 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.
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. Avoid lots of props. 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?
A note for all writers, directors and performers Rights & Transparency The rights of written work used by Cast Iron Theatre remain with the author. By submitting your written work you give us permission to produce that work. There is no fee paid to the writer for their work and we do not charge for reading work. Our decision to accept work is final and we will not enter into lengthy feedback or discussion of the work - though we'll help where we can and may mentor you. This mentoring should not be taken as a promise to stage your work in future.
All writers, directors and performers are working voluntarily with the cost of production met by Cast Iron Theatre. Any profit made will go directly to production of more Cast Iron Theatre work. We are always open to discussing how Cast Iron Theatre works and where any profit we make is going. Usually, it is towards our next Brighton or Edinburgh Fringe Show. We aim to move towards a profit share model for our short play and short story nights by the end of 2018.
The whole point of our short play and short story nights is to give a platform to emerging writers, directors and performers (artists). If you would like us to invite specific industry or media professionals to performance nights, let us know and we'll try and help. We know that artists may wish to take photography and videos for profiles and show reels. We take the rights of all artists seriously and we fiercely protect the work of writers so please get permission to take photographs and videos if you are performing/directing.
Speak to us first: Cast Iron Theatre will likely engage a photographer and/or be filming performance nights for our own marketing. Please do not arrange your own filming or photography for performance night, including on mobile phones. Any exceptions to this must be requested before performance night and the express written permission of Cast Iron Theatre and all others artists involved in the piece must be sought. You may take photographs of your rehearsals for social media (with agreement of the piece's director and other performers) but do not take videowith sound. This is in order to respect the work of the writer.
If there's anything you think we've got wrong or could update, let us know.
We believe in working together to champion the work of local writers, performers, directors and creative Brighton businesses.