Theatre Horror Stories

Theatre Horror Story: We Changed the Deadline & Didn’t Tell You

This is from an acquaintance who is also a Dramatists Guild member. 

There should be a special circle in hell for theatres that put out calls and then change the deadlines or requirements “because they have so many submissions.” It should be up to the theatres to think their procedures through, be specific about their requirements, and not penalize applicants. In one case a deadline was announced for August 31, and when I submitted in early August I was told that the deadline had been changed to July 31.

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Special thanks to Maiyal. Please check out her work here.

[Duh. Look at the stupid playwright following instructions. He must be punished!]

Incidents like this have happened to me three times this year. I keep a file listing upcoming opportunities with all essential information including due dates. I can’t be expected to review the websites every day to determine if theatres have changed their requirements. In another recent case, a [theatre in a far away country] stated they were accepting plays internationally, and they allowed submissions in multiple categories. I submitted one play one day; then when I followed up the next with another play the website said they were accepting only plays from [the far away country.]

An email to the theatre confirmed that they had changed their requirements without notice. Furthermore, they said they could not use my first play because of prior production (not stipulated anywhere in the call). They were very apologetic and I think genuinely mortified, but that’s not the point.

[Often times I hear theatres really don’t know what they want until they find it. In this case the theatre doesn’t know what they want – period.]

My goal is to keep writing these until the level of professionalism in American theatre changes. 

If you have a theatre horror story, feel free to reach out. You can remain anonymous.

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