Call for Directors

Silver Spring Stage Call for Director Proposals for the 2019-2020 Season

Silver Spring Stage, a long-standing community theatre located in the Woodmoor/Four Corners area of Silver Spring MD, is seeking proposals from directors for productions to be considered for our 52nd season in 2019-2020.

INTRODUCTION & SUMMARY

The Director’s Proposal Process has 3 Parts. Details are provided below. Here is a summary:

PART 1 — Send the following items by October 15, 2018:
Copy of the script you wish to direct, resume of your relevant experience, short cover-letter of introduction with short compelling argument for doing this show. (Details below.)
If we think the script is a good fit, the committee will invite directors to submit Part 2. Our goal is to let you know no later than November 5. You may wish to start thinking about the Questions for Directors section right away.

PART 2 — If invited, send the following items by November 15:
References and answers addressing “Questions for Directors.” (Details below.)
The Play Reading Committee will consider these answers and contact references. We plan to let you know by November 20 whether we wish to schedule an in-person interview with you.

PART 3 — Interviews, in person at the Stage. (Details below.)
These will be scheduled for Saturday, December 1, or a date near that to accommodate individual schedules, if necessary.

To submit, attach all files to an email (preferred) and send it to: playselection@ssstage.org

If you can only provide a hard copy of the script, please note that submissions mailed for Part 1 must be post-marked October 15, 2018 or earlier to ensure timely consideration. Send mail to:
Silver Spring Stage Play Reading Committee
c/o Erin Bone Steele
12503 Eastbourne Drive
Silver Spring MD 20904

The sooner you can send us your material, the sooner we can start reading!

Questions may be directed to PRC Chair, Erin Bone Steele (playselection@ssstage.org). No phone calls, please.

What’s next? Based on the combination of script, answers, and interview, the PRC may choose to add your project to our season slate proposal which will be reviewed by the Stage’s full Board of Directors in January. (Final decisions about programming are made by the Board and offers can only be made with the Board’s approval.) We will try to let directors know, as we move along, the status of their proposals. Please review the next section, “Some Things You Should Know,” and then proceed to the section “Submitting a Director Proposal.”

SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Facts about Silver Spring Stage and our process:

  • We are a true all-volunteer community theatre. Actors, designers, directors, producers, board members, carpenters, painters, graphic designers and others donate their time, talent, and energy. We do not pay anyone involved in our productions. (We do have a modest production budget to help cover materials and supplies.)
  • A typical season includes 7 fully-produced shows PLUS 1 holiday show. Most productions receive a 4-weekend run. Directors are not required to attend all performances. You are welcome to submit a holiday-themed script; family-friendly holiday submissions are especially appreciated. (The summer One-Act Festival operates under the guidance of a separate committee.)
  • We have a unique space all our own. Our theatre spaces reside in the basement level of the Woodmoor shopping center. We have our own rehearsal rooms, conference room, and shop/storage on site. All interviews, meetings, auditions, rehearsals, and performances must take place on site using the theatre’s facilities unless there are extraordinary circumstances or you have sought and received approval to do otherwise. Our stage offers black-box style intimacy with fixed seating on two sides. The playing area is set on point like a diamond. (If you think of it as a baseball diamond, the audience sits along the base lines that run to home base. The backstage area follows the lines from first base to second to third base.) Our backstage area is generous but our floor-to-ceiling height is limited by the architecture of the building. We don’t use microphones.
  • All shows must hold open auditions – we don’t “pre-cast” roles. That said, directors are responsible for casting their own shows. If you know someone you want for a role, invite them to audition and cast them if you wish. We ask directors to keep an open mind.
  • The Play Reading Committee is charged by the Board of Directors with putting together a proposed slate for the full season, 2019-2020. There are lots of moving parts and lots of factors to consider as we attempt to pull together a balanced season. Final programming decisions are made by the Board of Directors. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

What type of play should I propose?

  • We primarily, but not exclusively, produce contemporary and modern plays.
  • We are willing to consider strong proposals for modern classics (i.e., works by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Lorraine Hansberry, etc.) and traditional European classics (i.e., Moliere, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Ibsen, etc.).
  • We are not currently accepting proposals for traditional musicals in the 2019-2020 season. We are open to reviewing proposals for plays with music, especially if issues related to sound and the Stage’s technical capabilities have been thoroughly addressed.
  • We generally try to avoid producing shows that have been done previously at the Stage. However, we would likely consider a proposal for a show that had been produced here in years past if sufficient time had elapsed between the earlier production and the current proposal. A (mostly) full list of previous productions can be found here.
  • We are not currently accepting proposals for workshops, staged readings, works of improv, devised ensemble or solo performance art shows.

READY TO SUBMIT? Here are the details.

SUBMITTING A DIRECTOR PROPOSAL

PART 1: DUE OCTOBER 15

  • Submit a copy of the script you wish to direct.
  • Submit a resume featuring your work as a theatrical director.
  • Submit a one-paragraph letter of introduction. Even if you’ve directed here before, some members of our committee may not know you yet, personally or professionally.
  • Submit one paragraph briefly explaining why YOU want to do THIS show in THIS theatre. What is it about this script that excites or inspires you? Why is the Stage the right fit for this particular project?

Please make sure your name appears somewhere on each document. Attach all files and send by email to: playselection@ssstage.org  Email is strongly preferred. If submitting in hard copy, postmark by October 15 and use address listed above. Scripts or other original documents will not be returned unless you also include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

If the committee thinks the play is a good fit for the Stage, we will ask for Part 2.

PART 2: DUE NOVEMBER 15

  • Provide phone and email for at least THREE References. Ideally, these should be people who have worked with you as a director and can speak to your collaboration style, theatrical skill sets, reliability, and insight.
  • Carefully consider the following “Questions for Directors” (below) and provide thorough answers.

Please make sure your name appears somewhere on each document. Attach all files and send by email to: playselection@ssstage.org (Only email submissions will be accepted for this portion.)

QUESTIONS FOR DIRECTORS
Your Name:
Play Title:
Playwright(s):

The Script

What’s in this text? In 1-2 sentences, please identify what this play is “about” (theme or big idea, not plot summary). Then, in 3-4 sentences, sum up the plot. The Play Reading Committee WILL read the full script but we want to see how its themes connect with you and how you’d describe it, in a nutshell.

Think critically. Identify the main weakness(es) in the script. What are the major production challenges the Stage would face producing this play in our theatre? How will you, as director, overcome or mitigate these potential issues in production?

Practical and Artistic Concerns

Who else would be joining you on this production, and in what capacity? We recognize you may not want to make promises to other artists too far in advance, but we ask directors to consider who else is interested in working with you on your play. Please identify any individuals likely to join your production team (designers, stage managers, carpenters, dialect coaches, choreographers, etc.). Strong commitments from collaborators are encouraged.

In which production areas will you need the most help recruiting talent? The Stage will pair directors with producers to help assemble final teams. This answer will help the Stage plan the most effective use of our resources.

Do you see a need for specialists such as blood effects artists, language/dialect coaches, stage combat instructors, etc.? If so, identify their contributions to your production. If you have someone in mind, please identify them. (For instance, are you planning to direct a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream where Lysander and Demetrius compete with a Tarantino-style ninja martial arts battle?)

What is the make-up of the cast (age, gender, race, other actor/character categories)? If you are planning to cast or are open to casting differently than the script’s obvious breakdown, please make a special mention of this. (For instance, do you want to direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream where Oberon is a woman?)

What period or style will you use in production, and why does it work? If your concept involves producing the play with the time & location as given in the script, explain WHY this is the smart choice. If your concept involves shifting or blending the time or location (for instance, A Midsummer Night’s Dream where the young lovers escape to 1969’s Woodstock), explain what era/style you’re choosing and WHY this re-setting works.

Do you envision any special, fantastical, unique technical or design elements? (For instance, A Midsummer Night’s Dream where the fairies’ entrances are always accompanied by a fog machine.)

Will you have special needs or demands of the cast and/or crew beyond those immediately apparent in the script? (For instance, in your version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, do you envision all the fairies skating around on roller skates while moving the scenery themselves?)

Additional Thoughts

What, if any, commitments affect your availability during the 2019-2020 season? If you have known or likely conflicts that would limit the season slot in which your show could be placed, please let us know.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you or your proposed show, not covered elsewhere in this list or in your letter/bio/resume?

If your proposed project is not chosen for the season slate, would you be interested in our contacting you about directing something else? The committee often discovers “orphan” scripts that we want to include in the season but which don’t come to us with a director attached. The Board typically runs a separate “director search” for these titles in the Spring. (The PRC considers many factors in trying to select a balanced season. Your willingness to be considered for an “orphan” play will have no effect on how the PRC approaches this director proposal.)

Special Instructions for Plays with Music

What instrumentation do you envision? How many musicians are required?

How would you ensure a balanced sound design, and that actors/singers can be heard over the instruments? Keep in mind that the Stage does not use microphones.

Do you know if the rights to the music are included in the license for the play or must be obtained separately? Will you bring someone on-board to compose original music?

If there is a link to online recordings or a CD of the music, please provide it.

THANK YOU FOR ADDRESSING THESE QUESTIONS.

Submit References and the completed Questions to playselection@ssstage.org by November 15.

PART THREE

Final interviews will be held by invitation only. The Play Reading Committee hopes to let applicants know by November 20 whether we wish to schedule an in-person interview. All interviews will be held at Silver Spring Stage with members of the Play Reading Committee. We plan to hold interviews on December 1, or another nearby date if necessary to accommodate scheduling conflicts.