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A New Guide

How to find and Choose a Play

Success is 10% Inspiration and 90% perspiration.

Finding the right play for your club can be very time consuming, you often have to kiss a lot of frogs …

Is there a way to make the process a bit easier?  Here are some Tips for Success

  • Can you cast it and will you get an audience for it?  Although these 2 things have to be considered and probably sound obvious, don’t let the answers become a straightjacket.  Maybe, with some discussion with the playwright, there could be some flexibility with casting and if you have a regular audience, perhaps it would be good to mix things up.  If you are looking at One-act plays and it’s not something you would usually do, you could consider performing it alongside something more familiar to your audience and ask them for their feedback.
  • Can you stage it and can you afford it
  • Is it appropriate for an audience in the 21st century.  This is not about political correctness but sometimes the themes, language and the caricatures contained in a play have become outdated.  Ask yourself ‘Why this play and why now?’

Even with your checklist in place, finding plays can still be challenging.  Here are some suggestions of ways to find plays

  • Use SCDA – (i) festivals – here you will find a good variety of plays being performed that might suit your club (ii) ask other member clubs for their suggestions through social media or the regular e-newsletter or research plays that you see being advertised by SCDA members (iv) read the play reviews that are regular feature of Scene magazine. Finally, don’t forget the plays entered into the playwriting competitions are held at the SCDA library and the writers would love to have them performed.
  • Professional theatres or performing venues who produce a season such as Pitlochry Theatre or Oran Mor.  Sign up to their newsletters and see what they are producing.  If you can get along to see them even better but if that isn’t possible research the plays and the writers.
  • If you find a play that you like by a writer, take a look at other titles from them.  This is very useful where you have had to reject a play because it wasn’t suitable for your club but you enjoyed the writing.  Quite often writers will have their own website, blog or you can find them on social media.
  • Use online resources, you will find a good selection of these with clickable links in Avital Shira’s blog (see additional reading section of this guide).  Here are a few more

Scripts for Stage – searchable database by genre and cast size and you can read online for free https://scriptsforstage.co.uk/wp/script-library/

Stageplays searchable database – https://www.stageplays.com/

The best way to choose plays is to watch them – go and see as much as you can.  If you have limited local access, see if there are online options, encourage friends and family to buy you theatre vouchers or perhaps a gift subscription to National Theatre Home https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/ntathom

Related resources

SCDA resources

You can access copies of many plays in the library.  You can often also find full sets of plays.  There is a downloadable catalogue with over 25,000 titles.  If you can’t find what you are looking for why not take advantage of the script discounts available to SCDA members.

Playlist

Picking a play – hear from some Directors and Lecturers talking about what influences their choice of play.

Additional Reading

Website

Nick Hearn Books 

Scripts for Stage – searchable database by genre and cast size and you can read online for

Website

blog.stageagent.com

Find out from professional director Avital Shira what she takes into account when looking for a play