Imagine you have just 2 days to write a 10 minute play using the following ingredients:
What would you write?
Might you find freedom and focus by having those restrictions?
What would your bake-off ingredients look like?
[Hint: This would be a great writing exercise for you to take on with a group of friends as a weekend writing sprint just for fun or for distraction. If you are having a tough time generating a list of ingredients, then let me know, and I’ll send you some. See below for links to the origin of the Bake-Off.]
In early April, the Women’s Theatre Festival released the list of required ingredients above, and eighteen NC playwrights stepped up to create their speedily written masterpieces.
This weekend, you can listen to their freshly baked plays!
One Audience Choice play will join four Adjudicator Choices at the Women’s Theatre Festival’s #OccupyTheStage2020 for a reading. I have the honor of working with the playwrights to continue developing their work for that event.
Big thanks to Triangle Bake-Off director Madison McAllister and Johannah Maynard Edwards, Executive Director of the Women’s Theatre Festival for doing the heavy lifting to make this event happen. Congratulations to the playwrights and thanks to the actors and adjudicators for their good work.
Mother’s Day can be tricky. If it’s a tangled web of emotions or expectations for you, then I wish you ease and peace this weekend.
If you are a mother, I raise my giant cup of coffee to you in solidarity and with love.
I am Mama to a preschooler and a middle schooler. On the best of days it’s a challenge to navigate family, work, and creative responsibilities. During the COVID-19 epidemic with school closures, event cancellations, financial concerns, family/social distancing, and emotions running rampant, the challenges are even greater.
When I find caregiving-while-creating to be particularly difficult and isolating, I seek out other people who are facing similar challenges; people I know will understand.
This year, I’ve been especially grateful for the opportunity to interview parent artists from across the country on the Artist Soapbox podcast.
If you’d like to hear the perspectives of all types of theatre artists who are also parenting, then I invite you to listen to these interviews with PAAL Chief Reps:
PAAL is a national community, resource hub, and solutions generator for individuals with caregiver responsibilities and institutions who strive to support them. PAAL aims to elevate the national standard of care for caregivers in the performing arts and media. PAAL has a fund for caregivers that you can donate to or apply for.
The feature article in this series, written by Rachel Spencer Hewitt, the founder of PAAL is titled: Work/Life Balance Is Everyone’s Urgent Business Now. She writes, “As we face the COVID crisis, our field has a chance to restructure itself around human needs. Caregivers can lead the way.”
Here’s an item on my list of THINGS-THAT-BRING-ME-JOY: Talking craft with playwrights, writers, theatre-makers and artists of all mediums.
Does that bring you joy too?
For the last 2.5 years, these artist-conversations have been recorded in person and then released via the Artist Soapbox podcast for everyone who likes to listen.
It’s always been an honor and a delight to spend time with my interview guests, and shake their hands, and see their faces light up when they discuss their work.
As COVID-19 in the US has ramped up significantly over the last seven weeks and all Piedmont Laureate events were cancelled, I shifted to recording my podcast interviews online.
Though we are no longer in the same physical space, I continue to feel honored and delighted to share time with my guests and to hear their voices light up when they talk about their work. Since mid-March, I have worked to bring the voices of writers in our community to your ears as quickly as possible via the podcast.
I hope these conversations might be:
comforting or stimulating
thought-provoking or soothing
inspiring or sheltering
or whatever you need at this moment in time.
Below you’ll see fifteen podcast episodes from March 30-April 28, incase you’ve missed them.
Like the previous list from March 13-27, you’ll see a roster of incredible writers from the Triangle community including: Monét Noelle Marshall, Ian Finley, Chris Vitiello, June Guralnick, Amy Sawyers-Williams, Jack Reitz, Debra Kaufman, Allan Maule, Mark Cornell, and Cheryl Chamblee.
All of these conversations have sustained me in moments when I felt very isolated and worried. I found comfort in the connection I felt after 40 minutes of conversation with another human being about creativity, life, writing, process, and meaning.
After this intense flurry of activity (31 episodes in 7 weeks!), the Artist Soapbox podcast will be on hiatus for a bit so that I can return to my own writing, gain a more comfortable handle on my life/home/parenting responsibilities, and blog more regularly here.
If you are looking for inspiration, writing tips, vulnerability and a backstage pass to the writing process, then I hope you will enjoy listening to the episodes below.
If now is not the best time for you to listen, then they will be here when you are ready. Sending you love.
Lauren Van Hemert of RDU on Stage was so generous to invite me to have a Facebook Live interview with her about being Piedmont Laureate, writing during a pandemic, writing audio fiction vs. writing for the stage, being a parent-artist, creativity, and more. You can see the video (1 hour) of us conversing HERE. The podcast version will be coming out in the coming weeks on the RDU on Stage podcast if you prefer audio only.
This is a quick and (hopefully stress-relieving) short playwriting competition. There’s a youth category if your kids are looking for something to do – OR – perhaps this will be a way for you to blow off some steam using writing as a tool.
On Friday, April 3 at 7:00 am, the Women’s Theatre Festival released the list of “secret ingredients” that each script must include. Submissions must be received by 7:00 pm on Sunday, April 5 to beconsidered.
On Sunday evening after you’ve turned in your play, I’d love for you to hop online and listen to a conversation with me and Lauren Van Hemert of RDU On Stage.
Lauren has put together an amazing series of guests over the last few weeks, and I’m feeling honored to be included in the line up. We’ll talk about the Piedmont Laureate-ing, writing audio fiction, and parenting during this bonkers time while trying to make art and get things done. (Spoiler alert: life is confetti and what is time).
In collaboration with Tamara Kissane, the 2020 Piedmont Laureate, and local theatre artist Hayden Tyler Moses, Women’s Theatre Festival (WTF) proudly announces the Triangle Bake-Off Competition.
This spirited playwrighting competition is open to North Carolina residents of all ages and experience levels.
The Bake-Off will begin at 7:00 am on Friday, April 3 when WTF releases the list of “secret ingredients” that each script must include.Submissions must be received by 7:00 pm on Sunday, April 5 to beconsidered. See below for additional timeline and info.
Competitors will elect to compete in one of five divisions:
● Youth (anyone under high school age)
● High School (any current high school student)
● College (anyone currently enrolled at an institution of higher learning)
● First-Timer (anyone who is NOT a student and has NEVER written a play)
● Practitioner (anyone who is a practicing writer or artist)
Submissions will be read and scored by a team of adjudicators who will select 3-5 finalists per division. Those finalists will receive a reading of their drafts through the WTF Virtual Plays Club. Audiences will then get the chance to vote for their favorites. The play in each division that receives the most votes will receive a professional staged reading during WTF’s Occupy The Stage staged reading festival in November of this year.
Throughout the next six months, Piedmont Laureate Tamara Kissane will offer the playwrights coaching and feedback as they prepare their final drafts for performance.
1. All playwrights must be North Carolina residents
2. Playwrights may identify as any gender.
3. Playwrights may submit a maximum of 15 pages*
4. Playwrights must follow formatting guidelines**
5. Playwrights must use all of the 4 ingredients in their “recipes”
6. Plays should be written for 4 actors to perform. If your script includes more than 4 characters, please include doubling instructions.
7. Submissions must be received via the submission form on the WTF website by 7:00 pm on 04/05/2020.
*The spirit of the Bake-Off is not finished or perfect scripts, but an interesting and exciting START. You may submit a draft that is fewer than 15 formatted pages.
**Formatting guidelines may be relaxed for very young (ie 5-10 years old) playwrights.
RESOURCES & FURTHER INFO:
● Visit the WTF website for full info on formatting guidelines and to learn more about the history of Bake-Offs.
● Each submission will be read and scored by 3 adjudicators chosen because of their expertise in that particular division. Submissions will be read “blind,” meaning that the adjudicators will not see the name or other identifying information of the playwright so that they may be as impartial as possible.
● Adjudicators are NOT eligible to submit for any division in the competition.
● A Facebook Event will be created for each Virtual Performance via WTF’s Facebook Page. All of the virtual performances will be live-streamed via Twitch.TV/wtheatrefestivalnc and will be available for viewing on our website for voters who miss the live event.
● Listeners will be asked to make a small donation (suggested $5).
● The play from each division that receives the most votes will have a professionally produced staged reading during Occupy The Stage 2020. These playwrights will also receive a small honorarium.
Unlike most WTF sponsored events, male-identifying playwrights will receive equal consideration and will have their plays featured during a new section of Occupy called “The Ally Hour.”