At the heart of The Court’s literary program are bespoke processes to help playwrights connect with the entire Court community. That can mean connecting to what can be achieved theatricality or thematically on our main stage for up to 400 audience members each night. That can mean more intimate and edgier works for our adventurous Forge audience. That can mean, quite simply, creating magic for our kids’ audiences.
The Literary Manager, Roanna Dalziel, works closely with the Artistic Director, Ross Gumbley, and the Associate Director, Dan Bain, to identify and develop plays for programming.
Unsolicited script policy
Below is our unsolicited script policy for mainstage, The Forge and kids’ shows. This is for NZ plays only, overseas plays are by request.
We do not have capacity to be a script advisory service. Unless we ask for a further version, we only accept plays once. We will acknowledge receipt and aim to get back to you within four months so if haven’t heard from us within that time, then it is unlikely that we will be taking on your play. Please note that it is rare for an unsolicited script to make it to the mainstage.
If after reading our policy below, you decide to send us a play, please send it by email (r.............@courttheatre.org.nz).
With your play, also provide a synopsis (no longer than half a page) and a brief statement telling us anything relevant about your background as a playwright. We like to read a brief statement on what is the heart of the play – that can either be what the play is fundamentally about or what drives you to write the play.
Mainstage and The Forge
We accept unsolicited scripts for the Mainstage and The Forge from 1 January to 28 February each year. Not only is this to help us manage workflow, we believe it helps those playwrights who like a deadline. We work closely with Playmarket and accept plays from Playmarket all year around.
Unless you are based in Canterbury, you must have had at least one play already presented if you don’t have an agent.
While we treat each work as an individual work of art, some things we consider are:
- is there a compelling story to be staged?
- is the work relevant – something for audiences to relish?
- does the work prove its dramatic premise and are the stakes high enough?
- is there theatrical opportunity with the work?
We accept unsolicited kids’ shows all year round. They must be:
- 45 to 50 minutes long
- for up to 3 performers
- for under 10 year olds
We work with playwrights to identify the best processes for developing their works for The Court. Whether that’s commissions, public readings or in-house workshops – it all depends on what will benefit the playwright and the work.
Current commissions include:
- Gregory Cooper: We Died for Science
- Gary Henderson: The Breath of Silence –the human longing to listen and be heard.
- Hone Kouka: The Rehua Boys - A story of friendship weaving between 1962 and 2016 and the ever changing and ever changed city that is Ōtautahi/Christchurch
- Alison Quigan: Siana – the loss of Art
Fresh Ink will be back in 2018 – a series of public readings of plays that are in development. A chance for audiences to help develop new works with laughter or gasps.
Fresh Ink Readings
Each year we run rehearsed readings of three works in development. It gives the playwrights a chance to hear their work in front of an audience (will they laugh at that joke? or gasp at that moment?) and the audience can give feedback after the reading.
The 2017 readings were
- Astroman by Albert Belz
In ’80s New Zealand, Jimmy (a 14 year-old Māori boy), confronts arcade games, racism and his own genius!
- Sean Penn is in his boat by Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu
Set at the time of Hurricane Katrina, a family drama unfolds following the matriarch’s death.
- Troll by Ralph McCubbin Howell (based on a story by Ralph McCubbin Howell and Hannah Smith)
There’s a cable leading into your wall that wasn’t there before. Something’s scratching behind the power sockets. Things are disconnecting…’ It’s 1997. Ottó is twelve, but he says he’s thirteen and he’s pretty sure he gets away with it. He lives in an old wooden house, with his mum, dad, a chain smoking Icelandic grandmother, and a troll that lives in the wall…
- Astroman by Albert Belz