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 team to identify and develop plays for programming.
Unsolicited script policy
Below is our unsolicited script policy for mainstage, The Forge, The Youth Company 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 or you have an agent, you must have had at least one play already presented.
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:
- Ralph McCubbin Howell: Lysander's Aunty - currently programmed for 2020, Shakespearean characters go rogue in backwaters New Zealand
- 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
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 2019 readings were:
14 April 2019, 4pm
Written by Aroha Awarau
Directed by Holly Chappell-Eason
The cameras are ready to catch all the glamour of the 1958 Academy Awards, the first Oscars to ever be televised. Four days before the ceremony, the five women competing for Best Supporting Actress get together for a 'cordial’ luncheon. Sometimes the real show happens before the cameras are turned on.
19 May 2019, 4pm
Written by Tanya Muagututi’a
Directed by Erolia Ifopo
The shores of Samoa seem endlessly far away for young Tavita, who has left his home to attend school in New Zealand. A Pasifika perspective on friendship, family and culture shock, this epic play depicts the pressures on a Samoan family across three generations.
- The Breath of Silence
30 June 2019, 4pm
Written by Gary Henderson
Directed by Simon Bennett
Jane is hearing things in her radio telescope dish – voices from a vast distance. Sprawling across three different eras, this intriguing drama follows an immigrant family struggling to make ends meet in 1850s Christchurch; secretive codebreakers in the 1950s; and radio telegraphers in the present day who are beginning to think they might all be linked…