Our 24-hour Play Fest program

One of PCSF's most exciting events is the 24-hour Play Fest. The fest is a fundraiser for PCSF, and it gives playwrights, directors, actors and audiences the thrill of creating and staging plays in just 24 hours. Playwrights are chosen by random drawing from among those who have signed up, and are then randomly paired with a specific director and specific actors.

All 24-hour Play Fests are coordinated by 24-hour Play Fest Producing Director, Jennifer Roberts.

Playwrights who are not chosen may choose to write a “solidarity” play. A solidarity play is a play written by another member who wasn’t chosen as a participating playwright, but who will be staying up all night writing on the same theme in solidarity with the participating playwrights. Under certain circumstances, a solidarity play may wind up being produced as part of the fest; see the Playwrights' Guide below for more details.

Playwrights' guide to 24-hour Play Fests

Interested in putting your name in the hat as a playwright for the 24-Hour Play Festival?  We hope you will find this process exciting, challenging, and rewarding, if a bit hectic!  The 24-Hour Fest is a unique opportunity for playwrights to craft a new play that will be rehearsed and produced all in one 24-hour span.  Before signing up, please read over the following guidelines designed to help make our festival run as smoothly as possible.

Meeting Your Director and Actors

If you are selected as a playwright, you must be in attendance for a meeting the Friday evening preceding the festival.  During this meeting we will randomly draw names from a hat to assign each playwright to a director and actors, as well as randomly select the theme your play should incorporate.  You will subsequently have the opportunity to meet with and familiarize yourself with your assigned director and actors.  Due to the collaborative nature of this play festival, and the fact you will be writing your script with your assigned actors in mind, this meeting is required for all playwrights.  If you cannot attend, you will be replaced with one of the playwrights selected as a backup.

Writing the Play

You will have until 6:30 a.m. the following morning to write your script, at which time you must submit it by email to your producer and director.  Keep the following parameters in mind:

  1. You must write your play for your assigned actors.  Clearly specify in your script which actor you intend to play which role.
  2. Write substantive roles for all of your assigned actors.  This does not necessarily mean that every actor must have the same number of lines and the same amount of stage time, but every actor should be incorporated into your script in a meaningful way.  Keep in mind that the actors, too, are volunteering their time and effort to this festival.
  3. Aim for a running time of 10 to 12 minutes.  This generally translates into about one minute per page of dialogue, but dense passages or monologues will run longer.  You will be required to edit your play if it exceeds 12 minutes during rehearsal.
  4. Scripts may contain adult themes and language and need not be “family-friendly,” but they should not contain nudity or highly offensive language or situations.  The Producer may require edits to your play if it contains material PCSF cannot produce.
  5. Scripts must not contain copyrighted material that the playwright doesn’t have ownership of or written permission to use. If permission of use is not provided with the play, the Producer will require edits to remove the material. If the Playwright refuses to remove the material, the play will be pulled and substituted with a “solidarity” play.

Rehearsal
Because the 24-Hour Play Festival is a collaborative process, we strongly encourage playwrights to attend rehearsal.  We realize you will have had a long night, and we will provide coffee, snacks and lunch to help you stay awake!  If your attendance at rehearsals is not possible, you must be available by phone during the scheduled rehearsal time to communicate with your director.

As the playwright, you can expect that your director and actors will respect your vision for the play and will not make any changes to your script without your permission.  However, during any rehearsal process, and especially one as time-compressed as this one is, it is realistic to expect that your director may request unforeseen edits to your script for reasons related to running time, content and/or staging logistics.  Once again, we would prefer that you attend rehearsals in person to avoid miscommunication or delays.

If you are unavailable or unwilling to make or approve requested changes to a script that presents a severe problem to the director and/or actors, the Producer may pull the play and use a “solidarity” play or another play of their choosing.  

Directors' guide to 24-hour Play fests

Thank you for your interest in directing for our 24-Hour Play Festival!  The 24-Hour Fest is a unique opportunity for you to help a playwright get a new play on its feet, all within a 24-hour timespan.  We hope you will find the experience challenging, rewarding, and fun!  Before signing up, please read over the following guidelines designed to help make our festival run as smoothly as possible.

Meeting Your Playwright and Actors

All directors, actors, and playwrights must be in attendance for a meeting the Friday evening preceding the festival.  During this meeting we will randomly draw names from a hat to assign each playwright to a director and between 2 and 4 actors.  You will subsequently have the opportunity to meet with your assigned playwright and actors to introduce yourself.  At this point you should exchange contact information with your playwright, especially if he or she is unable to attend rehearsal the following day.

Rehearsal

Your playwright will email you his or her finished script by 6:30 am the following morning.  You will arrive at the rehearsal space at 8:00.  Rehearsals run all day culminating in an off-book performance that evening. 

The 24-Hour Festival is a collaborative process, and playwrights are strongly encouraged to attend rehearsal so that they can be on-hand if the need to consult arises.  If your playwright cannot be in attendance, he or she should be available by phone.

Timing:  Playwrights have been instructed to write scripts with a running time of 10-12 minutes.  You must time your play during rehearsal to ensure that it does not exceed 12 minutes, and arrange with the playwright to make edits if it does.  Exceptions may be granted by the Producer on a case-by-case basis, but under no circumstances may a play run longer than 15 minutes.

Recasting Roles:  Playwrights will have written scripts with roles specifically crafted for their assigned actors.  Do not recast roles for actors unless authorized to do so by the playwright.

Edits:  As much as possible, directors should respect their playwright’s intent and vision for the play.  If, during the rehearsal process, you or your actors feel the need to make edits to the script for time and/or staging logistics, you must first obtain your playwright’s permission. In the event that your playwright is not in attendance at rehearsals and cannot be reached by phone, or is unwilling to make changes to a script that you deem prohibitively problematic, the Producer has the option to substitute a "solidarity" or other play.  Under no circumstances should you make changes to a script without the permission of the playwright.