How To Produce Your Own Play For The Stage
(Posted On: 05-10-2015)
Producing your own stage play can be a good way to get an immediate response to your writing or as an alternative way of getting your work out there if you don't have the resources to make a feature-length film for example. As the chances of getting a script even seen and read let alone made are extremely slim you could consider writing a play and see it performed on stage. The following article shows you how.
As producer you will responsible for the budget so try to use a script with your budget in mind. This means minimal locations, characters and complicated props. Whereas in film you can cut to various locations you don't have that luxury in theatre. Scene changes takes time and you risk taking the audience out of the story and reminding them that they are just watching a play every time you do so. If you can write an engaging script set in one location that would be advantageous for you.
In order to stage a play your budget will need to account for the hire of a venue. There are numerous fringe venues in most large cities who will rent their space to you at a price. Prices vary according to their reputation and the length of time you want to run your show for. You can hire some spaces out for one night only or you can hire spaces for a lengthier run. Most venues hire their space out for three weeks which gives a play time to work any problems out and to receive those glowing reviews that may help attract an audience.
Many actors are hungry enough to work on a deferred payment basis which is an agreement that they get paid should your play make any profit at the box office but remember you get what you pay for. If you can pay your actors it will give them the incentive to give you their best or at the very least pay for any refreshments and travel costs they might incur.
If you're going to put on a play people are going to need to know about it. Although a good venue will market your play through their own channels you need to get the word about with a good marketing campaign using an eye-catching flier or poster. You can design this yourself or hire a professional marketing company to design this for you. Bear in mind the more professional your design, the better your chances of attracting an audience.
Choose a venue with a good reputation and one that can be reached conveniently. The less people have to travel the more likely they are going to turn up. A good venue will list your play in all the major publications and may even supply a technician or stage manager to help with all the sound/lighting cues although there may be a charge for this. When choosing the venue take into account the number of seats, how long a run they are offering and plays they have previously shown before.
Finding actors to star in your play will not be a problem. Finding good actors will be more challenging. You get what you pay for and good, professional actors come at a price. However, having said that there are plenty of new actors eager to make their mark on the world if you don't have a multi-million pound budget to spend. You can advertise on sites such as Spotlight or Casting Call but be prepared to be inundated with CV's. You will need to spend at least a day or two for auditions so don't forget to account for this in your budget.
So you have your venue and you have your cast. Now it's time for the rehearsals. Allow approximately six weeks for a feature-length play if you are doing this around a full-time job. Venues will charge for use of the venue for rehearsals so make sure you choose a space that resembles the stage you'll be using if your budget does not allow for this.
Divide your script into digestible portions and rehearse and 'block' each portion until you reach the point where you are ready to rehearse the whole play in its entirety. Once your play is fully rehearsed allow at least one day where you can rehearse at the actual venue so you all have a good idea of how it's going to run on the actual day of performance.
Nobody is going to come to your play if they do not know it exists and even then what with the sheer amount of choice people have to do with their free time even knowing it exists is no guarantee that they will come. The audience of most new plays consist of 'mums and chums' - people you know so be sure to invite as many people as you can. Bombard your social media and local establishments with your fliers and posters. Target a specific audience that might be interested in your play. Make sure you write press releases to local and national papers so you get the press in as early as you can so that any good notices you might receive can be used to your advanta