Why do we host 10 Minute Play Festivals?
In our previous studio space, Green Shirt had a basement where we hosted a monthly show called the Basement Series. It was a low-stakes environment where students and instructors could take artistic risks and collaborate in our community. We told stories, shared original short and full length plays, and had so much fun together.
When we left that space in 2019 for our current studio location, I was really sad to say goodbye to that basement space. I wondered how we could try to recreate that same vibe in our new space without our underground playground. A space where our community could hone their craft without caring so much about the end product but instead fully commit to whatever story they wanted to tell.
Summer of 2021, we hosted our first Green Shirt 10 Minute Play Fest and it felt like we were back in the basement. Since then we’ve hosted two more 10 minute festivals and will have our next this spring.
Green Shirt’s 10 Minute Play Fest structure:
- All current and former Green Shirt students are welcome to join
- Four students sign up to write a new 10 minute play and are given a theme to help inspire what direction they take their stories. No writing experience required
- Four more sign up to direct. No directing experience required
- Twelve sign up to act. No audition required
Green Shirt’s 10 Minute Play Fest process:
Once all the slots are filled, I create teams assigning a writer their director and three actors. The team introduces themselves via email answering a few “get to know you questions” and share a picture so the writer knows who they’re writing for. The writer then gets a month before their first draft is due and then another week to make edits for their final draft.
All four groups get together at the studio on a Friday night the week before rehearsals begin to read their plays out loud for the first time. They might know each other from taking one of our acting classes but many meet that night for the first time and it’s really awesome to see the community come together. Then the director and the actors meet for three rehearsals in the studio. Then all four groups come back together for a tech rehearsal and then the next night is our performance.
One of the coolest parts about this festival is that many writing, directing, and acting are doing it for the first time. Maybe they’ve always thought about directing or writing or being in a play but this is their first chance to give it a try. It’s been so awesome to see so many students take the risk of trying something new, putting themselves out there, and trusting that our community will support them. It’s been even cooler to see some students come back to be a part of the festival a second or third time and to see how their work grows.
Hope to see you at a 10 Minute Fest in the future!