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Detroit New Works Festival Guidelines

General guidelines

  • Full-length or one-act plays and musicals accepted (no song cycles or adaptations), 45 minutes in length or longer
  • Must address one of the following: equality and diversity, mental health, and/or social issues
  • Must have never been produced
  • Must be able to be produced with minimal set, costume, and prop requirements in accordance with Outvisible’s commitment to imaginative and minimalistic theatre
  • Must be able to be produced with eight actors or less
  • Musicals must be able to be played with only one pianist (production winner may be able to add additional instrumental scoring)
  • Must be able to attend festival May 4-6, 2018 in the Detroit area; Outvisible is hopeful in offsetting travel costs, but playwright must attend

Round One

Outvisible will accept entries until midnight on November 15, 2017. Please read submission guidelines carefully as submissions which do not meet guidelines will not be considered.

Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Script concept and structure
  • Feasibility of production in a small, black box space with no more than 8 actors and limited set/props
  • Likelihood of being produced successfully to appeal to a wide audience
  • Overall quality of work submitted

10 semi-finalists will be chosen.

Round Two

If selected as one of 10 semifinalists, entrants will be notified on or before December 20, 2017.

  • A panel of readers from around the community will further assess works with the same evaluative criteria in mind as round one
  • Readers will provide brief comments on scripts which will be passed on to playwrights
  • Reading panel to be announced shortly

Five finalists will be selected through this round.

Round Three

If selected as one of five finalists, entrants will be notified on or before January 31, 2018.

If you submit a drama or comedy, this means:

  • We will assemble a cast and read your show; three shows will be read May 5 and three will be read May 6
  • For musicals, a pianist will be present to play live
  • One-two rehearsals will be scheduled with the cast reading your script, which you are welcome to attend
  • A 30 minute talkback will occur after the reading which will also be recorded and made available to you to aid in script development
  • Playwright is welcome to be involved in the casting process and/or submit specific requirements for casting and selection of creative team

One winner will be chosen on May 6, 2018.

Round Four

One winner will be chosen and announced on May 6, 2018 on the last day of the Festival.

Winner will be chosen based on:

  • Production most likely to be successfully staged at Outvisible
  • Potential of script for production
  • Audience feedback and reception
  • Potential of working relationship between Outvisible staff and playwright/writing team

The winner will receive:

  • The opportunity to continue workshopping their script over the next one to two years with Outvisible
  • Continued feedback on work revisions
  • A fully staged production of their play, produced by Outvisible
  • A $400 stipend once full production closes (we are hoping to increase this number)
  • Talkbacks held in production previews as well as, potentially, during the run unless playwright prohibits this

Submission guidelines for all works

  • Playwright/creative team gives Outvisible permission to publicize play in print, electronically, or on any other media; playwright/creative team are also expected to participate in publicizing their reading should their play be selected as a finalist
  • If published, Outvisible must be able to produce a (free to the public) staged reading of work without paying royalty or licensing fees
  • If chosen as a finalist, playwright/creative team is welcome to attend casting and/or rehearsals for their staged reading, but Outvisible cannot offset any cost incurred
  • If chosen as the winner of the DNWF and playwright/creative team accepts the prize package of their work being developed and produced with Outvisible, playwright/creative team has the right to be present at casting, rehearsals, and performances and is welcomed throughout the creative process, throughout which the artistic integrity of their work will be upheld; Outvisible will make every effort to offset cost of playwright/creative team attending at least one performance but cannot guarantee any travel stipends at any point during the development process
  • If chosen as a finalist and playwright/creative team accepts the prize package of their work being developed and produced with Outvisible, working relationship between both parties are expected to remain amiable and open to feedback
  • Playwright/creative team retain creative license and all copyrights to their work and, if chosen as the winner, will receive a production contract amenable to both Outvisible and playwright
  • Playwright/creative team agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Outvisible Theatre Company, its parent company, Center Stage Studios, and any of Center Stage Studio’s affiliates from any liability that may occur relating to your performance for the festival in general as well as in any subsequent future development and/or production of work

Submission guidelines specific to musicals

Musicals must be submitted with the following:

  • Piano/vocal score which is able to be played solely by one pianist
  • Recording of all songs (including any instrumental interludes, overtures, etc) in digital format: songs uploaded to a shared Google Drive (shared with preferred, but will consider most digital submissions (please make sure they are presented in order in which they would be performed in the show)
  • If selected as a finalist, creative team must provide digital reference tracks for all songs for cast vocals

Contact us

To get in touch with us, use the contact form or email:

Where are we located:

18614 Ecorse Road
Allen Park, MI 48101
(Inside of Arts Detroit)

Business inquiries: 313.427.2490
Ticket reservations: 313.355.8340

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Outvisible Theatre Company

Calling season sponsors and advertisers!

It is impossible for most arts organizations to exist without the support of their community. At Outvisible, ticket sales only account for fraction of our operating expenses. By becoming a sponsor or advertiser for our 2017-18 season or any show within our season, you will greatly impact our ability to offer high quality programming.