By Cornelia Persich, Education Coordinator
In the past Theatre Ontario has put out three different calls for scripts that were collected into anthologies and published by Playwrights Canada Press. For each call we received so many scripts that our readers were kept busy for days. Afterwards, we discussed the plays that didn’t make it and how there might be a need for a mechanism whereby someone could have their script assessed by a professional playwright and receive feedback. Hence our Script Assessment Program was born—and is now available through Theatre Ontario.
The way it works is, playwrights send us a script together with the application, and the script is sent to one of our available assessors. The assessor is chosen based on what type of script it is (e.g. historical, comedy, musical, etc.) The assessor is given up to four weeks to read through and complete a questionnaire with specific feedback questions about the script. The script is evaluated under a double-blind situation whereby the playwright and the assessor do not know the identity of either.
One participant told us that they had been looking for just such a service. Another participant had been through this kind of assessment before, but this program gave her new insights into her script, though it didn’t offer suggestions as to how to fix the problems; it did clarify for her that what she was really after was dramaturgy, rather than script assessment.
After the assessment, another participant took on a dramaturge/director and had rewritten the screenplay for the stage. It is now in production for a performance in New York at the FRIGID Festival for a six-performance run. He was also successful entering the Toronto Fringe Festival lottery, and is wait-listed for the Edmonton & Winnipeg Fringe.
As the Script Assessment program is relatively new, we are always looking at ways to make it better. Feedback helps to do this. If you are interested in this program, read more about it on our website to find out how to apply.