A couple of years ago (for New Ideas 2010), the producers devised a different way for writers and potential directors to meet. Previously, it had been a sort of presentation (each writer took a turn onstage to describe their play) followed by an awkward schmooze, where directors would approach writers to discuss their work.
Co-producer Pat McCarthy came up with a new way for writers and directors to meet, which she described as similar to Speed Dating, but it later came to be known as the “Creative Exchange”. I was a writer in NIF 2010, so took part in the event. It was set up in Alumnae’s Studio space – each writer was assigned a small table, and potential directors (who had already read the scripts and expressed interest in particular ones) were assigned “appointments” to talk about themselves, and how they envisioned bringing that script to the stage.
Basically, the potential directors had to sell the writers on their suitability! Lights would flash after a certain time – I think it was five minutes, and the directors would move on to the next writer. I enjoyed being able to interview directors, and it gave me a good idea of who I would be happy to work with.
So for NIF 2012, the Creative Exchange (yes, a Speed Dating event) was held on November 12. Co-producer Carolyn Zapf reports that “we even had 2 playwrights on SKYPE from Newfoundland and California! Exciting discussions all round. We had a lot of comments about how much participants enjoyed meeting each other. Several playwrights said they found it stimulating to have so many different views on their plays.”
After the Creative Exchange, writers have a few days to submit their top 3 choices to direct their plays to the producers . The producers then match everyone up.
Next: Cold Readings – long before auditions, the writers hear their scripts read aloud by actors, sometimes for the first time.