So the reading process moves to the second stage, and two adjudicators, neither of whom will have read the play before, read the entire script and offer written feedback. Our adjudicators are a dedicated bunch, made up of writers, directors, actors and other theatre professionals all with loads of experience of fringe theatre, reading plays and writing reports.
After considering each script, they place it in one of 4 categories:
And then the reports come in. Some scripts stand out; some have their moments; some don’t live up to the promise of the first 10 pages; and quite a few divide readers. Rather than have them fight it out – unfortunately, that is deemed unprofessional – we give these a third read, and they get a ‘casting vote’.
It’s exciting to see the responses and we start to collate the feedback.
Now, all writers will have a sense of disappointment when a script doesn’t make it – trust me, I’ve been there many, many times – but we hope the feedback is always constructive, helpful and fair, offering genuine support to help development of the piece. And 24:7 is one of the few opportunities for feedback on every single script submitted, some of which just aren’t right or ready for the festival at this point.
Of course some people take ‘rejection’ better (and quieter!) than others, and even scripts that have made it get some very ‘honest’ feedback, which is sometimes hard to hear on a script you care a lot about. But we sit in the office on a wet (and windy!) Friday evening in February, reading through every bit of feedback, before pressing the send button and letting people know our decision.
For those who succeed to the next stage – an anonymous re-submission in a month following feedback, mentoring from an experienced writer or director, and the chance to redraft – the real work is perhaps just beginning. But it is from this Longlist of 27 plays that the final 10 will be drawn, so it’s important to use this time wisely.
And the mentoring process is new to 24:7 this year. More about that is going in the next blog.
In the meantime, our Writers’ Liaison, Ian Townsend, has been collating the feedback received so far, and there is a section of the 10 most common comments made by our readers and adjudicators in the ‘Get Involved’ page on the website.