Festival applications

Even though we’re still in the depths of winter and even summer seems a long way off, application deadlines for the Dublin Theatre Festival and the Dublin Fringe Festival are already looming.

Play On
Dublin Theatre Festival are looking for Play On participants again this year. The programme lasts from March to October and is for both new playwrights and playwrights who have had professional productions of their work staged. Successful applicants will work towards a public reading of their work as part of the Festival next October.

The deadline is this Friday, February 15 but they only accept hard-copies so get them in the post by Wednesday! More information here.

Fringe applications
The deadline for this year’s Fringe Festival is March 8 and as usual there is loads of information about everything you need to know on the Fringe website. They are also running a Pre-Application Workshop tomorrow at 6pm in Fringe HQ.

Show in a Bag
Fishamble, ITI and Fringe are running Show in a Bag again this year, unsurprisingly since it has been a great success over the last few years with shows picking up a number of Fringe awards and nominations and also having long, successful, touring lives after the Fringe. The deadline for this year’s Show in a Bag applications is March 1 and there is an information session tomorrow at 7.30pm, also in Fringe HQ. The application form and more information about how to apply is available on the Fringe website.

My Show in a Bag experience

Last month I applied for Show in a Bag – a collaborative project run by Dublin Fringe Festival, Fishamble and the Irish Theatre Institute. The five successful applicants will have a play written for them by Gavin Kostick from Fishamble and will perform the play at the Fringe Festival. They will have direction, budgeting and production support from the ITI and the Fringe Festival throughout the process. And at the end of is all, that play will continue to have a long and (hopefully) profitable life with it’s performers, playing arts centres and festivals around the country.

It’s a wonderful idea and a great opportunity for performers to have a great deal of help and support to create the show they want to perform – from rehearsal space, office space, help with putting together budgeting, a director to help shape the show, a head start with networking at the Fringe’s Information Toolbox, etc. They then have a great place for the show’s debut performance at the Fringe. The really great thing is that the whole project is designed so that the Fringe Festival is the only the beginning of the show’s life. The whole thing is preparing you to take this show out into the world and show it off.

Unfortunately, I was not one of the five success applicants but I did get a great deal out of the application process. For a start, it made me think about the type of show I would like to create in this situation. Of course, this is something I should be doing anyway; I should be chasing down ideas everyday and trying to come up with the best way to bring them to life. I wish it was like that but most days I get so bogged down by the day job and the day-to-day life in general that I don’t find time for the higher, loftier ambitions of making art. It’s easier to get absorbed by the day-to-day things than to make space for the other stuff. So it’s always good when something like this comes along to give me a clear set of parameters and a deadline to focus on.

I was also lucky enough to make it to the interview stage where I got to bounce ideas around with the interview panel. It made things seem more possible and less like free floating ideas. I plan to develop my ideas, try out some of the things that came up in that meeting and see where they led me.

I think it’s great that the Fringe is doing something like this to encourage artists and performers and give them a change to create something wonderful. It’s especially useful for those people who may not have the experience or the connections to get something off the ground on their own. I’m hoping to see some of the shows in the Fringe Festival in September.