Elmwood is looking for a few great Play Selection Committee Members

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Although we currently do not have a firm opening date for our next season, we are looking to form a committee of Elmwood members to start the process of investigating and recommending plays and musicals, and possibly other presentations, that will form a season in this unusual time in our history.

We are looking for three or four current Elmwood members who:

  • Want to assist Elmwood by serving on its most important committee, the Play Selection Committee (PSC), which will determine Elmwood’s artistic (and commercial) direction in its next season, whenever that season will commence.
  • Are willing to dedicate their time to regular meetings and reading a large number of scripts, and being able to discuss scripts keeping in mind the Charge that is given to the PSC.
  • Have a wide knowledge of plays and musicals.
  • Have an understanding of Elmwood’s capabilities and audiences to determine a viable season.
  • Keep in mind the Values of Elmwood Playhouse: Quality, Diversity and Communication.
  • In addition, the Board of Directors has provided guidelines for this unique time in the Charge to the Play Selection Committee. Here is the 2021 Charge:

CHARGE TO THE PLAY SELECTION COMMITTEE FOR THE 2021-2022 SEASON

The Board of Directors (“BOD”) is providing you with this document, to provide you with guidelines to develop a season for 2021-2022.

It goes without saying that the challenges of the past year have had a profound impact on our theater and our community. The nature of a rapidly spreading pandemic meant that our mission and our whole reason for existing—the coming together to tell stories that reflect our culture and humanity—was the very thing we could not do for more than a year. For the first time in our history our theater has had to remain dark, and as a result this Charge — and the season you will work to put together — takes on special significance.

The BOD is asking that the PSC keep recent events in mind when selecting the season this year. Of course, the PSC should take into consideration the entertainment value and artistic fulfillment for our membership as always, but this year especially a primary focus must be on how we help our community heal from the turmoil of 2020, coming together once again to tell stories that celebrate each other and our humanity, to honor those we have lost, to look ahead to a better future, and to secure the health of our theatre for the generations to come.

  1. The Season: As generally true, the BOD requests that the PSC develop a well-rounded, six-show season, incorporating at least one musical and a selection of dramas, comedies, classics, etc., but asks that the following considerations also be taken into account:
    1. Diversity Considerations: The BOD specifically and emphatically requests that
      particular consideration be given to ethnically and culturally diverse selections and/or authors, and which encourage the participation of those communities which have been under-represented in the past. Directors shall be also be encouraged toward non-traditional, inclusive casting to ensure that all those who wish to participate in our productions have an equitable avenue to do so.
    2. Commercially Viable Shows vs. Original or Challenging Material: In prior years, the PSC has been asked to strive for a balanced season comprising a number of “commercially viable shows” as a counterpoint to more obscure or challenging material. While it is still critically important that our season contributes to the overall financial health of the theater, commercial viability should only be one factor in the PSC’s deliberations and recommendations. The quality of the productions — and the likelihood of our ability to successfully deliver that quality — should also be a factor. Therefore, rather than aiming for a particular formula of so many plays or musicals, the PSC should endeavor to build a season that has both broad appeal and artistic merit, and that reflects the high standard of quality that our theater has become known for.
    3. Thematic Considerations: The BOD has not specified a “theme” for the season; however, as stated above, this season will represent Elmwood’s re-birth and reemergence after a long and difficult year. Nevertheless, it may be useful—but not a requirement—for the Committee to come up with a theme that acknowledges the events of the past year while still celebrating our mission of telling stories that entertain, inspire and connect us all. Thus, whether a theme emerges organically, or is helpful in guiding your selections as you consider all the points above, the Committee is completely at liberty to propose one.
    4. Cost Considerations: Keep royalties, production costs and income potential in
      mind when making selections.
  2. Selection of Directors: The PSC should review the previous year’s qualified directors list with the Directors’ Qualification Committee for additions or deletions.
    1. Eligibility: Those directors who are still interested but have not directed a play or
      workshop within the past five (5) years may be required to direct a workshop or other suitable Elmwood presentation in order to reacquaint the present committee with their work. The BOD will advise PSC of changes to the list.
    2. Rotation: Keep an open mind. We wish to encourage the choice of directors who did not have an opportunity to direct in the previous season, or new directors who have recently qualified but have not yet had an opportunity to direct a mainstage production. However, this does not disqualify any director who did direct in the previous season, if you feel that this person is the best possible choice.
    3. Diversity and inclusion: As stated above, consideration should be given to directors from ethnically and/or racially diverse backgrounds. In addition, directors will be strongly encouraged toward non-traditional casting to ensure the participation of under-represented groups.
  3. Selection of Alternate Slate: In addition to the selected shows, please provide a list of alternate shows, one appropriate alternate for each slot, preferably in the same genre, that have been discussed and approved by each director.
    Communication with directors must include this discussion, and directors should be prepared to direct the alternate show should it become necessary.
  4. Source of Show Suggestions: In keeping with standard practice, qualified directors shall be invited to offer suggestions for the new season as will Elmwood members, but the primary source of suggested shows should come from the PSC members themselves.
    1. Plays and musicals submitted by prospective directors must be read by the committee and given due consideration. Directors shall be limited to submissions of no more than four (4) shows that they are prepared to direct and eager to pitch to the PSC. While a director submitting a given show will get primary consideration, the PSC may, at its discretion and when it is best for the Playhouse, assign a different director to that show.
    2. The PSC is encouraged to review the shows that had been strongly considered for inclusion in recent seasons but have, for one reason or another, not made the final cut. Shows that the PSC deems appropriate candidates from this list shall be presented to qualified directors as a resource for developing their submissions. The PSC may also speak with individual directors to suggest one or more of the shows on the list specifically.
    3. Shows may also be submitted for consideration by the Elmwood membership. As
      above, appropriate candidates from this list shall be presented to qualified directors. The PSC may also speak with individual directors to suggest one or more of the shows on the list specifically.
  5. Rights: The BOD stresses the importance of considering the cost and availability of rights to all shows. As soon as any show comes under serious consideration, the particular play service (publisher) should be contacted to inquire if rights are available. Secure the rights for all shows that you have chosen whenever possible.
    1. Report to the BOD: A written report is to be submitted to the BOD at the time of the presentation of the season, indicating royalties and rights for all shows under consideration, and a summary of the status of all rights. When rights are confirmed, a report of the rights and royalty amounts must be provided to the Board Treasurer. If a problem exists (e.g., a play service won’t commit), put that in writing as well.
    2. Original Artwork/Logo: Wherever possible, and particularly for a well-known show or musical, the PSC should attempt to secure the rights for the original artwork and logo as well as the performance rights. This is usually available at a nominal fee, but, if the fee appears to be excessive, the matter should be escalated to the BOD.
  6. Attendance at Elmwood events & other shows: Due to the COVID pandemic and the closure of the theater for the past year, the requirement that PSC members attend mainstage performances, special events, director qualification audition workshops and monthly meeting workshops is waived. However, all Committee members are strongly encouraged to attend other productions and events (virtually or otherwise) wherever possible during your term.

Scheduling

  1. Recommendations Deadline: Ordinarily, the deadline for the initial recommendations for the prospective season, including choice of directors and the status of rights and royalties, typically falls before the February BOD meeting. However, due to the circumstances brought on by the pandemic, a new deadline will need to be determined as soon as feasibly possible. The goal will still be to ensure ample time for the BOD to read all selections and, once decisions have been made, to create and release the yearly season brochure in a timely fashion for subscriptions.
  2. Production Calendar: The BOD will complete a calendar showing all production dates, starting with September and ending with August (See above paragraph). They will check national and religious holidays to try to avoid conflicts, and they will check with the liaison to the
    Chamber of Commerce and with the firehouse for any street events that might conflict with our schedule. The Board liaison will deliver the production calendar to PSC as soon as feasibly possible.

Interaction with the BOD

  1. Board Liaison: As noted in the Rules and Standards, the Board liaison is a vital link
    between the PSC and the BOD. While the liaison may opt to be present at only some, and not all, PSC meetings, the PSC must inform the liaison of all meeting dates in a timely fashion, and be sure to check all scheduled Board meetings to avoid conflicts. The Board liaison should also be CC’d (copied) on email communications of PSC. The 2021-2022 Board liaison is [TBD].
  2. Problems & Concerns: Do not discount any show you like and agree on, because of possible casting, scenic, or budget problems, without checking with the BOD. We may be helpful in finding solutions.

Thank you for volunteering your time and energies to this important task. We look forward to working with you over the coming months as you assemble a season that is both memorable and worthy of the best traditions of Elmwood.

If you are interested in serving on this important committee, please email [email protected].

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Andre Feb 27th photo