Frequently Asked Questions
How does the Festival work?
This is your typical theater festival setting, where you are responsible for producing your show yourself, in a way that fits with festival constraints. However, we pride ourselves on providing more than any other festival, and helping you every step of the way to make sure your show is the best that it can be.
Upon accepting your slot in the Festival, you’ll have to submit a $550 Participation Fee. This covers everything your show absolutely needs to fit our requirements: a theater with lighting (and a designer to program the lights for you), ticketing system, house staff, and auditions, as well as a closing night party (with awards!) and our Festival marketing. Outside of this, you could have a $0 budget, or you could put lots of money into sets, costumes, musicians, etc. It’s totally up to you. Whatever you choose to do, bear in mind that you’ll be sharing a space with many other shows, with only 15-30 minutes to set up and strike after each performance.
The show must be fully staged – no music stands or scripts allowed. Our mission is specifically to give women a platform to get their show up in full form in front of an audience, so doing anything in a “staged reading” or “workshop” format is against our mission. If you think your show is at the point where you’re only comfortable with a staged reading, consider doing a reading this year, then submitting your show to us next year.
Our Festival Awards will be based on the judging of a group of industry professionals, who will fill out a feedback form that we’ll give to you after the show. But no matter who the winners are, everyone gets the bragging rights that they were a part of the country’s first bi-coastal festival celebrating women in theater!
*Note that while the below points apply to the New York and LA festivals, some of the rules for Atlanta are different. Go to our SheATL page for clarity on that city’s program!
What sets SheNYC apart?
We consider ourselves a co-producer of your show. We assign one of our Associate Producers to each show, who will act as a mentor to guide your production from page to stage. Throughout the process, they’ll be there to help you get your show up on its feet and figure out any problems that may arise. That way, you’ll never feel like you’re left high and dry if you’ve never produced a show before. We care about you and about your work being represented as well as it possibly can onstage, and will do everything we can to ensure that you’re proud of your work.
And, of course, we’re the first and only festival in New York City to be exclusively devoted to the full-length plays and musicals of women! How awesome is that??
How much does it cost to put up a show in the festival?
There is a Participation Fee of $550, which is due upon acceptance into the festival. That’s it! On our end, we put thousands of dollars into each individual show, so this fee helps offset those costs. We want to make sure you get your bang for your buck. The only instance in which you’d have to pay an additional fee is if your show goes over time for your performance, load-in/out, or tech time. Unfortunately, we’ve had to institute this fee after shows in the past have broken the rules and we need to pay for the additional time and labor in the space.
What does my participation fee cover?
For that $550 fee, here’s what we provide:
- Theater rental costs (including lighting and sound system, with a laptop with Qlab for any sound cues)
- House staff, playbills, and ticketing system
- Production manager to oversee your tech and help out with any tech-related issues
- A lighting designer who will design your show for you, or help your own lighting designer program their cues at tech
- Some miscellaneous set pieces that will be shared by all of the shows (exact pieces TBD. In the past, we’ve had tables, chairs, and couches to offer to all of our productions. Our Production Manager will poll the shows in advance of tech to get an idea of what the furniture needs may be.)
- Being a part of the Festival’s marketing campaign–we promote not only the Festival as a whole, but will make an individualized ad for your show and run it on social media platforms
- An open audition day for all of the shows
- Closing Night Party and Awards Ceremony
- A life-long community of artists who will support all of your work in the future!
What else do I have to pay for?
The biggest cost for shows tends to be rehearsal studios. We have a few partnerships to help you get space to rehearse at an affordable rate, and we encourage you to think outside the box to save money. Have your read-through in someone’s living room; rehearse in Central Park when it’s nice out!
Anything else is entirely up to you. You can have a $1000 costume budget, or you can pull from your actors’ closets. You can have a full set design, or just use a couple of chairs and blocks. Whatever you decide to do, though, keep in mind that there will only be a 30-minute changeover between performances – so anything you bring has to be packed up in 15 minutes (that means the next show has 15 minutes to set up). In the past, some of our most successful shows have been the ones who spend the festival process focusing on their script development rather than a big-budget production value.
What if my show runs longer than two hours?
Lots of full-length shows run longer than two hours, so it’s totally understandable if your show runs that long when you submit your script. If accepted, you will need to make trims and cuts to make your show fit 2 hours. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for us to allow 8 festival shows to run longer than that. Your show still has to be the full-length show you submitted to us — you can’t do just act one, or just a concert of your music, for example — but your assigned show mentor can help you get your script to the proper length.
Is the festival equity?
We are currently not working on an Equity contract. That means you do not have to pay your actors, designers, stage managers, etc. — though, of course, we recommend that you do. However, we don’t want monetary concerns associated with Equity minimums to hold anyone back from getting their show up on its feet. This festival is about the writers – the people that are usually the first to start work, and the last to get paid. If you do want to cast Equity actors, you’re able to do so if you work under a Showcase code or negotiate your own contract with Equity and your actors.
How much tech time do we get?
Each show gets:
- A few hours of load-in time at the beginning of Tech week, shared with all other shows, to drop off your props and set pieces.
- 4.5 hours of tech time to program your light cues. This must include a full run of your show. So, we recommend you use 15 minutes to get your actors settled in the space, two hours to program cues, two hours to do a full start-to-finish run of your show, and 15 minutes to load everyone out.
- In the past, we have been able to offer additional time in the theater for spacing (without tech) for an hourly rate, but that is not guaranteed.
Note: Each show in the festival has a running time limit of 2 hours. If you submit a show that runs longer than that, you will be expected to make some trims and cuts to get it down to 2 hours.
Are there awards?
Of course! We’ll have a closing night ceremony with Awards for best production, best book, best music, actor, actress, directing, etc. Our judges will be a board of industry professionals who will come to the performances and fill out a handy dandy judging form to rate your show in all categories, and offer constructive feedback.
What kind of network-building activities will there be?
We’ll arrange meetings between all of the creative teams to mingle and update each other on everyone’s shows and progress, and all writers will get complimentary tickets to every other show in the festival. We’d also love to have all participants return to provide mentoring to future writers in the festival — or return to the festival with a new show. And, of course, our Closing Night Party will be the most fun networking of the year!
If this festival is all about the ladies, then why do you let male writers participate at all?
We believe in forwarding the voices of women – and we also believe that working together is a great way to do that. If our 50% female rule can inspire a male composer to pair with a qualified female book writer rather than convincing his college roommate to do it, we’re taking strides in the right direction.
Any other rules we should know?
Upon acceptance into the festival, you’ll get a welcome packet and contract with all of the details. But here are the basics:
- Your show has a running time limit of two hours. Lots of shows get submitted that run longer than that, so you’re welcome to submit your show as-is and make trims later.
- Your show will only have 15-30 minutes to set up, and 15 minutes to strike. So, your director needs to keep that in mind as you’re planning your design elements.
- If you go over your allotted tech time or running time, we’ll have to fine you to cover the labor and space rental costs.
- If you don’t think your show can work under these constraints, this may not be the festival for you!