Atlanta’s home for original plays & musicals by top emerging writers
Photo: RATHSKELLER, A Musical Elixir by Brianna Kothari Barnes at SheATL 2023.
About the SheATL Summer Theater Festival
What is a theater festival?
The typical theater festival is an opportunity for playwrights to self-produce their work in full onstage, for a paying audience. Festivals have multiple shows which all share resources (like the theater itself, front-of-house staff and supplies, and technical equipment), making the process far less expensive for everyone than producing your show in full on your own. If you’ve done readings already and feel like you’re ready to take the next step of seeing your piece fully staged, a festival is probably the right fit for you!
What’s the festival timeline?
We will notify accepted shows by the end of March 2024.
Throughout the month of May, we will guide you through a brief workshop process with mentors to get your script ready for production!
Throughout June you can take more time with your script and start planning out your production, then we recommend you start rehearsals in July.
The Festival tech and performances will take place in late August 2024, exact dates TBD.
How is SheATL different?
We pride ourselves on providing more for less. As a registered non-profit, we’re able to charge no participation fee, and you get the full SheATL staff on your team to co-produce your show with you! We take care of most of the logistics, so you can focus on the creative parts of producing your show.
Note we are unfortunately not able to provide any financial support for travel/housing, so if you live outside of Atlanta, please take that into consideration before applying.
Script Submissions For the 2024 Festival Due November 15
Submissions are now open for consideration for our 2024 Festival. You can submit your script any time through November 15, 2023 at 11:59pm EST.
What kind of shows we accept:
- Full-lengths only (running time between 1 and 2 hours)
- Plays, musicals, or adaptations
- The writing team must be at least 50% marginalized genders (cis women, trans men and women, and non-binary people)
- The writing team must be based in the Southeast United States
What kind of shows we do not accept:
- Short plays or short musicals (less than one hour)
- Pieces that are adapted from works that are not public domain or that you can’t prove you have the rights to produce
We help you produce your show. What does that mean, exactly?
The rental of the theater and all of the equipment that goes inside of it:
- All light rentals
- All curtain rentals
- Laptop and speaker system for sound cues
- Miscellaneous tech items like gaff tape, common tools, etc.
- A tech slot to tech your show
- General Liability Insurance for your time inside the theater (note that this does not cover your rehearsal time outside of the theater; you may be required to get additional insurance for AEA if you hire AEA actors)
We provide the staff IN the theater to make your tech and performances run smoothly, including:
- A Production Manager to run your tech and call your show
- A lighting designer to design your lights and program the light board during your tech
- Full front of house staff – Ushers, Box Office, and House Manager
Additionally, our Producing team is there to manage the Festival as a whole, and help support you throughout the process.
SOME SET PIECES & PROPS
- We provide some limited 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.
MARKETING & ADVERTISING
- We have a marketing campaign advertising the festival as a whole with social media ads, Google Ads, and various ads on other digital outlets that theatergoers frequent.
- Our Festival Producers are there to guide you through the festival process, offer advice, and be an extra set of hands to help out as needed.
- Throughout April, we’ll have a mentor-led workshop process for your script to get it ready for production.
Some other tools and items we provide are:
- A $300 stipend for the writer + 12% of Box Office revenue
- Playbill design
- A closing night party
- Full ticketing system managed by SheATL Box Office staff
- A life-long community of artists who will support all of your work in the future!
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM
You can choose to work with Union or non-Union artists.
- If you do hire AEA actors, you will need to manage your contract or code with them and provide the insurance required by AEA
Any additional set, costumes, and props that aren’t covered by our shared pieces.
If your show requires a band, you/your musicians should bring their own instruments.
REHEARSAL STUDIO SPACE
You handle the entire rehearsal process before you get into the She ATL Theater. We encourage you to get creative to get free or affordable rehearsal space. Have your read-thru in someone’s living room; rehearse in the park when it’s nice out! Our staff also tries to get free & discount rehearsal space for all our shows.
“ELBOW GREASE” MARKETING
While we manage paid ads for the festival, we need your help to spread the word about your show to your networks! You likely won’t need or want to put money into this — just some old-fashioned effort of starting an Instagram for your show, emailing your network to let them know about your performances, and otherwise spreading the word to family & friends.
Pictured: FOUR WIVES AND A WILL by Bernette Sherman at SheATL 2021
Get a sneak peek behind the scenes of the SheATL shows by following us on Instagram!
Ready to apply?
Frequently Asked Questions
When will submissions open for the 2024 Festivals?
Script submissions will open in October 2023 for the 2024 SheLA, SheATL, & SheNYC Theater Festivals. They’ll be due by November 15.
At that time, the application will be live at www.SheNYCArts.org/submissions.
What is it like to do my show in the Festival?
Once you get accepted into the Festival, you’ll want to start thinking about a director for your show. We can help with that, and other creative team roles, by sharing our Artist Directory.
Next, casting! Work with your director to get your show cast, and hire any other creative team members you might need.
Then you’ll spend the 1-2 months before your performance date rehearsing and getting your show ready. Simply put, you handle your show in the rehearsal room, while our staff gets the theater ready. Our Producers and Production Manager will be checking in often to get information from you and keep you on deadline.
Our Festival staff loads all our equipment into the theater the day before tech starts. You’ll have an assigned 5-hour tech slot in which you must load in your set & costumes, do a cue-to-cue so our Lighting Designer can cue your lights, and then do a dress run of your show.
After that, you have 2-3 performances scheduled by our Production Manager. You have 15 minutes to load in your show before each performance, and 15 minutes to load out after. We handle everything related to Front of House – ticketing, box office, ushers, etc. – so all you have to worry about is what’s happening on stage.
Finally, we close the Festival with a closing night party and awards ceremony!
What makes us different from other theater festivals?
Our goal is to make this an inclusive, productive, and affordable environment to see your work produced in full. We pride ourselves on providing more for less – more support, supplies, and learning opportunities without the prohibitive submission & participation fees that other festivals require.
Also, we’re working to create a network of professionals and artists that are devoted to promoting the voices of women & gender-marginalized professionals in theater — not just put up your show and never hear from you again. We have meetings where all of the writers gather together to mingle, and hope that the other writers and artists involved in the festival will become lifelong friends, mentors, and supporters.
What are we looking for?
You’ve got an awesome show. We’ve got an awesome festival. It’s like a match made in heaven.
We look simply for shows that are high-quality and written by people of marginalized genders. We like to have a good mix of genres in each festival – plays, musicals, comedies, dramas, experimental works, and more. We also are partial to shows with themes that fit our mission of women in leadership. But at the end of the day, we want to show the world that our playwrights produce high-quality work that deserves to be seen on Broadway and stages around the country – so, the number one factor in our decision-making is how well-written your show is.
Who can apply?
Any writer of a marginalized gender (including cis women, trans women, non-binary and gender non-conforming writers), or writing team that is at least 50% marginalized genders, is eligible to apply. We’re also taking adaptations that are directed or adapted by folks of marginalized genders, even if they were originally written by men. We only accept full-length shows for the Festival (no short plays), though note that there is a 2-hour run time limit for your performance.
What kind of shows can apply?
Musicals – musicals of any size, shape, and form are welcome to apply. Just keep in mind that 2-hour run time limit. You can submit a show that runs longer than that in its current form, as long as you’re okay with making some trims for the festival.
Plays – again, plays of any size, shape, and form are welcome to apply!
Adaptations – are you a woman director or adapter who wants to do a reverse-gender production of King Lear? We love that. Just make sure you are actually able to obtain the rights to your show (sometimes, special rights have to be obtained if you want to adapt or change gender roles), or better yet, take a public domain play.
How many shows are picked and how will we pick them?
We’re aiming to take 8 shows for our She NYC Summer Theater Festival, though we reserve the right to pick as little as 6 or as many as 9 depending on what the submission pool is like. For our She L.A. Summer Theater Festival, we’ll pick 5 shows. For Atlanta, we’ll pick 3-5.
We’re judging the shows based on two things: The quality of the writing, and the relevance to our mission. Mostly, we’re focused on giving marginalized writers the notoriety and publicity they deserve, so the subject matter of your show will only play into the judging if we have a really tight race between two shows. If we’ve got one slot left and two equally awesome shows, and one is about Napoleon and one is about Molly Pitcher, we’ll probably pick the Molly Pitcher one.
How does the selection process work?
You submit your scripts and application materials by the submission deadline. We pass your script around to a team of script readers, so each script will be read by at least three different people. The shows that get the highest ratings get passed along to the semi-final round, where they will be read by at least two more script readers, with the highest-scoring shows moving to the finalist round. Starting in February, we’ll be notifying people if they’re finalists on a rolling basis. From there, the finalists are read by our full staff, and we make our final decisions after an in-depth team discussion.
By April, all of our selected participants will be notified, and we can start getting to work!
If I submitted a show in the past, can I submit again?
You sure can! You can submit the same show again, particularly if you’ve revised it, or a new show. If you’ve already had a show produced in the Festival, you can also submit a new show for this year.
Will we get feedback on our submissions?
Because we don’t charge a submission fee and get such a large volume of submissions, we unfortunately don’t have the bandwidth to offer feedback on each script.
Are you a stage manager, director, choreographer, musical director, or designer? Add your name to our Artist Directory. We’ll send the writers this list of artists as a reference to help them fill in any blanks on their production teams.
Pro Tip: Write “Festival Producer” or “Festival Volunteer” under “what’s your specialty” if you’re interested in volunteering for the Festival as a whole!
The SheATL Summer Theater Festival is funded in part by a generous grant from The National Endowment for the Arts.