The SheLA Summer Theater Festival is the premier festival for new, original, creative works by women playwrights and composers in Los Angeles.
Script submissions to the 2022 Festival are now closed as of November 15, 2021. If you submitted a script, you’ll hear back about whether or not you move on to the semi-finalist round by February 1st!
If you missed the deadline, you can read on below about the Festival to get ready to submit next year.
Photo: Fort Huachuca by Ailema Sousa at SheLA 2021. Photo credit: Sophia Goodin Photography.
That’s a wrap!
We were back in the Zephyr Theatre July 14-18th, 2021 for an in-person summer theater festival of three new plays, followed by digital performances. We’re so proud of all of our cast, crew, and creative team members for putting up one of the first live theater events since the pandemic hit.
2022 Script Submissions
Script submissions for the 2022 SheLA Summer Theater Festival are now closed as of November 15th, 2021. We will next open script submissions in September 2022. If you missed the deadline, read on below for more details on our festival process and how you can apply next year!
Not Your Typical Theater Festival.
We empower women writers to self-produce their work, in a safe environment with subsidized costs and mentorship along the way.
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 developmental 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!
There is no participation fee to participate in the SheLA Summer Theater Festival.
The rental of a theatre and all of the equipment that goes inside of it is the biggest expense when you’re trying to self-produce. But when you’re in the Festival, SheLA covers it, including:
- All light rentals
- Laptop and speaker system for sound cues
- Miscellaneous tech items like gaff tape, common tools, etc.
- A 5-hour long tech slot to tech your show
- General Liability insurance for your time inside the theater
We provide the staff IN the theater to make your tech and performances run smoothly, including:
- A Production Manager and Associate 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
- 1-2 additional backstage crew members to use in a way that best fits your show
- Full front of house staff – Ushers, Box Office, Concessions, and House Manager
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.
- We will provide a piano in the space for those using music.
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.
A SHOW MENTOR
- Unique to SheLA, we provide a Mentor to each show. This is a member of our Festival staff who is there to guide you through the festival process, offer advice, and be an extra set of hands to help out as needed.
Some other tools and items we provide are:
- Programs for all shows
- A closing night party with awards determined by a panel of industry judges
- Full ticketing system managed by SheLA Box Office staff
- Outreach to local organizations that may apply to your show’s subject matter
- Production photography & videography
- Our Tip The Writers program allows patrons to leave you a tip, which we pay out to you at the end of the Festival
- 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, make sure you’re paying them the amount that your contract mandates, and provide the insurance required by AEA (your show mentor can help explain!).
Note that SheLA provides a lighting designer. You are welcome to hire your own lighting designer to work alongside ours if you would like. Since you’ve only got a small amount of time to tech your show and load in and out, we encourage you to keep design elements simple, but if you would like a set, props, or costume designer, you’re responsible for finding and hiring those people for your show.
Any set, costumes, and props that aren’t covered by our shared pieces.
If you need more than just a piano for your music, you or your musicians bring their own instruments.
REHEARSAL STUDIO SPACE
You handle the entire rehearsal process before you get into the SheLA Theater. Booking rehearsal studios tends to be the biggest expense in your budget, so we encourage creativity – have your read-through in someone’s living room; rehearse outside in a park when it’s nice out!
“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 creating social media pages for your show, emailing your network to let them know about your performances, and otherwise spreading the word to family & friends.
Photo: We’re Not Friends by Caroline Ullman at SheLA 2021. Photo credit: Sophia Goodin Photography.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes us different from other theater festivals?
We’re working to create a network of professionals and artists that are devoted to promoting the voices of women 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. We provide mentoring and support every step of the way, including a Show Mentor dedicated to be your advocate and personal helper during the process.
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 women 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?
Due to the high volume of submissions, we're not able to automatically offer feedback on every script. However, if you email us after the script vetting process is over, we're happy to send you notes from our readers!