2021-2022 MAJESTICPIECE THEATRE PROPOSAL PROCESS
So you'd like to direct an online play for the Majestic Theatre! Excellent. We're so excited that you'd like to help us offer accessible theatre to meet the needs of our community during our transitional year out of the pandemic.
No formal directing experience is necessary to apply as a director for this program! Many of the Majesticpiece Theatre productions that we have featured over the past year have been directed by first-timers, and it's a perfect, low-pressure way to start your directing journey.
The Majestic Theatre (a division of the City of Corvallis Parks and Recreation department) is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion and to creating a safe place for actors of all backgrounds to explore their craft. We are particularly eager to work with directors of color and other directors from marginalized communities. The Majestic Theatre staff and volunteers do not discriminate on the basis of age, national origin, race, gender, ethnic background, ability, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.
Are you more of a visual processor? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a video that covers the below information:
If you process things by reading, read on!
What Is the Majesticpiece Theatre Program?
In the midst of the March-April 2020 COVID lockdowns, theatre staff scrambled to find something to replace our abruptly cancelled programs and productions. We were able to quickly pivot into the wild world of virtual theatre with the introduction of the Majesticpiece Theatre initiative. Using the Zoom video conferencing client in conjunction with some other video production tools, we have learned as a community how to create engaging and exciting online theatre experiences for our actors, directors, and patrons alike.
Directors propose shows for performance on Zoom, and once accepted, theatre staff helps to begin the planning process. In the weeks leading up to the show, the theatre puts out a call for video auditions from prospective actors. Directors cast their show from this pool of auditions, and after a relatively brief all-virtual rehearsal process, stream the show live on our Vimeo page and our Facebook page simultaneously for one night only. Afterwards, the show is archived on our YouTube channel for anyone to enjoy. Actors do not need to memorize their lines, so a long rehearsal process isn’t necessary, and the whole program is designed so that first-time directors can have a fun way to get their feet wet and so that actors who might not have the availability or ability to commit to a longer, onsite rehearsal process can still participate in a meaningful theatrical experience.
Theatre staff fully supports these productions from start to finish, helping directors with everything from publicity to adaptation work to stage management. We can adjust the extent of that support based on each director’s experience, interests, and comfort level. Our goal is to make Majesticpiece a fun and approachable process for absolutely anyone who’d like to participate.
So what are we looking for in a successful MPT proposal? Here are some guidelines to get you started.
First-time directors and directors from historically marginalized communities will be preferenced for this program, but all are welcome to apply.
We’re looking for shows in the public domain. MPT operates on a negligible budget and livestreams shows for free/pay-what-you-can directly to Facebook Live. In order to continue with that model, we unfortunately cannot do a show for which we have to pay rights. As a general rule, this excludes almost all scripts written after 1928. (We have, however, successfully produced original work for our MPT program in association with local playwrights, and we will happily consider proposals of this nature.) If you’d like some suggestions to get you started, here’s a list of some public domain possibilities.
We aim for a runtime of 60-120 minutes for MPT shows, as they do not have an intermission. Most public domain scripts are on the wordy side and need to be trimmed down for length. Some older scripts must be edited or revised to remove objectionable or dated content. Depending on the action of the play or the concept of the production, many also need the addition of some kind of narration in order to make a successful Zoom transition. This could take the form of a very traditional scene-setting Narrator character (see: Gallathea); one of the characters narrating/having narrative title cards interspersed through the action (see: Sherlock); or, as was the case with our production of Macbeth, staged in such a way that narration is not necessary. If the idea of adapting a script in this manner seems daunting, never fear! Theatre staff can work with you to help you make that happen.
A successful proposal will have some kind of vision that answers one (or more) of the following questions. Why is this play relevant right now? What is your “hot take” on the action, plot, or characters? What will you do with the staging to make it work in an online format? How could the production of this particular play further the Majestic Theatre’s commitment to diversity and inclusion?
The Proposal Process
Step One: Choose a play (or two) you’d like to direct, and email MPT coordinator Rachel Kohler at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestion(s). She’ll be able to give some initial feedback on whether or not the choice(s) will work for the program and the format, and this can also start an initial dialogue about any adaptation help you might require.
Step Two: Once you’ve settled on a final choice for a proposal (or more than one, if you like; only one per director can be chosen, but we always encourage directors to propose more than one thing to see what fits better in the season), we will send you a proposal form to fill out. If you decide to submit more than one proposal, please fill out the form once for each play proposed.
Step Three: Wait to hear back! We’ll be filling our MPT slots for the 2021-22 season on a rolling basis, but the sooner you apply, the more slots you’ll have available. (If you are a repeat director, we may hold onto your proposal for a little longer to give others a chance to get a proposal in.)
Step Four: If your proposal is approved, theatre staff will reach out to you to begin planning logistics for your performance date, rehearsal process, and staffing needs.
Step Five: Profit! You’ll be helping to enrich the Corvallis theatre community with an amazing online show.