How It’s New York:  Buy a coffee, meet a playwright.  Whod oesn’t want to be in show biz in the home of the Great White Way?The home of great writing programs and the Dramatist’s Guild, there are lots and lots of dramatists here, all seeking their breaks, and open to any competition opp.
How It’s Ireland:  It’s called “Tiny Plays for Ireland,” meaning the theme and content must somehow reflect on contemporary Ireland, and it’s organized by Fishamble theatre, wh brought Noah and the Tower Flower to 1st irish this year (read our review here!).  AND, one of the examples printed in the Irish Times is a touching, funny playlet by Sean McLouglin, who wrote Noah.  Read it and a short play by Michael West here.


The page is your stage: Can you write a winning tiny play?

Ever dreamed of having a play produced by a professional theatre company? ‘The Irish Times’ is supporting an exciting initiative aimed at broadening the range of voices in Irish theatre. JIM CULLETON , artistic director of Fishamble: The New Play Company, has some tips if you’d like to enter the Tiny Plays for Ireland competition.
FISHAMBLE is looking or tiny plays that explore contemporary life in Ireland. We want to create a discussion, through theatre, about our country, so we are inviting new, emerging and established writers of any age – in other words, you – to submit plays that capture moments and offer glimpses of Irish life. Fishamble choose the winners and pay each selected writer a fee of €250. We will work with you on the development of the commissioned plays and produce them in March 2012 at Project Arts Centre, in Dublin. A selection will be published in The Irish Times leading up to the production.
 Here’s Artistic Director Jim Culleton and Literary Manager Gavin Kostick talking about the competition.  Rules after the jump!

1 Write about what you know or feel passionate about. Don’t be afraid to state the obvious, if you think the obvious needs to be stated, or to take us somewhere unexpected, if you think something needs to be made public.
2 If in doubt, keep it simple: a tiny play can have a big resonance but can also be confusing if it is crammed with thoughts. The play need not deal with a big issue: write something that benefits from the 600-word limit rather than squeezing a bigger play into too tight a timeframe. Simple encounters that might capture a turning point in one of the characters’ lives, or during which a character is changed by the experience, can work well.
3 Write a fully formed play. Even though it is short, it should not seem like a sketch or an excerpt from a longer play. Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw (*editor’s note:  It was Cicero). are both credited with saying “I’m sorry to have written such a long letter, but I didn’t have time to write a short one.” Whoever said it, it is a good reminder of the unique challenge a short play poses. Your tiny play should feel satisfying and complete.
4 Don’t stretch the play to fill the word quota. Plays do not need to be as long as 600 words – and need have no words at all.
5 Read other short plays and stories, not so you can copy another writer but to consider what is possible within the genre. Fishamble has already commissioned a small number of tiny plays for this project; two of them are published here.
6 Think theatrically. A play is not just about words: it is about how the actors and audience connect, so consider this relationship. Think of yourself as the first audience of your play. There will be many tiny plays in the production, so staging will be simple, but plays can be set anywhere, and there are lots of ways to create environments on stage through the design of set, lighting, sound, costume, projection and so on. So think as imaginatively as you wish – and don’t be afraid to break the rules. A lot of great short plays do not necessarily follow the suggestions I’ve made here.

Terms and conditions

– Plays must be original to the writer and have a running time of no more than 4 minutes (as a guide, no more than 600 words, including stage directions)
– Plays should be performable by a cast of no more than 3 actors
– Plays in English or Irish are accepted or, if the writer is based in Ireland, in any other language
– Monologues are accepted but dialogue plays are preferred
– Plays should have a title and be submitted with your name to by 11 November 2011
– If you are under 18, please include your age
– No more than two plays will be accepted by any one person
– Winners will be announced in the Irish Times and on our website
– The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into
– Fishamble is funded by the Arts Council and Dublin City Council

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.