The Open Session
Applications for The Open Session are now closed.
The Open Session is generously supported by The Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation, as are the development processes that follow for selected writers and their scripts
We're completely open: we read scripts without the writer’s name attached, just focusing on the quality of ideas and writing style. A large number of the writers we select are new to us, and we met them only due to The Open Session process. Geographically they come from across our region: Cornwall, Devon, Bristol, Bath, Cheltenham etc.
You may be an experienced writer, or this may be the idea that has inspired you to write for the first time.
What we are looking for?
- Submissions must be from writers living and working in the South West. We define this as writers based in the counties of Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Somerset, and the unitary authorities of Bath & North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, Isle of Wight, North Somerset, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, South Gloucestershire, Southampton, Swindon, Torbay and Wiltshire. At the moment we are not able to consider work from writers who are based outside of the region.
- An original script that has not been previously produced. Plays or musicals that have emerged from a developmental stage (e.g. rehearsed readings or workshops) will be accepted.
- Plays that are complete (not only begun, or sample scenes).
- Plays you’ve taken some time to edit. If your play is much over 90 pages, it may benefit from editing.
- Musicals that are complete, along with demo recordings of at least 3 songs. OR Musicals that are not complete but are submitted in the form of a Full Synopsis of the plot along with demo recordings of at least 3 songs. Demos do not need to be polished recordings; rough demos are fine.
- We are excited by work that is distinctive and theatrical, with live staging at its heart. We're attracted by stories that ask questions and tell us something about being alive today, pieces that in some way have relevance to our own lives and consider their audience.
How do I submit my work?
- Scripts should be on commonly found document formats known to be readable by Word for Windows; or they can be pdf documents.
- One submission per writer. Take time to consider a piece of your work that is best representative of your theatrical voice. We want to get a sense of your individuality.
- Demo Songs for musicals can be uploaded via the web form. Or you can include a link to a website (such as soundcloud), or a web-based sharing site (such as Dropbox, YouSendIt or other Cloud storage) where we can hear or retrieve songs. Please set any retrieval date for as long as possible, so that we can download or stream your audio.
- Please do not send second drafts or resubmissions of works you have previously sent in to us.
- Please do not send us scripts for radio, film, television or adaptations of other work.
- Only include the play/musical TITLE on the script document itself – not your name or contact details. This is because all submissions will be read with the writer's identity anonymous.
A few things to keep in mind:
- We will not read entries sent before 1 Jun or after midnight on 30 Jun.
- Page numbers, character breakdowns and legible type/layout are required.
- Plays will take approximately three months from the closing date to go through our reading system. We receive a large volume of submissions so please bear with us.
- We will let you know the outcome of your submission when a decision has been reached.
- We will announce the selected submissions on the Bristol Old Vic.
What happens when you send us your script?
- When we have received your script, we will send you an acknowledgement so you know it’s arrived safely. This is done within two days of receipt.
- Next, the play will be read by a member of our extensive and trusty script reading team, made up of producers, playwrights and directors.
- We will give email feedback to the top 15 submissions. These will be chosen based on the work that we feel demonstrates individual flair and complements Bristol Old Vic's programming.
- The plays that most get our pulses racing will be offered bespoke packages of development. These will be created in conversation with the writers selected and this ongoing relationship may lead to commissioning opportunities.
So that's it.... be bold, be adventurous.
We look forward to receiving your plays and musicals.