Bench is an amateur theatre company based in Havant (Hampshire) which was founded in 1969 and is a registered charity. Supernova is our festival of new writing and since the first Supernova in September 2000, we have performed 68 new plays by authors from around the UK.
We will be holding our 8th Supernova festival in February 2019, and are now inviting authors to submit plays for consideration for performance in the festival.
In order to be eligible for entry to Supernova, a play must meet all of the following criteria.
We recommend that you also read the information below about selection criteria and the selection process.
There is no entry fee to the competition. However, in order to submit a play to Supernova 8, an author must grant the company the right, if it is selected, to perform it as part of the festival without any payment for performance rights. If a play has joint authors, both must agree to its entry into the competition. The copyright of the work performed remains with the author(s).
Any one author may submit a maximum of 4 plays for consideration to the festival.
Plays for inclusion in the festival will be selected from those submitted by a Selection Panel who will read the plays anonymously. A non-voting administrator will organise and oversee the selection process.
The objective of the selection panel is not simply to select the best plays from those submitted, but is to select the best program, in their opinion, for the festival. They will take into account the need to offer audiences a balance of theme, tone and type of play.
The panel will also consider the balance of opportunity provided to members of Bench Theatre by the plays chosen, and whether the plays can be performed practically given the membership of the company and the resources we have available. (If you would like to know more, please see the information at the end of this document.)
Selection of plays is by its nature a subjective process. The selection panel will use its best collective judgement about questions such as the number of actors needed to stage a piece, and whether it can be performed in the theatre space at The Spring. The decisions made by the panel are final.
Plays must be submitted electronically using an online form, which must be correctly filled in.
Play scripts must be submitted in a PDF format and must not include anywhere the name of the author or anything that would allow the readers to identify the author. The front-sheet of the script should include only the title of the play.
Submissions will open on 17th February 2018 and be accepted for a 6 month period, closing on 17th August 2018. In order to be considered, scripts must be submitted in accordance with the competition rules before midnight (UK time) on the closing date.
There is no rule forbidding an author from resubmitting a play which has been unsuccessfully submitted to a previous Supernova, though authors should be aware that if the panel believes one of their members is aware of the identify of the author of any entry, that entry will not be accepted for consideration. We suggest, for similar reasons, that authors refrain from discussing their entries on social media or with company members.
Each entry to the festival will be read by at least two people, provided it meets the entry criteria. Normally, they will read the entire piece, but in the case of a submission which is not considered a stage play or is of very poor quality, they may read only the first 10 pages.
The panel will produce a long-list, which will all be read by at least 4 people; Short-listed plays will be read by 6 people.
The company expects to select the final program of plays for performance before the end of November.
Authors whose plays are included on the short-list but are not selected for the festival may be provided with brief feedback from the panel to allow them to continue to work on their play, if they wish to do so. However, the company will not be able to enter into further discussion of any kind.
Supernova 8 will be performed at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant starting on Wednesday 6th February 2019 and running until Saturday 9th February.
Our previous Supernova festivals have used a variety of different formats, in terms of the number of plays included and the structure of each performance. We anticipate that Supernova 8 would have the same format as the previous two festivals, which is set out below, but we do not exclude alternatives if the panel feels a better program can be achieved.
The format of Supernova 6 and Supernova 7 was as follows:
The Spring has a small black box theatre with no wings. Authors are invited to read the available information about the available space if they feel this would be helpful, and may find the Bench’s website provides information about previous productions (including photographs) which gives them a useful sense of the space and how it can be used. In particular, the web pages relating to previous Supernova festivals illustrate some of the plays that we have been able to stage successfully.
In the case of a potentially tricky scene or effect, authors are encouraged to indicate ways in which they feel their play could successfully be staged to assist the panel in envisaging it. Similarly, if a play includes more than 6 characters, the author may wish to set out how it can be performed with 6 actors by detailing the expected doubling.
The company is reasonably diverse in terms of age and gender, but our membership reflect the predominantly white make-up of Havant and is restricted to adults.
The TFD is an annual festival of one act plays held in Totton, Southampton, each Spring, and Bench has participated every year since 2006.
Totton is a first round festival in the All England Theatre Festival and the winning production proceeds into the AETF competition. Prizes are awarded by both TDF and the AETF for original writing.
Authors should be aware that if their play is selected for performance at Supernova 8, Bench may wish to enter it into the Totton Festival of Drama and the AEDF. It is not a condition of entry to Supernova that such permission is granted. However due to the timing of the entry deadline for the festival, authors will be asked whether or not they would grant permission at the time of submitting their entry to Supernova 8.
The submission window for entries to Supernova 8 closed on 17th August and our reading panel are now working their way through those that were received.
The results will be announced in November.
© Bench Theatre 2018, registered charity 291935