One of the UK’s most successful platforms for
undiscovered writing, acting and directing talent has
found a new home and a new name.
For five years, the Off Cut Festival was the springboard
for many new careers and working relationships, all born
in the spirit of collaboration, camaraderie and friendly
competition. And always with a emphasis on audience
Over a week, 15 short plays will be performed in
front of audiences at 53two. The audience will then be
asked to vote for their favourite plays. The winning plays
will then be performed again in front of an invited audience
and a panel of industry professionals. Each of these plays will be in the
running for: The Audience Awards for Favourite Play and Favorite Performance, and the Panel Awards for Writing, Directing and Acting Ensemble. One winning piece will be supported to full stage production for one week in the arches, supported by 53two's FOUNDation.
After sell out runs in London at the Old Red Lion and Riverside Studios, Off Cut has made its way to Manchester in conjunction with MAP Platform and 53Two, and is set to reveal and celebrate all the burgeoning and undiscovered talent the North has to offer.
Alongside this, our actors, directors and writers will be given workshops and mentoring with industry professionals to help them with script development, rehearsal processes and marketing techniques.
How does it work?
Submissions will be invited from across the UK however, we do hope for writers to be involved in the process and so those outside of the North should expect to travel or at least be available to liaise with your director. There will then be a rigorous reading process to find the final 15 scripts, after which, directors and actors will be selected through a series of meetings and workshops, before being teamed up at the OffCut MCR Launch party. It is here that teams are put together and writers, directors and actors form one of our several companies. Then, it's over to you!
Rehearsal Space will be offered to as many companies as we can. We have plenty of space and we will do the best we can to accommodate fairly all companies who need it.
Script Submissions Open: Monday 8th October
Script Submissions Deadline: Weds 31st October
Casting Workshops and Director Meetings: Throughout November
Scripts Announced: November 30th
Writer Mentoring Workshops: December
Director/Actor Script Workshops: December
Actor/Director Mentoring Workshops: Throughout January
Rehearsal: Throughout January
Performance: End of January
More details can be found below, outlining what and who we are looking for. Whether you are a writer, director or actor, we suggest you read all three sections to get the fullest picture of Off Cut MCR’s ethos.
You can submit a short play which is complete in itself, or an excerpt from a longer play which either is already written, or you are in the process of developing. If you are submitting a piece from a play that already exists or you are currently writing, please be aware that the full running time of that play must be no longer than 70 minutes.
Pieces submitted can be shorter than 15 minutes, but must be no longer.
Writers can submit up to three short plays or extracts. If you submit three extracts they must be from different plays on separate applications. Please note, not matter how much we like your work, only one of your plays will be chosen for the festival.
NB Do not send us the whole play. Only a 15 minute extract.
Be bold! Write whatever inspires you, thrills you, scares you, keeps you up at night… there are no rules. Except these:
•Only two, three or four actors in your cast: no monologues.
•Make every character relevant to the narrative: have the actors really want to play every role you create.
•No longer than 15 minutes, please: aim for somewhere around 12 A4 pages of 12 font, double-spaced script.
•Remember that we want you to enter into the process. Of course it is difficult to hand over your work to other creatives, but please know that we encourage script development in a nurturing environment. It may be that no one wants to change a single word of your piece, but do be prepared to listen to suggestions and respond positively to discoveries made in rehearsal.
If supporting new writing is important to you, and you enjoy working with writers and actors in developing scripts, we want you. Just a couple of things to bear in mind:
•Respect the writer’s intentions. Your vision is important in the nourishing of scripts, but please don’t get blinded by it. We want scripts to inspire you to be creative, not for you to crowbar a play into your particular styles.
•Remember you are a ‘director’, not an ‘instructor’. Use your actors’ skills in development of the piece, be inspired by them as much as you wish to inspire them.
Enthusiastic, proactive, supportive, friendly company members required. We want actors with a particular interest in developing new work. We want actors with the integrity to use their talent, skills and initiative in the development of the piece they are cast in. Please remember:
•If you want to do this just because you want the applause, we are not for you. We want actors to be part of a company; who work well with other actors, their director and the writer.
•Five days of table work and earnest 'beard-stroking' is not going to get the show on the road. They are called plays, so play!
•Be proactive. Engage with the play, bring something to the rehearsal room. Do the research: if there’s something you can’t pronounce, look it up; if there’s a reference you don’t understand, look it up; if you can’t grasp the writer’s intent, ask them. Don’t wait for someone else to just tell you what to do.
•Actors will be selected through a series of workshop auditions. All workshops are lively and light-hearted. If you are not comfortable auditioning in front of lots of people, please do not apply. N.B. Off Cut and its partners with be liaising with relevant third parties to structure a reformatted audition process for those actors who may have particular needs.
OffCut MCR and its partners will strive to create a diverse festival, actively seeking visibility, access and representation for all theatre-makers and -goers.
NB: Every participant in the festival will have only one role: writers will not be able to direct their own - or any body else's - work; directors will be assigned to only one play; actors will act in only one play.
Throughout the selection process, we will be looking to match directors and actors to the plays we feel would suit their particular fields of interest and ways of working best.
Ultimately, we are looking for robust, honest, kind, open, vigorous, inspired and inspiring people, who enter into the spirit of the festival with joy, integrity and good grace.
To register your interest and to be sent relevant info when it is published, please sign up below.