Submission FAQ

Workshop presentation of  Martha’s (b)Rainstorm: A Boston Fairytale  by John J King, 2018

Workshop presentation of Martha’s (b)Rainstorm: A Boston Fairytale by John J King, 2018

When does your next submission period begin?
Submissions are currently closed. Our next submission window will open in January 2020. We will announce the specific submission date in late 2019, so stay tuned to our mailing list and social media feeds for updates about submissions. We do not accept unsolicited scripts outside of the submission period.

Do you have a preference for a specific genre or style?
We get this question a lot! The best way to get a sense of the kind of work we do is to come to one of our readings or productions and see for yourself. While we are open to plays of pretty much any genre and style, there are certainly specific elements we look for in our selections. Our favorite scripts are genuinely theatrical and embrace the magic of the stage -- very few of our productions would be considered straightforward "realism." We love plays that require deep collaboration and creativity from the artistic and design teams. We also value a diversity of gender, race, and body type on stage, and appreciate scripts that tell stories we've never heard before or highlight underrepresented voices.

Why do you cap the number of submissions?
By limiting the number of scripts we accept, it ensures that every submission gets read all the way through multiple times, is considered carefully, and that we can respond to playwrights in a timely manner. This way, your play won't be on the bottom of a slush pile for months on end waiting for someone to read it! We may eventually increase the number of submissions as we grow, but at this time we aren't able to accept more than forty scripts each submission period. In the past few years, we have reached our submission cap in under 24 hours, so be sure to submit early!

Who can submit?
Anyone over 18 and residing in the greater New England area (MA, CT, RI, VT, NH, ME) is welcome to submit. You must be currently living in one of those states to qualify as a resident -- if you were born or grew up in New England, but currently live elsewhere, we are unfortunately not able to accept your play. Additionally, you must remain a New England resident for the duration of your development cycle with us. If you are a current student attending a New England college, you may submit, but you should plan on remaining a New England resident for the duration of the Fresh Ink process if you are graduating. For writers who are New England residents but don't live in Boston, make sure you have a reliable way to commute to Boston for your reading/workshop/production, as well as regular meetings and rehearsals.

What do I submit?
One full length play in PDF format and a completed submission form. Both should be sent in one email as separate files to submissions@freshinktheatre.org. We cannot currently accept musicals, children's shows, or plays that have already had a professional production -- previous readings, workshops, or college productions of the play are fine. If you're not sure if your play is eligible, let us know and we'll help clarify!

What's the deal with the submission form?
A couple weeks before submissions open, we make a submission form available for download on our submission page. It asks a few questions about your play and what you hope to get out of the development process with Fresh Ink. We take these responses very seriously when making our selections, so we encourage you to be as thoughtful and specific as possible. If you have questions about the form, let us know!

Can I send in a play I've previously submitted?
We strongly encourage you to send us something new each year. If you do want to send a previously submitted work, it should be significantly revised, and we recommend including detailed notes about the ways in which the script has been updated in your submission email. When in doubt, you can always email submissions@freshinktheatre.org in advance of the submission date.

Actors Marc Pierre and Noah Simes in rehearsal for  That Time the House Burned Down  by MJ Halberstadt, 2016

Actors Marc Pierre and Noah Simes in rehearsal for That Time the House Burned Down by MJ Halberstadt, 2016

Does my play need to be finished before I submit?
Nope! Your play does not need to be 100% production-ready, and in fact, you’re unlikely to get selected for our season if it is. We are looking for scripts with potential -- plays that intrigue us and will benefit from some focused collaboration with our artistic team. The submission draft should be reasonably fleshed out so we can see what you’re trying to accomplish with the script, but it's ok if you're still working through some big questions. On your submission form, you should be as clear as possible about your intentions for the play and what you hope to gain from a development cycle with us. Tell us about what you feel is working well, what you still aren’t sure about, or the areas where you expect to do a lot of revising. Your script might need a little tightening up in Act I, or you might be looking to totally revamp a character or two, or you might know you want to add a new final scene -- either way, we want to know how our development process can help make it happen!

How will I know if my play is being considered?
You’ll get an email the day we receive your submission that confirms whether or not your script is one of the forty up for consideration. Once the submission window closes, we expect the selection process to take about 4-5 months. You will receive an email letting you know the status of your script in the spring, usually by early May.

I submitted my play already, but just made some revisions. Can I send you an updated draft?
You can send us a new draft if you've made substantial revisions since submitting, but please know that we can't guarantee the updated version will be considered if we've already read your previous draft. If you do send us a revised draft, it's helpful to have some context about the kinds of things you changed — if you cut a few scenes or really fleshed out a particular character, definitely note those specifics for us!

What does Fresh Ink's development cycle entail?
For the scripts selected for the full development cycle, each playwright receives a staged reading, a workshop, and a production. Though the process will be unique for each play, here's a quick run down of each development component:

The Staged Reading

Every play we select for production in our season will receive a public staged reading, called a First Look, some time in the late spring/early summer. This is a great opportunity to hear how your play sounds and to get a sense of what the audience is responding to most strongly at the beginning of the development process.

The Workshop

Each new script has different workshop needs depending on where it is in the development process, so we will work with our playwrights to create a workshop structure that best serves their project. We are able to provide the playwright with about 10-12 hours of focused workshop time, as well as a director, dramaturg, and actors to explore the text. A workshop gives the writer a chance to really examine questions presented in the play, to try out ideas related to movement or staging, and to see what other collaborators can bring to the process.

The Production

The plays selected for production will be matched with an artistic team that loves collaborating on new work. Members of the production team and cast may have participated in the reading or workshop of the play, or may be entirely new to the project. Playwrights will also collaborate with the artistic team on casting, design, and other production elements. Our productions generally run for three weekends in the winter or spring.

For the plays that are selected exclusively for an Ink Spot reading, writers will receive several hours of rehearsal time with a director, dramaturg and cast before a public staged reading in the fall.

The First Look staged reading of  La Llorona  by Cecelia Raker, 2016

The First Look staged reading of La Llorona by Cecelia Raker, 2016

How many of your plays are selected through the open submission process?
Our Ink Spots staged reading plays will be chosen directly from the scripts we receive in our open submission pool. We will also choose two or three plays for a full development cycle. If we decide to produce three plays for a season, our policy is that at least two of them must come directly from the pool of scripts we receive through our open submission process. If we select two plays for our development cycle, both scripts will likely be from the open submission pool. When crafting our submission policy, we wanted to leave a little flexibility if we ever decided to further develop a former Ink Spots play, a devised piece, a commission, or whatever other cool collaboration might come our way. We anticipate that for most seasons, we will select all our plays for production from the submission pool.

I want to develop my script with you, but I already have a director/dramaturg/actor attached to my play. Can they still work with me?
We are always eager to bring awesome collaborators into the process! If you have specific people you want to include in your workshop or production, we will do our best to make it happen, but the sooner you let us know the better. Be sure to write any special collaborator requests on your submission form, and since we can't always guarantee that your collaborator requests will be met, let us know if working with another person on your project would be a deal breaker for you. Please note that we are unable to cast Equity actors or actors under 18 years old in our productions at this time. It's also unlikely that artists/designers that live outside of New England can be part of a project with us.

I'm away for part of the year and probably can't attend the reading/workshop/production -- can I still submit?
Fresh Ink is excited to work with playwrights who are active participants in the entire development cycle, so it's important that our writers are present for each step of the process. If you have specific scheduling needs or anticipate any conflicts, let us know on your submission form. Once we select our season, we work with each writer to come up with a workshop and rehearsal schedule that can accommodate everyone, though our production dates are firm. If the full development process is too much of a commitment at this time, we encourage you to wait and submit when you can be fully involved.

Dramaturg Dori Robinson and playwright Lizzie Milanovich chat with the audience after a performance of  It's Not About My Mother , 2015

Dramaturg Dori Robinson and playwright Lizzie Milanovich chat with the audience after a performance of It's Not About My Mother, 2015

My play wasn't selected -- can I get notes or feedback on my script?
Fresh Ink does not provide feedback on any scripts we receive through our submission process that are not selected for development with us. We think it’s generally poor practice to give blind feedback on a play that we aren't actively working on, as the most useful development notes come from personal relationships and established collaborations. If you are looking for some direct responses to your script, we recommend hiring a dramaturg to chat with you about the play, participating in a local writer's group, or talking to someone you already have an artistic relationship with for the best feedback.

How can I find out about Fresh Ink submission deadlines and new play events?
The best way to stay in-the-know is to join our mailing list. You can also follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for updates about events and productions.