Choosing the amateur theatre script for production is a fundamental piece of the puzzle which might make your show a success. There’s lots to consider and how you choose your script is likely to be unique to you. You know your actors best and you know your local audience best. That’s the best indicators of whether a script becomes a successful production. Of course there’s lots to consider when reading scripts so I’ve put together some pointers that I think about when putting on a production.
Can you cast your show? This is key to whether the script will be a success and it’s not really possible to predict fully until you hold auditions for a production. However, if you have a possible cast in your mind then at least you know you can put on the show. Often people crop up that you haven’t met before and often take lead roles and other parts.
If a show passes the casting test, staging is the next thing to think about. Are there any big set pieces or difficult to stage sections of the show? Do you have the right people on the team to build these set pieces and are your cast capable of keeping the show moving at a good pace? Is there nudity or other difficulties you might encounter? All good things to consider.
Try to draw up a draft budget which you can then compare against afterwards to improve your predictions for next year. Can you afford to put on the show including any royalties and PRS licenses needed? Are costume, set or prop costs higher than usual and does this need to be taken into account when deciding on ticket sales? Ultimately if you can’t afford to put on a show it won’t be a success long-term.
Will the show find an audience in the venue you’re performing it? Will it be popular with your local audience and can you sell tickets. No one likes to perform to an empty audience so this is key to the shows success.
Will the members enjoy putting on the production? Without buy-in from the cast and crew in your group, the show will be hard-going for the creative team. Try to explain why the show is great when putting it forward to your members.
Many shows are only available to be licensed at certain times of the year in specified areas. You must always contact the licence holder to see if it is available. Some license holders for musicals available for amateur license are Samuel French, Theatrical Rights Worldwide, Josef Weinberger, Really Useful Group and Music Scope.
Hopefully this will help you mount your amateur production of a musical, play or pantomime and choose the right script for your group.