Anonymous Submission Process
It’s important to us that play selection is anonymous, so there’s no room for any subconscious or conscious bias based on the playwright. When you submit your play, it goes to the AGM, who removes your name and any identifying information from the script and cover letter. The AGM gives the anonymous versions to the rest of the board to read. An important part of the AGM’s job is maintaining the integrity of this process and not revealing any information until the season has been chosen.
Why does SATCo choose the same playwrights more than once?
If you see more than one play written by the same person, it’s because they have high-quality work, rather than because we are biased towards that person. This is one of the reasons for our anonymous submissions process. However, in the spirit of giving opportunities, we will not produce work by the same playwright two seasons in a row.
Who picks the shows?
The entire board chooses the season together. The year reps, as the only elected positions, get an extra vote on behalf of their year’s student body in the final rounds of selection. The year reps also have a stronger say in vetoing work that their body of students may find offensive or undesirable.
How are the plays scored?
Before the selection meeting, every board member will have read every play and given it a numerical score. The score is based on the following four categories: opportunities for actors and directors; opportunities for designers and technicians; use of the space, budget and effective use of available resources; quality of written work (ingenuity/artistic integrity/vision/creativity). The scores are compiled by the AGM and give us a sense of which plays are more likely to be chosen.
What happens at the selection meeting?
The board discusses each show in detail, giving every board member an opportunity to speak. Some positions focus more on aspects of the show related to their area (eg. TDs often comment on technical elements, Front of House may focus on audience appeal). Your year reps use this time to advocate for you based on your feedback: what shows would be most appealing for you as an audience member and as an artist who may work on the shows. After this, the scores are revealed by the AGM, and we enter a more detailed discussion on the highest-scoring shows. Finally, we enter several rounds of voting, eliminating shows as we go. When we’re down to the final few shows, we also discuss the balance of the season. We won’t pick three shows of the same genre, or three shows with only roles for women, for example. Once we’ve selected the season, the AGM reveals the playwrights. Shows can still be eliminated after the reveal for very specific reasons: for example, if that playwright was very recently produced by SATCo or has been produced frequently by SATCo. Often, AGMs will mention this information earlier in the process so we can eliminate that show sooner (rather than revealing their identity, they will say “this play was written by someone who was produced last season,” for example).
Why wasn't my play chosen?
There are lots of reasons this could happen. The most common reasons are those listed in the scoring criteria: not enough quality opportunities, impossible or very difficult to produce (budget, resources, space), or the quality of the script was less original or polished than the other submissions. It could be something else. Maybe we produced a really similar play last season or the script is too long. There are tons of reasons. Keep in mind that we receive lots of submissions, and there are lots of factors that go into the decision. You can always workshop your script and resubmit!
Why doesn't SATCo provide feedback about rejected scripts?
Time and confidentiality. We receive about 20-30 submission each season, and writing out helpful feedback for each and every one is not a feasible workload for our volunteer staff and board. Remember that we’re students, and season selection takes place during the end of the semester, which is the busiest time for most of us. In addition, the season selection meeting is confidential, so we can’t share the details of our discussion with you. We recommend workshopping your script with a group of people, or having someone edit and refine with you, if you’re looking for an outside eye.