Polyphone Festival Application Guidelines

 

HOW TO APPLY

POLYPHONE FESTIVAL OF NEW AND EMERGING MUSICALS 2021

Due Friday, September 4, 2020 11:59pm (See below for how to apply)


WHAT IS POLYPHONE?

The Polyphone Festival of New and Emerging Musicals is a nationally recognized festival of the emerging musical at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. For the last six years, we’ve brought professional composers, librettists, directors, choreographers and music directors from the field to the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at UArts to work with student casts and creative teams on musicals in progress.

The Polyphone process supports creators of new musicals with a paid opportunity to make their work, while giving over 100 students on-the-ground training in new musical theater development.  We give adventurous new musicals time and space to develop, free from the pressures of commercial interests, producing theaters, or reviews.

We have traditionally programmed 4 musicals each year, cast from around 150 auditioning students and workshopped over a 7-week process. The final presentations have been off-book, staged concert productions with a small band and full lighting and sound design. Our process has allowed creators to make changes throughout the rehearsal period and work their musical on its feet for the first time.

Past Polyphone Artists include:
Joanna Settle (co-founder), César Alvarez (co-found and founding Artist Director), Sam Pinkleton, Storm Thomas, Derek Lee McPhatter, Maggie-Kate Coleman, Erato A. Kremmyda, Michael R Jackson, Germono Toussaint, Christian, Jaclyn Backhaus, Andrew Neisler, Annie Tippe, Jeanna Phillips, Michael R. Jackson, Stephen Brackett, Malika Oyetimein, Joshua Gelb, Dan Fishback, Orion Johnstone, Andrew Butler, Andrew Farmer, Kent Nicholson.

Polyphone has also developed musicals by UArts students, which have gone on to further development at Ars Nova.

TAKE A LOOK! 

AMERICAN THEATER WING’S DOCUMENTARY ABOUT POLYPHONE:

The American Theater Wing’s documentary, Working in the Theater

HOW WILL THE PANDEMIC AFFECT POLYPHONE 2021?

The Polyphone Festival staff recognizes that we are living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2020 Polyphone Festival was cut short due to quarantine restrictions, but our hope is that we will be able to gather safely in the Spring semester of 2021 and proceed with the festival as planned. This Fall the UArts community will make theater together despite the challenges and limitations of an all online semester.  In the Spring we will continue to prioritize the safety and health of UArts students, faculty, staff, and guest artists above all as we maintain our commitment to the creation of vital, dynamic theatrical work. Should the festival be unable to culminate in live performance due to the ongoing pandemic, we will work with guest artists in a spirit of openness and transparency to find new ways to honor their process and further the development of their musicals.

IS MY MUSICAL A GOOD FIT FOR POLYPHONE?

We are looking for original musicals that are in development with a cast of 7 or more characters. (A cast of 10-15 is ideal.) We define a musical as a performance in which music is a primary mode of storytelling. This can include ensemble-based, devised, experimental and/or operatic work as well as more traditionally-structured book musicals.

If your musical is too big, too weird, too political, too queer, too experimental, too personal, too edgy, too esoteric, too provocative, or too SOMETHING for most musical theater development opportunities, please send it our way!   

We at Polyphone are especially motivated to program voices and stories that are traditionally underrepresented in the musical theater canon. We see this moment as an opportunity to deconstruct and unsettle the ways in which we develop new work.  We acknowledge that we have employed industry-standard structures that uphold the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, and we seek to actively use this moment to free ourselves from those oppressive standards by reimagining and redefining the process of new musical development.  If you find the limitations of this application process do not offer adequate access for you, your voice, and your story to reach us,  please contact  Artistic Director Maggie-Kate Coleman at marcoleman@uarts.edu

AS A POLYPHONE AUTHOR YOU RECEIVE:

  1.         Artistic Fee.
  2.         (for Non-Philadelphia artists) Housing is provided during weekend rehearsals as well as the tech/production process, and reimbursement of bus transportation to Philadelphia is provided.
  3.         Paid professional director, music director, and choreographer as needed. If a project has an attached director, music director, or choreographer, we will work to bring them on board when possible.
  4.          Student cast, band (3-5 musicians) and creative assistants.
  5.           Dramaturgical, logistical and technical support from the festival creative leadership and the UArts community.

ELIGIBILITY:

  1.         The musical should be in development and have a cast requiring 7 or more performers. (A cast of 10-15 is ideal.)
  2.         The musical should have a completed first draft (electronic copies only in PDF form, no hand-written scripts will be accepted) and must have been read at least once in a reading, workshop, or concert setting.
  3.         Authors and lead creatives must be in residence in Philadelphia Friday through Sunday during the rehearsal and festival period. For Non Philadelphia-based artists, bus travel and housing will be provided for weekend rehearsals, tech and festival weeks. There is no housing for the full 6-week rehearsal period.
  4.         Lead creative team members should be available for rehearsals Friday Nights, Saturdays and Sundays starting mid February 2021, with tech and performances scheduled early to mid April 2021. The exact calendar is currently TBD. A complete production calendar will be provided at time of acceptance.
  5.         Artists that will be enrolled undergraduate students in the spring 2021 semester are not eligible with the exception of UArts students.  

Please Note:

Polyphone is a hybrid educational and creative opportunity. Polyphone guest artists are asked to play the role of educator and artist during the rehearsal period.

Polyphone Festival performances employ limited physical production, but full lighting and sound support using primarily handheld mics (wired and wireless). Bands are limited to 3-5 musicians.  There is no projection or video support for Polyphone.


TO APPLY FOR POLYPHONE 2021: 

Complete the following online form: APPLICATION FORM

DUE SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 11:59pm

Authors may apply with no more than two musicals, each as a separate application.

If you have any technical issues with the application form or process, please contact Associate Producer Lindsay Cram at lcram@uarts.edu.

ZOOM Q&A WITH ARTISTIC DIRECTOR MAGGIE-KATE COLEMAN

Artistic Director Maggie-Kate Coleman will hold 3 question and answer sessions via Zoom before the application deadline: 

Sunday, August 16 2-3:30pm EST (UArts students and Alums particularly encouraged to attend)

Tuesday, August 18  2-3:30pm EST  

Wednesday, August 19, 6-7:30 EST

Please complete the following google for to register for the Q&A session of your choice:

Q&A RESERVATION FORM

Polyphone was co-founded in 2015 by César Alvarez and Joanna Settle.


Questions about Polyphone?

Email Lindsay Cram: lcram@uarts.edu

Hart Island Requiem, Polyphone 2019
From Hart Island Requiem, Polyphone 2019

Search The Ira Brind School of Theater Arts
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