San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

The North Park Playwright Festival–An Interview with Jeff Bushnell

2014-09-12
Tell us about yourself.
My wife, Summer Golden, and I opened North Park Vaudeville and CandyShoppe in 2003 with the mission of producing new, unproduced plays and involving as many people as were interested, in making live theater.  We welcome everyone, young or old, experienced or brand new, and those with various handicaps.  Since that time we have produced over well over 400 brand new, mostly short, plays from around the world. Most through our North Park Playwright Festival or our Ten Minute Madness program.  We also usually do one royalty play a year, a melodrama, and various other programs and music shows.  We run a large program for mentally challenged actors and they act in shows of their own and some of the actors act in our productions.  They do a great job and are well received by our audiences.We have introduced literally hundreds of people to acting and directing and have a large group of people who work in our theater.  It is totally run by Summer and myself and funded by us.North Park Vaudeville is a small, 35 seat, theater.  While small we are extremely well equipped and nicely decorated.  It is not your usual storefront black box.
Tell us about the North Park Playwright Festival.
In support of our mission of new plays and new people, Summer started the North Park Playwright festival in 2003.  The first festival had only 12 plays, most local.  The second year a local playwright asked if he could put the word out to his online playwriting group.  This increased our submitted plays to over 60 and it has since grown to the point that we receive over 250 plays each year from playwrights around the world.  We have met many of them and many submit each year.The festival runs over four weekends in October each year.  A different program of 6-7 plays is presented each weekend. The festival is different from most.  There is no cost to enter.  Plays are read and “voted on” by the directors and the plays with the most “votes” get produced.  The plays are assigned to a director that wants to direct the play.  Some directors are new and some are experienced.  We have many that have directed for us for years.  Some of our actors are brand new and others are very experienced.  The festival is a vehicle for supporting our mission of new plays and new people.  Almost all playwrights that have come and seen their work performed have been very happy with the result and really enjoyed themselves.
How does the North Park Playwright Festival support local playwrights?
We provide an opportunity for local playwrights to have their work performed.  As the directors vote on the plays they are required to include at least one local play in their total of 5 votes.  This way we always have local plays in the work to be performed.  This year we have four local plays out of the 25 being performed.  It is not a workshop or a reading. The playwrights are not involved in the directing or performance aspects of the play.  It is as if the play was being done in another state. New playwrights have to understand that after they send their work off, it is up to the director as to how it will look onstage.
How can local playwrights support the North Park Playwright Festival?
Submit their plays!  All plays must meet the standards we are looking for, these can be found at http://www.northparkvaudeville.com.  We look for short “ten minute” plays with no more than 4 actors.  Plays should be suitable for production with minimal props as we do 6 plays an evening. We also don’t do nudity, “blue” or bathroom humor.  Most subjects are OK, but we screen all plays and if we have objections we contact the playwright and let them know what they are.Tickets to the festival are available at our website, http://www.northparkvaudeville.com.
Thanks for talking with us, Jeff! Good luck with the North Park Playwright Festival!
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