Directing at CST
Chicago Street Theatre welcomes submissions from directors. While we select our upcoming season each year in late winter, season selection is a year-around process, and we are always excited to have the opportunity to read a new script. We produce a wide variety of plays, including Shakespeare, classics, comedies, cutting-edge drama, family productions, and musicals. We want to hear from you about the scripts that "light your fire!" Before you submit your production proposal, we'd like to share some insights to help you understand what informs our selection process.
- A play must be good--really, really good. There are thousands of good plays out there of every description. There are also thousands of not-so-good plays. Your starting point is a play that is celebrated for its excellence, whatever its genre. We want to entertain, to challenge, to enlighten, to make the world a larger and more interesting place for our audience, and that is what a good play achieves.
- A play must meet our standard of "the ensemble." Chicago Street Theatre is an ensemble theatre, both onstage and off. Our framework, our mission, our vision, our commitment, and our passion are all informed by the concept that theatre is best when many people with many sets of talents and gifts share the incredible, audacious act of making live theatre happen. From our performers and directors to our designers, technical staff and backstage crew, we are all part of the process, and the plays we produce reflect that shared approach.
- A play must be one that we can reasonably produce in our small space. While we do occasionally produce large-cast plays, and indeed we are renowned for the thoughtful design that allows us to make the most of a small, wingless stage without fly space, the play must embody a concept that allows us to use that cast to its best advantage in the space we have. We simply cannot shoehorn in a cast of thousands--no elephants either, though we do manage the occasional small dog.
- We look for balance in casting opportunities. If you can't throw the doors wide open to everyone in theatre, then there isn't any place where it can be done. That doesn't preclude a play that is guy-heavy or girl-heavy or anything-heavy, but it does mean that as we put a season together, we think in terms of opportunities for the widest possible range of the gifted actors working in the Region.
- We look for passion and understanding in a director. Do you know the script inside and out? Can you anticipate and solve production problems? Can you tell us what technical resources you will require? Is your vision flexible or very precise (either answer is correct, by the way; you just need to be able to tell us why!) Can you tell us why you love this play, and why we should love it too?
- We must appeal to our audience. While we are excited about the fact that we share a growing (and increasingly sophisticated) audience for live theatre here in the region, we also know that there must be something about the play that will make our audience want to come and see it. Audiences, like actors, are willing to take risks, but the risk should never seem unreasonable. A play about seven physics majors trapped in an elevator with a catatonic chef could be absolute fascinating, but there must be something about it that makes our audience want to come and see it. There must, in short, be some way to "sell" an audience on taking this chance. We like musicals. Really, we do. But because of our limited space, we cannot produce musicals that require a full orchestra, a dozen set changes, and an endless chorus line. For us, the ideal musical is the "small," perhaps slightly quirky, ensemble piece that can be realized with a small group of musicians. We also do best with an "actors' musical"--one that provides opportunities for wonderful performances as well as wonderful voices.
If you would like to direct at Chicago Street Theatre, please click the button below and fill out the form with as much detail as possible and the Artistic Committee will review your proposal. Thank you for considering CST for your project!