Directing

Cha-cha-cha- changes

Ten Things to think about when you’re preparing to ask Theatrefolk for changes to a play.

  1. The best time to ask about a change is before you decide to do the play. That’s going to be easiest for everyone involved, you haven’t gone to the trouble of applying for royalties, and it gives us lots of time to respond. And if the answer is not to your liking you have time to choose another play.
  2. If that’s not possible, ask ASAP. If you write the day before your performance, what will you do if the answer comes back as a “no?”
  3. Do not assume your changes are going to be approved. The play is the playwright’s work and they have the final say on changes.
  4. And conversely, don’t expect we’re going to say no! Never be afraid to ask. We work with schools every day as do the majority of our playwrights. We’re very cognisant of administrations when it comes to fear changes and also time constraints when it comes to competition.
  5. Formulate every specific change in writing. Do not ask for blanket permission to be able to change whatever you want.
  6. Explain why changes are being made. The more information we have, the more we can share with the playwright. “We want to change some lines” is not helpful.
  7. If the answer comes back as “No” writing back to berate our choice (especially by telling us how disappointed the students are in us) will probably not make us change our minds.
  8. Ask yourself before you contact us, – Does this change maintain the integrity of the play?
  9. Think of it this way, you are only renting the play. You don’t own it. It’s the same as if you were renting a car – would you be able to change the colour of the car without asking? Same goes for putting on a play, you can’t make changes on your own without¬†permission.
  10. Every play comes with a license that says the play must be performed as written unless you have written permission. Please don’t treat that license frivolously! If you treat the play with respect, the playwright with respect, and the procedure with respect, chances are the same will be returned to you.

About the author

Lindsay Price