Playwriting Teaching Drama

We Are Old School. We Are New School.

It just occurred to me that Theatrefolk is both a traditional company and a new-media company. For instance, we sell our plays as books, but you can also get them as electronic PDFs.

The book industry is in the middle of the same type of revolutionary digital upheaval as the music industry. We started a bit later than them, but we’re facing the same issues.

Here’s how I see the traditional way of choosing and performing a play compared with the digital way.

The “Traditional” way of choosing and performing a play.

  • The director goes through our catalogue and reads small blurbs about our plays.
  • Based on the blurbs, they will order single copies of one or more books to peruse for production consideration.
  • The director waits for the books to arrive in the mail.
  • The director reads through the books and selects one of the plays for production.
  • Then director contacts us a second time, orders a cast&crew-sized set of scripts and royalties for the show.
  • The director again waits for the books to arrive in the mail.
  • Then the fun of producing the play begins.

The “Digital” way of choosing and performing a play.

  • The director browses our website, reads blurbs and free sample pages from our plays.
  • Based on the free sample, they will order PDF versions of one or more books to peruse for production consideration.
  • The PDFs are delivered instantly.
  • The director reads through the scripts and selects one of the plays for production.
  • Then director returns to our website, orders a license to photocopy the script for the cast/crew and royalties for the show.
  • The rights and photocopy license are delivered instantly.
  • Then the fun of producing the play begins.

Which is better?

Both systems have their pros and cons:

  • Digital is faster.
  • Digital is cheaper.
  • The photocopy license is awesome if a student misplaces his script.
  • Traditional leaves the students with a nice souvenier of their production.
  • PDFs don’t sit well on a bookshelf.

For the foreseable future, both options will be available to you. I can’t imagine a day when nobody will want to hold physical books. But one look at the music industry tells me otherwise.

Here’s to the old! Here’s to the new!

About the author

Craig Mason