Theater Info for the Washington DC region

The NVTA 30th Annual One-Act Play Festival

By • Jun 23rd, 2011 • Category: News, NVTA

The 30th Annual One-Act Play Festival sponsored by NVTA (formerly the Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance) opened last weekend at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church, Virginia. Ten plays will be performed over two weekends. Of the ten productions, two were previously published works and the remaining eight were original pieces by local playwrights. While there are twenty companies which are members of NVTA, only six companies are participating in this year’s festival.

Each production is judged publicly immediately after the performance. This year’s judges are Roger Bennett Riggle, Kimberley Schraf, and Craig Wallace. Each judge is allowed five minutes to share their thoughts about the production. At the end of the festival, the judges will decide on awards in various acting, playwrighting, and technical categories. The Awards will be announced on Sunday, June 26th at 7pm.

NVTA also provides three scholarships to college students who will be studying theater. This year the scholarships were given to Madeleine Curtis (Loudoun Valley High School), Matt Kelly (Osbourne High School), and Emily Adler (W.T. Woodson High School).

We attended the two original comedies on Saturday evening: This Play Sucks, produced by the Laurel Mill Playhouse, and After The Garden, produced by Prince William Little Theatre. According to Deb Crawford, one of this year’s festival co-producers, the first evening’s performances were well received by the opening night audience. There were many empty seats on Saturday night. That’s a shame, because the prices for the festival are very fair ($14 per evening, or $35 for a festival pass).

What could be done to increase attendance?

  • Why don’t more member companies participate in the festival? A one-act festival is a wonderful opportunity for a group to let one of their members try their hand at directing before committing them to a full play during the season. It is also a chance for getting more actors and designers involved.
  • With only ten plays, it would be helpful if each could be performed twice, perhaps each show once per weekend. Some buzz could be generated from people that see the first performance, as well as allowing audience members some flexibility for attending.
  • NVTA is made up of volunteers, all of whom are very active in their home theaters, but it would be useful for NVTA to have a stronger presence on Twitter and Facebook. Even asking the companies that are putting on shows to make Facebook events and mention the performance on Twitter would be useful, and free.
  • Perhaps the festival could be upgraded to a conference. Friday and Saturday evenings could remain performances, while during the day on Saturday NVTA could hold a series of roundtable discussions, or tutorials, or lessons from experienced directors, designers and actors.

NVTA is in a good position if they could capitalize on their history. A new effort at getting more participation in the annual festival should result in a stronger organization as NVTA enters its second thirty years.

Disclaimer: NVTA provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this article. And ShowBizRadio donates web site hosting and maintenance for the NVTA web site.

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