At the middle and end of every semester, Second Stage opens an application form for directors looking to put on shows during the upcoming theatrical season. After we close the form to any further submissions, we meet as a staff to curate the next season. We are restricted by the administration on the number of shows we can produce per semester, so we can only pick up to twelve shows to produce.
This page aims to provide some insight in how we decide which shows to pick and what to include in your application to make it as strong as possible.
+ General Guidelines
In evaluating applications for show sponsorship, we are seeking the following qualities:
- A team that reflects a diversity of identities and experiences:
We hope that applicants will consider their own privileges in assembling their teams, and that experienced directors, stage managers, and designers will take the opportunity to include newer members of the community or those who have not previously had access to our resources.
- A strong pattern of communication and organization of logistics:
It is not necessary that your team have experience with working with Second Stage or in theater. Whether you have worked with us before or not, we encourage all team members to reach out early and often (including prior to the approval of your show) to establish communication with staff and demonstrate your commitment to planning and organization.
- A thorough articulation of vision:
We look for applications that demonstrate thought and consideration towards what the show will look like. This includes an articulation of preliminary design concept, intentions for casting, preferred performance spaces and justification of these preferences, and an attention to any challenges the piece may pose.
- A demonstration of purpose or intent for the production:
Purposeful theater can take many forms; while we will read and evaluate the script or concept you submit, we do not privilege particular aesthetics or modes of storytelling. Whether your production seeks to lift up certain stories, to make a political statement, to generate joy and laughter, to foster community, or to do something else entirely, we want to see that you have thought about the impact it will have on Wesleyan campus and why it ought to be produced right now.
+ Performance Locations
In your show application, you have to rank your desired locations and times for your proposed production. Most people gravitate towards the Patricelli '92 Theater, but there is a wealth of available performance spaces that provide unique atmospheres! Additionally, the '92 is not available to us every weekend of the semester, but don't be afraid to rank it first if you really desire and feel the need for a typical, large theatrical space.
Click here to learn more about the performance locations that past Second Stage productions have used!
+ Production Teams
Shows must fill the following essential crew positions before submitting their application:
- Stage Manager
- Lighting Designer
- Set Designer
- Sound Designer
- Costume Designer
- Props Designer
Additionally, musicals should fill the positions of Music Director (Pit & Vocal Directors as necessary), Choreographer (if any dance is involved), and Sound Engineer (for any production that plans on using microphones).
For more information on any of these positions or production positions in general, please see our page on Production Teams Positions.
We do not evaluate requested budgets as part of our selection process. We ask for estimated budgets in our show application form because it lets us expedite the budget approval process if your show gets selected. If you feel that you have justification for your requested budget, then go for it! Be sure to talk to our current Right & Royalties staffer to get a sense of how much you should budget for rights (it’s usually more than you except, especially for musicals!).
Showflow is when all of Second Stage staff meets to discuss the show applications and curate the new theatrical season. In our evaluations, we try to holistically consider factors such as motivation/reason for putting on a show, diversity of teams, inclusivity of new or inexperienced designers, strong leadership, adherence to Second Stage policies, direct communication or outreach to Second Stage staffers, and more. In the end, we have a hard limit of how many shows we can select per semester, so if we receive too many applications there is always the possibility your show may be rejected.
If you are confused or unsure about how we select shows, please feel free to reach out to one of our Outreach & Development staffers to learn more.
+ Winter Intensive
Winter Intensive is an opportunity for one show to go up early in the spring semester and rehearse on campus over winter break. Since this opportunity is only available to a single production, we require that shows have a convincing reason why this early, intensive rehearsal period is necessary to the show's development beyond just going up early or getting more focused rehearsal time. For example, a good justification for applying to go up for a winter intensive could be wanting to develop a collaborative or devised piece.
+ Pro Tips
Due to the high volume of sponsorship applications we receive each semester and the limits on our temporal, spatial, and human resources, we do have to consider logistical factors beyond those listed above when we schedule our season. In any given application cycle, we are often forced to turn away many qualified applicants who we would otherwise want to support. In the event that your application is not accepted, we encourage you to consider re-applying for a future season.
Additionally, never underestimate the power of reaching out to a staffer! Communicating with us even before your show gets accepted often lets us know that you are passionate about your project and want to take full responsibility for the performance.