3 May 2024

If you can see yourself on stage, you should 'break a leg' in Wagga's Ten x 10 Playfest

| Chris Roe
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Ten x 10 Playfest convenor Margaret Bannister sorting through the scripts.

Ten x 10 Playfest convenor Margaret Bannister sorting through the scripts. Photo: Supplied.

The drama continues at the Wagga School of Arts (SoACT) with the team rolling towards the annual Ten x 10 Playfest at the Basement Theatre.

Put simply, the Playfest involves the production of 10, 10-minute plays and provides an amazing opportunity for aspiring local playwrights, directors, actors and support staff.

Convenor Margaret Bannister has been involved since it began 15 years ago.

“When the 10-minute play format came along, they were a breath of fresh air and something that hadn’t been tried before,” she explained.

“In the past, one-act plays were usually half an hour or longer so the 10-minute plays are a great chance for directors and actors to get a taste of community theatre.

“For people who are busy with work and family, this is a really easy way to set foot on the stage, to test yourself learning lines and interacting with other people, and it’s not a huge commitment.”

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Margaret said dozens of scripts were submitted each year from aspiring playwrights through to professionals.

“We put out the call for scripts around September/October and we have a list of writers who’ve submitted scripts to us in the past, and it is open to anyone who is a writer that might be interested in being involved,” she said.

“We get scripts from local people, from all around Australia and even overseas from England and America, so it all makes for interesting reading.”

The only criterion is that the plays be under 10 minutes, leading to a wide variety of genres and subjects.

“You don’t want something that’s too simple because you have to have a story that quickly engages the audience and then has enough complexity to keep them engaged all the way through,” said Margaret.

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The pile of scripts is then read by three professional theatre assessors who are presented with nothing more than the text of the play so that they can be weighed purely on their merits.

“What they give us is a list of 10 plays and a shortlist of five, and this year, we’re putting up 15 scripts to be read out this coming Saturday in the Basement Theatre,” she explained.

“When you hear the plays read aloud, it’s a unique experience because it comes to life in your mind and you start to really visualise how it might be done.

“We’ll ask people who are interested in directing to select a play that they would like to direct and the first 10 plays will be picked up to determine the program for the Playfest.”

Margaret is keen for as many people as possible to attend the reading and audition on Saturday (4 May) from 10:30 am in the Basement Theatre underneath the Civic Theatre.

“Anyone interested in either directing or being a cast member should come along and first-time actors and directors are particularly welcome,” she said.

“Another benefit of the short play format is that if you don’t like a particular play, well, there’s another one coming along in 10 minutes!”

The Playfest will be held between Sunday 23 June and Tuesday 25 June and you can keep up to date with SoACT through its website.

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