University Of The Arts' Polyphone Festival Accepting Applications For 2022 Festival

Applications are due Friday, September 7, 2021 at 11:59pm.

By: Aug. 23, 2021
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University Of The Arts' Polyphone Festival Accepting Applications For 2022 Festival

The Polyphone Festival of New and Emerging Musicals is currently accepting applications for musicals for its 2022 Festival. Applications are due Friday, September 7, 2021 at 11:59pm. For more full details, please visit http//

The Polyphone Festival of New Musicals is an internationally recognized festival for the development of new musical theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. For the last seven years, we've brought professional composers, librettists, directors, choreographers, designers, and music directors from the field to the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at UArts to work with student casts and creative teams on musicals in progress.

The Polyphone process supports creators of new musicals with a paid opportunity to make their work, while giving over 100 students on-the-ground training in new musical theater development. We give adventurous new musicals time and space to develop, free from the pressures of commercial interests, producing theaters, or reviews.

We have traditionally programmed 4 musicals each year, cast from around 150 auditioning students and workshopped over a 7-week process. The final presentations have been off-book, staged concert productions with a small band and full lighting and sound design. Our process has allowed creators to make changes throughout the rehearsal period and work their musical on its feet for the first time.

This year we are excited to support artists looking to expand the musical theater form into virtual and audio spaces. In addition to new musicals headed for the stage, we are also accepting applications for new musicals created specifically for virtual and audio spaces! We are excited to welcome applications worldwide for these musicals.

The Polyphone Festival staff recognizes that we are living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in light of recent news regarding the Delta variant. The 2020 Polyphone Festival was cut short due to quarantine restrictions, but in 2021 the UArts community continued to make theater together despite the challenges and limitations of an all-online school year, developing 4 new musicals virtually for Polyphone 2021. We will continue to prioritize the safety and health of UArts students, faculty, staff, and guest artists above all as we maintain our commitment to the creation of vital, dynamic theatrical work. Should the festival be unable to culminate in live performance due to the ongoing pandemic, we will work with guest artists in a spirit of openness and transparency to find new ways to honor their process and further the development of their musicals.

We define a musical as a performance in which music is a primary mode of storytelling. This can include ensemble-based, devised, experimental and/or operatic work as well as more traditionally-structured book musicals.

If your musical is too big, too weird, too political, too queer, too experimental, too personal, too edgy, too esoteric, too provocative, or too SOMETHING for most musical theater development opportunities, please send it our way!

For STAGE MUSICALS: We are looking for full-length, original musicals that are in development with a cast of 7 or more characters. (A cast of 10-15 is ideal. Past cast sizes have ranged from 7-23 performers.) Adaptations are welcome, but we do tend to favor either radical adaptations or original stories rather than more traditional stage adaptations.

For VIRTUAL and AUDIO MUSICALS: Because this is new for us, we are still learning what might work best but here's what we think so far!: We are looking for original musicals under an hour (or under an hour excerpts from a longer piece). Cast size can skew smaller than stage shows, but should have at least 3 roles of substance. We are open to both episodic and continuous formats.

We at Polyphone are especially motivated to program voices and stories that are traditionally underrepresented in the musical theater canon. We see this moment as an opportunity to deconstruct and unsettle the ways in which we develop new work. We acknowledge that we have employed industry-standard structures that uphold the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, and we seek to actively use this moment to free ourselves from those oppressive standards by reimagining and redefining the process of new musical development. If you find the limitations of this application process do not offer adequate access for you, your voice, and your story to reach us, please contact Artistic Director Maggie-Kate Coleman at


1. Artistic Fee.

2. (for Non-Philadelphia artists) Housing is provided during weekend rehearsals as well as the tech/production process, and reimbursement of bus transportation to Philadelphia is provided.

3. Paid professional director, music director, and choreographer as needed. If a project has an attached director, music director, or choreographer, we will work to bring them on board when possible.

4. Student cast, band (3-5 musicians) and creative assistants.

5. Dramaturgical, logistical and technical support from the festival creative leadership and the UArts community.


1. The musical should be in development and have a cast requiring 7 or more performers for stage musicals (A cast of 10-15 is ideal), and at least 3+ performers for virtual and audio musicals.

2. The musical should have a completed first draft (electronic copies only in PDF form, no hand-written scripts will be accepted) and must have been read at least once in a reading, workshop, or concert setting.

3. Authors, Directors, and Music Directors of Stage Musicals must be in residence in Philadelphia Friday through Sunday during the rehearsal and festival period. For Non Philadelphia-based artists, bus travel and housing will be provided for weekend rehearsals, tech and festival weeks. There is no housing for the full 6-week rehearsal period. Authors, Directors, and Music Directors of Virtual and Audio Musicals must be available with access to internet Friday through Sunday during the rehearsal and festival period.

4. Lead creative team members should be available for rehearsals Friday Nights, Saturdays and Sundays starting mid February 2021, with tech and performances scheduled early to mid April 2021. The exact calendar is currently TBD. A complete production calendar will be provided at time of acceptance.

5. Artists that will be enrolled undergraduate students in the spring 2021 semester are not eligible with the exception of UArts students.


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