The Bridge Initiative Launches National New Play Contest

The Bridge Initiative Launches National New Play Contest

The Bridge Initiative is accepting submissions for its second Bechdel Test Festival. Playwrights of all genders from across the U.S. are encouraged to submit short and full-length plays that satisfy the requirements of the Bechdel Test: two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. Preference will be given to playwrights who have not been awarded by The Bridge Initiative in the last three years.

The concept that launched the Bechdel Test appeared in 1985 in a comic series titled Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, who attributes the idea to her friend Liz Wallace. It refers to the representation of women in film, and according to numerous press reports annually, many films continue to fail to meet its criteria. When conceiving of The Bechdel Test Fest, the Bridge Initiative decided to apply the test to theatre, charging writers to pen complex, diverse female characters. The Bridge Initiative's inaugural Bechdel Test Fest, September 9-10, 2017, was well received by artists and audience alike. More than 70 individuals were compensated for their work, in line with The Bridge Initiative's insistence on payment for artists.

Qualified professionals adjudicate all contest submissions anonymously. The highest-scoring full-length play receives a week-long development workshop, culminating in a fully staged reading as part of the festival offerings. If this winning play is not by an Arizona writer, the top-scoring Arizona playwright will be awarded a development process and a staged reading. The weekend festival also features readings of up to three short plays and full-length runners-up, a to-be-determined film component, and gender parity panel discussion. Talkbacks follow each presentation to discuss whether adherence the Bechdel Test's requirements yields a rich experience for viewers and the impact of seeing stronger, more complex female characters on stage and screen.

For complete contest details, visit Submissions ($25 for full-length and $15 for short plays) accepted through August 15th, 2018. Winners to be announced January 2019 in advance of Bechdel Test Fest April 26-28, 2019, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe AZ 85281.

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