The written proposal should contain the following, in order:
- Cover letter
- Bios of the direction team
- Show selection: Three shows, each with a detailed explanation of why it was chosen
- Production or performance resumes for each team member
We recommend including names and positions of any designers who may have expressed interest in the project. This is especially important for any specialty elements—projections, video, etc.—not covered by the most common design disciplines (costume, lighting, props, scenic, sound).
The cover letter included in the proposal is a letter from the perspective of the student submitting the proposal. It should give the selection board an insight into the desire of each team to produce a show. Personal anecdotes that emphasize what inspired the student to enter theatre or desire to direct are encouraged.
The cover letter is also a great opportunity to briefly introduce the shows included and expand upon any overarching themes or messages that inspired the show selection.
This is the primary portion of the written proposal and should contain all pertinent information related to the selection of each of the three shows being proposed.
What: This is a brief show synopsis, pulled (and sourced) from the show’s rights page, as well a cast list. The cast list should contain a cast size and names and genders for any lead and supporting characters. Please indicate if the genders for specific roles differs from the script; this can be expanded upon in a later section.
Why: The why is the heart of the written proposal. This section should explain why this story has been chosen to be included. It should explain how it connects personally to the team, either individually or as a whole. It should answer the questions, “why is it vitally important that this show be told right now?” and “what does this show say to its audience?”. Any themes, messages, or audience takeaways should be discussed in detail and supported by direct references to the script and score. This section should present every argument and reason for why this show should be selected.
Vision: The vision is often referred to as the show’s “concept”: what makes this specific production special or unique. Often concepts revolve around changing the setting/era of the show or can include a specific design aesthetic to highlight specific themes or components of the show. The vision should complement the why. Not every show needs to have (or can support) a concept, but every show has a reason for being produced, as no two productions of a show are ever the same.
Supporting Elements: While the written proposal does not include any designers on the team, the team must be able to explain how they envision design elements interacting to create a cohesive production. This is the chance to talk about how the designs can support the vision or concept of the show. Any special effects or particularly challenging design elements should also be discussed. However, since designers are not included in the written proposal, please be careful not to design the show. Reference images are encouraged, but it is recommended to stay away from other theatrical production images.
Challenges and Solutions: Every show has unique challenges is presents. It is important to acknowledge each and every challenge present in the script and attempt to present a solution. Challenges often include explicit language, mature content or themes, orchestra size, budget, actor requirements (young roles, specific skills, recruitment for specific ethnicity/race/gender), and more. There is no expectation that the team has an answer to every challenge a show might present, but by recognizing and attempting to provide solutions demonstrates to the selection panel, it validates the team’s ability to tackle and overcome any challenges that may arise throughout the production.
Formatting and Examples
The information to included can be presented in a myriad of ways to best persuade Village Theatre and KIDSTAGE to select a specific team and show for Summer Independent. Each team should feel encouraged to present their written proposal in the format and the content that they feel presents the strongest argument for their team. Other content or alternative formatting and information organization is welcome.
Check out examples of successful proposals from previous years for inspiration.
Submitting your Proposal
Once your written proposal is complete and ready to submit, please submit all documents as a single PDF titled “FirstName_Lastname_Summer_Independent Proposal.”
A link to the online application form will be posted when the next proposal cycle begins.