CC Readings Overview

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The Canada Council Readings Program Overview
The Purpose of this Committee
By February 2017, it is our hope that this committee will: -Review the current program- process, handling fees, guidelines, evaluation -Recommend community engagement practices (ie. membership survey) and assess the results -Explore potential opportunities -Provide a list of program recommendations to PGC's Board
Who is on the committee
Trevor Rueger is an actor, director, writer, and dramaturg. He is the Executive Director of Alberta Playwrights' Network.
Tessa Mendel is the co-artistic director of Halifax Theatre for Young People
Emil Sher is a playwright living in Toronto, ON. Emil has participated in the Reading Program.
Robin Sokoloski is the Executive Director of Playwrights Guild of Canada and is based in Toronto, ON
Reneltta Arluk is playwright from the Northwest Territories. Reneltta has participated in the Reading Program.
Monique Renaud is Playwrights Guild of Canada's Public Relations Manager. She administers the Canada Council Reading Program.
Mandy Bayrami is the Marketing Manager at Playwrights Canada Press
Table of Contents
1. Background from Initial Meeting Pages 1-7 2. Stats Pages 8-11 3. Stakeholders: Pains & Gains + The Purpose Pages 12-30 4. Ideas Pages 31-39 5. Forming the New Model Pages 40-44
Background from Initial Meeting
Covered on September 21st, 2016.
Pages 1-7
What is the Canada Council Reading Program?
This program creates opportunities for community organizations to invite Canadian playwrights to read in public venues by subsidizing the playwright's reading fees and travel expenses. The program is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and administered by Playwrights Guild of Canada. Currently, PGC receives $35,000 from the Canada Council for the arts. PGC tops that up with $5000. Total $40,000 Last year, $20,000 went towards honorariums and $18,100 went towards travel.
Page 1
2016/2017 Guidelines
Full Reading
Half Reading
A full reading consists of one reading presented by a single playwright. It lasts a minimum of 45 minutes and excludes a question and answer period. Reading Fee: $250 Transportation Funds: up to $600
A half reading consists of two or more playwrights reading for approximately 30 minutes each, excluding a question and answer period. Reading Fee: $125 Transportation Funds: up to $600
Page 2
The playwright must be a PGC member in good standing
Each full member is eligible for up to two full or four joint or a combination of both readings per year.
The playwright must be a FULL member.
Venues must make the reading open to the general public free of charge.
Venues must be in Canada. We will not fund any readings outside of the country.
Venues/Hosts must pay an administration fee of $56.50
Playwright Eligibility
Venue/Host Eligibility
In case of cancellation or postponement of the reading by the host organization, the host must reimburse PGC for the playwright's travel expenses (if ticket has already been purchased).
Page 3
Funding Dispersement
We have one intake for reading requests. This starts on April 1st and is left open all year. When funding runs out, we start a Wait List. All cancelled readings and unused travel funds go back in the pot to fund wait listed readings. This year, the reading program will disperse a total of $40,000 to approximately 75 playwrights. $35,00 is provided by the Canada Council and PGC has topped it up with an additional $5,000.
After the Reading...
Both the host and the playwright are required to submit evaluation forms to PGC once the reading is done. Playwrights who have applied for travel funds must also submit an expense report accompanied by original receipts or travel tickets within 2 months. PGC will issue a cheque directly to the playwright.
Page 4
Page 5
"It is a very valuable program and without it playwrights would likely not have the means to showcase their work in another region of the country. It is a simple application process, which is ideal and keeps it accessible." - Hope McIntyre
"The readings program is a very cost-effective way of giving playwrights the opportunity to market their plays for production..." - University of Regina
"In our enormous country we are often isolated in our communities and, as most playwrights are generally working alone much of the time anyway, this program is a remarkable way to take us into new communities, promote our work, establish working relationships and ongoing creative friendships that often help to move us forward." - Sally Stubbs
"It is the only program of its kind that I'm aware of and it is invaluable in sharing the work of Canadian playwrights with new audiences, especially in smaller communities." - Jordan Tannahill
"You have no idea how many people have told me: You are the first playwright I ever met." - Colleen Curran
Overall Opinions
Page 6
"Playwrights should not have to submit receipts. There should simply be flat rates for ground transport and be done with it. Currently, too much paperwork for too little $$ and you don't get them until a month later." -Vern Thiessen
"Perhaps the program could be expanded to include not only readings, but Q and A and playwright talk-back events as well." - Hiro Kanagawa
"It would be wonderful if more Artistic Directors were engaged or interested in attending these readings, there seems to be a disconnect and I wonder if we could connect their interest somehow. This would help the playwrights in terms of increasing their profile and being able to network with possible theatres and directors that might produce them." - Nicolle Nattrass
"When I have used the program, due to the nature of my readings, PGC has waived the admin fee. I appreciated this. Having to pay an admin fee of $55 would make the program less accessible." - Daniel Thau-Eleff
"Some more visible central promotions on the website or social media showing who is reading where." - Hope McIntyre
Suggested Changes
Page 7
Covered on September 21st, 2016. Updated and Reviewed on October 19th, 2016.
Pages 8-11
Page 8
As of October 7th, 2016, this is where our playwrights have traveled for readings.
As of October 7th, 2016, this is where our participating playwrights are from.
Page 9
Here are our Reading hosts for the 2016/2017 year, since October 7th, 2016.
Page 10
Page 11
Stakeholders: Pains & Gains Objectives, Provisions, and Obstacles + The Purpose
Covered and expanded on October 19th, 2016. Purposes added on November 18, 2016.
Pages 12-30
What is the purpose of the program?
Here's what the committee members think the purpose of this program should be.
1. Connect playwrights with audience. Promote readings of playwrights to build audience. Support playwrights in development of new work by aiding in finding space and actors to workshop new work. Have a source of information to look into copyright, dramaturgy, like-minded organizations, etc. Gain insight into what theatres are interested in the theme the playwright is focussing on to create a possible connect. Promote playwrights. Offer context of work being created by playwright. Regional representation of work being presented should be a priority. Related Gains and Pains: Playwrights are doing most of their own promotion but should be supported in that or lifted of the responsibility. Offer space for new work to be rehearsed and developed. On your website connect source material for playwrights to access or for readers to access about playwrights research/subject of play. Keep current on what is happening in Canadian theatre scene to help playwrights work stay present as well. A regional map of work, a visual.
Page 12
Purposes continued...
Here's what the committee members think the purpose of this program should be.
2. provide playwrights with the opportunity to introduce their works -- in-progress, produced and all points in between -- and give audiences a first-hand look at the creative process. Related Gains and Pains Pains: The challenge of introducing audiences to this type of arts programming. Many people assume the only way to experience a play is to see it staged. Gains: It is an opportunity to bolster interest in plays and playwriting by interacting with audiences in ways that can't be experienced either reading a play on one's own or watching it unfold on stage. In other words, a behind-the-scenes peek at process.
Page 13
Purposes continued...
Here's what the committee members think the purpose of this program should be.
3. Provide opportunities for playwrights to disseminate and publicly showcase their work, and to provide them greater access to new communities and networking possibilities. Related Gains and Pains From the playwright's point of view, the associated pains might be to make themselves available for travel, outreach, and publicity; to coordinate the application process; and to help promote the event in collaboration with the host. The gains might be access to networking and travel opportunities; exposure and advancement of their work; and opportunities for feedback from audiences.
Page 14
Purposes continued...
Here's what the committee members think the purpose of this program should be.
4. Fund a playwright to develop and promote a new or existing play to audiences outside of their own community. Related Gains and Pains Gains - Provide funding for travel Provide a fee to the playwright Pains - Who creates the event? Who does the matching up of playwright and host/venue?
Page 15
Purposes continued...
Here's what the committee members think the purpose of this program should be.
5. allow playwrights to travel across the country to promote and share their work and make connections Related Gains and Pains Pains/obstacles: only one intake means funds are eaten up early/ application process esp. submitting receipts) perceived as too laborious for amount of money/ uncomfortable to ask hosts to pay admin. fee when the benefit is really for the playwrights, in most cases/ difficulty in finding hosts and promoting readings Gains/Objectives: money for travel/ feedback from audiences/ability to make and reinforce connections and 'network'/ enhanced exposure
Page 16
Purposes continued...
Here's what the committee members think the purpose of this program should be.
6. Allow playwrights to advocate for & showcase their work in outlying markets. Related Gains and Pains Pain - creation of a reading event Pain - accessing producers Gain - travel money Gain - new markets
Page 17
Word Cloud - Purposes
Page 18
Word Cloud - Gains
Page 19
Word Cloud - Pains
Page 20
Which Direction Do We Choose?
Page 21
1. Marketing 2. Play Development 3. Education After a meeting in November, we decided on MARKETING.
Forming the Purpose
Page 22
Promote playwrights to audiences.
Connect Fund Provide the opportunity for Introduce Showcase
outlying markets
WHAT WE LANDED ON: The purpose is to promote playwrights to communities and potential markets by providing the opportunity for travel funding, promotion, and professional development in the area of marketing.
Page 22.5
Using The Value Proposition Canvas
Value Proposition Canvas: 
The role of the Playwright is to create Canadian content and then tell their story to an audience.
The Readings Program connects the playwright with a host in order to make a public reading of a Canadian story possible.
- Freelance - they can work for themselves with their own schedule. - Advantage of seeing their stories being told to audiences. -Outreach at community level. -Potential to reach new audiences for networking.
- Fair compensation is an issue. - Freelance - they need to create their own opportunities. - Playwrights are expected to handle the business side of their craft. - Usually need to find their own hosts.
- Program is flexible with the scheduling of the readings. - Program connects the playwright directly with new audiences.
- Pays playwrights fairly for their work. - Provides a promotional tool for the playwrights. - The office relieves the playwright of having to program their own readings.
Page 23
The Readings Program for Playwrights: Objectives, Provision, and Obstacles
Page 24
Objectives: - Exposure - Feedback - Networking - Money + Travel
The playwright provides: - Themselves - The play - Application process
Obstacles: - They must do their own promotion - Finding the host - Paperwork at the end - Not enough funds and spots - Timing: it takes a long time to book a reading.
Value Proposition Canvas: 
The Readings Program connects the playwright with a host in order to make a public reading a Canadian story possible.
- Hosts get to choose what plays are read in their space. - Hosts get to meet the playwrights as well as provide programming to their community. - Enhance a production or publishing release. - Reading new work.
The Role of the Host is to provide the space for the reading to happen and to gather an audience.
- PGC provides a list of members for the hosts to choose from. - We provide resources, but allow the host to curate and facilitate.
-We assist with the organization of the playwrights travel and fee. -We provide funding.
- Finding inexpensive quality arts programming. - They need to identify quality artists for their bookings. - Getting an audience. - Having to create an event.
Page 25
The Readings Program for Hosts: Objectives, Provision, and Obstacles
Page 26
Objectives: - Face to face meeting with a playwright. - Event (but also a problem). - They get to hear new work. - Programming adds appeal to their audience. 
- Access to more diverse programming.
The host provides: - Help support new work. - Gather funding to commission new work.
Obstacles: - Event planning. - Promotion. - Finding an audience. - No revenue. - Admin Fee. - Lack of knowledge about the program.
Value Proposition Canvas: 
The Readings Program connects the playwright with a host in order to make a public reading a Canadian story possible.
The role of the Audience is to come to the event, listen to the play readings, and bring what they experienced into their every day life.
- Exposure to Canadian plays.
- Finding affordable, accessible and quality arts programming.
- Brings Canadian content to an audience. -Introduces the audience to new writers and new work.
- This program provides FREE readings so that all audiences can experience theatre.
Page 27
The Readings Program for Audience: Objectives, Provision, and Obstacles
Page 28
Objectives: - Meet the artist. - Hear stories. - Take advantage of more diverse programming. - Have free access to this programming.
The audience provides: - Feedback for new work.
Obstacles: - They are busy. - Too much competition in cities. - Limited interest in the general arts scene. - Play readings aren't at the top of the list.
The Readings Program for PGC: Objectives, Provision, and Obstacles
Page 29
Objectives: - Activity - Recognition
PGC provides: - money - resources (human and non-human) - administration - the relationship and bargaining with Canada Council
Obstacles: - Revenue (the program is cost neutral and is supported by PGC through other funding.)
After scoring the Gains and Pains What was most important to the committee?
PAINS Self promotion Event Coordination for the host Limited Funds GAINS Exposure Networking Traveling to new communities Accessible programming for hosts and audiences.
Page 30.5
Watch a tutorial on the Value Proposition Canvas!
Introducedon October 21st, 2016. Expanded and Discussed on October 19th, 2016.
Pages 31-39
Page 31
Possible Directions / Ideas
Readings with actors
Playwrights in Schools
Play Reading Festival
Two in-takes
Assess Admin Fee
Promotional Outlets
Readings Abroad
Administrative ideas
Programming Ideas
Please see the following slides for more details.
Page 32
Two in-takes
Extends the funding for the entire fiscal year. Gives playwrights who are booking readings in the winter a chance to get funding. Gives members who don't know about the program the chance to hear about it and apply for the second in-take.
For playwrights who are booking in advance for readings in the winter, they will have to wait to secure funding. More administrative management. Organizing two separate in-takes will take more time. The money will go faster at the beginning for the first in-take.
More Ideas:
- If we have two in-takes, should we make one pot larger? We don't have the stats to fairly determine when most readings are booked.
As of right now, the program accepts submissions from hosts all year. Since this program is popular, members are working with hosts at the start of the year to get their readings booked before the funding runs out. Funding seems to be running out after 6 months of the program being open. Do we have two in-takes and save spots for the fall and winter months?
Page 33
By taking away the admin fee, readings would be more easily sold to all different kinds of hosts. A larger variety of hosts might start to connect with us. More independent companies will be interested and in turn, may introduce PGC to emerging artists.
Less Revenue for PGC. We would need to come up with another revenue source to replace this. Playwrights might start to try and organize their own readings, using someone else's name as the host.
Assess Admin Fee
More Ideas:
- If we cancel out the admin fee, would it be fair to instead cut what PGC puts into the program and keeps that for admin work. - If we keep the admin fee, perhaps PGC can be the ones to connect with the hosts, making it less awkward for the playwrights. - Are there other ways of generating money around this program?
PGC asks the Hosts to pay an admin fee of $50 + HST when they book a reading. This is to cover the cost of our administrative work. Since playwrights want to get their readings booked, they are the ones reaching out to hosts. Playwrights have told us that it is awkward for them to be asking the host to pay to have them come in and read. How can we prevent our members from being in this situation?
Page 34
More Ideas:
- We can create an entire promotional package that goes with the booking of the reading. - Before You Go document/Readings Tool Kit. This will help prepare the playwright to get the most out of their reading placement. Maybe there are webinars or videos that the playwrights must watch and click off before they receive the funding.
Right now, the marketing and promotion is inconsistent for all readings. It is up to the host to promote the reading. Some playwrights are reporting that their readings had very small audiences. How can PGC add the promotional aspect of the Readings program?
PGC as Agent
With more promotion, the readings program will be more well-known in the community and, in turn, will help grow our audiences for the readings. More promotional outlets will attract our members who have not heard about the program. We can diversify the readings and spread them out over the year.
More administrative work. By bringing more attention to the readings program, we will increase the competition to book the readings. Some members will be upset by change. How will this affect their bookings? We will have to re-work the messaging that goes with the program.
Page 35
More Ideas:
- Does having actors perform take away the intimacy that the playwright and audience experience right now or would this enrich the reading?
Playwrights who book readings with the program are required to perform the reading of their play by themselves. We have received some inquiries and feedback about the idea of bringing in actors to do the readings. Some playwrights have handed over their fee to actors so that they don't need to do the reading. Can hiring actors be an option for the program and if so, how do we make sure they are paid without taking the fee away from the playwright?
Readings with actors
Not all playwrights are comfortable performing. If we allow actors to be involved, then ALL playwrights can benefit from the program. Readings with professional actors may be more intriguing for the audience.
Adding actors' payments to the budget will decrease the fee given to the playwright. More admin work will be needed. Dealing with Equity contracts.
Page 36
More Ideas:
- We can connect the readings with our new 'Schools at Play' program, creating more opportunities for play sales and readings. With this new program, PGC donates 10 plays to schools when a customer purchases 5 or more different play titles in the same order.
All booked readings are required to be open to the general public and free of charge. This excludes elementary schools from being hosts. Universities can host readings because they can open their spaces up to the public, but elementary schools don't have the opportunity to expose their students to these readings. Is there a way to include these groups or change this requirement?
Playwrights in Schools
More Canadian Theatre will be brought into the elementary level curriculum. This will widen the reach of the readings program in the educations sector.
Some readings will now be closed to the general public. If a playwright books a reading in a school, then they may not get a reading in front of an audience for the rest of the year.
Page 37
More Ideas:
- Will this event happen in only one area or will it be across the entire country? - Will the festival tour or will we expect the audience to travel to it?
Most of the readings are booked separately as it's own event. There are some hosts who will book more than one playwright to attend their reading series or festival. We would like to discuss this potential change of PGC organizing all reading bookings as one Reading Festival. Would this be beneficial for all parties?
Play Reading Festival
More promotion for the readings - collective marketing. This could bring in a larger audience - the playwrights share their audience to form one large group. More of a community gathering. All hosts, playwrights, and audience members will be in one spot at one time to share ideas and feedback.
The timing of this festival may not be convenient for all playwrights, hosts, and audience members. We will use up the entire budget for this event.
Page 38
More Ideas:
- This can connect with PGC's idea of doing international webinars.
Readings are only accepted and funded if they are in Canada. Playwrights have asked about booking a reading overseas. We also have members who live outside of Canada and would only receive travel assistance once they get to Canada. Since travel within Canada is so expensive, it is worth discussing the possibility of opening up our program to International Readings.
Readings Abroad
This will send more Canadian playwrights out into international venues. This could create more revenue with international Amateur Rights Contracts and book sales. PGC's promotional programs will start to branch out internationally.
This will take more admin work. We will need to take time to reach out to international venues to promote. While some travel will stay within our $600 budget, some places will exceed that budget. Do we just keep our budget the same or do we change it?
Page 39
Page 40
Forming the New Model: PlayConnect
PGC's Readings Program Funded by The Canada Council for the Arts. Page 40-44
Section 1 of our Model Stormboard Admin Ideas
Page 41
Section 2of our Model Stormboard Programming Ideas
Page 42
Section 3 of our Model Stormboard The Holding Tank
Page 43
Make your own Stormboard!
Page 43.5
New Guidelines Recommended by the Committee - Two Intakes ⅔ of the slots can be given away in April (the start of the fiscal year). ⅓ of the slots will be saved for a second intake in October of the fiscal year. - PGC working as a “Network Liaison” (Agent/Connector Role) PGC will reach out to possible hosts to reveal the new program. Hosts will include Schools (while tying into their curriculum), Festivals, Libraries, Theatres, etc. PGC will promote readings on our website and social media. More promotional outlets will be discussed and implemented later in the year. - PGC continues to charge an Administrative Fee for each Reading Event as opposed to each playwright brought to an event. Tax will be taken off of the amount. We can charge a flat rate of $50.00. The Host will have the opportunity to fill out a fee subsidy form if they cannot pay the $50.00. The Administrative Fee will be waived for Schools, Publishers, Playwrights’ Development Centres, and for Playwrights who are taking the lead on their own Reading Bookings. - PGC will create monitor the required study of our Readings Tool Kit called “What you Need Before You - Read”. This will only be required to study/watch before a playwright’s first reading of the year. Any subsequent reading will be exempt from the Tool Kit. - PGC will create a pdf that will outline the program for members to read. - Playwrights will be able to do readings in schools, which will be exempt from the rule of having the reading open to the public. - Playwrights will be able to travel internationally for their readings. Our travel subsidy and fee stay the same. PGC commits to making the application form and paperwork for the Readings Program easier and more user friendly. - There will be different entry points for the program. The Host can apply, the Playwright can apply, and PGC can set up readings when there are hosts and playwrights who are interested in this set up.
Page 44
Suggested Changes
Click HERE to go to the PGC website.
Want to know more about the Readings Program? Visit the PGC website or email Monique at [email protected]