View single post by Paddy
 Posted: Tue Jan 17th, 2012 06:37 pm
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Joined: Fri Jun 9th, 2006
Location: Kitchener, Ontario Canada
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Tinderbox Script Submissions guidelines (Belfast Ireland)

Tinderbox Theatre Company is based in Belfast. Formed in 1988, it is one of Northern Ireland’s longest established and most respected independent theatre companies. Tinderbox is dedicated to new writing for the theatre, the playwrights who create it, and the artistic environment in which its work takes place.
Tinderbox produces two to three productions per year, carries out a range of initiatives to develop new writing for the theatre, and runs a year-round Outreach Programme in schools and communities across Northern Ireland.

The company performs in various venues in Belfast, and tours its productions across Ireland. Tinderbox has performed sell-out seasons in London and Edinburgh and recently performed at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC. The company aims to develop a wider audience for new writing in the theatre, and has devised a number of initiatives in this area. See our Productions page.

The company employs a full time Dramaturg, the only post of its kind in Northern Ireland. The Dramaturg leads activities aimed specifically at the development of high quality new theatre writing, from responding to the scripts received by Tinderbox to supporting the work of professional playwrights under commission. See our Dramaturgy page.

Tinderbox has developed a highly acclaimed Outreach Programme, which offers workshops, training, participative projects, and tailor made resource packs to schools, community groups and individuals across the north of Ireland. The company also offers training and support for those interested in leading drama based workshops, in a variety of settings. See our Outreach page.

Tinderbox works alongside other companies to create a vibrant theatre culture that attracts and develops new talent and new audiences. The company is strongly committed to its local theatre community, prioritising employment opportunities for locally based actors, writers, directors, designers, stage managers, technicians, administrators and other theatre practitioners. Tinderbox is an Independent Theatre Council/British Actors Equity Approved Management and has charitable status.

Submitting a Play to Tinderbox

Tinderbox is always delighted to receive uncommissioned scripts submitted according to the guidelines below. The company has a script panel that will read and feed back on all plays. Tinderbox tries to give appropriate feedback to playwrights whatever experience they may have of writing for the stage.

If you wish to submit a play to Tinderbox, please bear in mind the following:

Please make sure you understand the company’s remit and artistic vision and output so that you send us appropriate material which we can genuinely consider.

Please submit the play in hardcopy

Tinderbox does not read plays submitted by e-mail unless there are exceptional circumstances

Plays do not need to be bound

Make sure the pages are numbered

Please enclose a covering letter with a paragraph about yourself and a paragraph about the idea behind the play (that is not the same as a synopsis!). Only send it in when the script is ready and tidy. i.e. minimise typos, spell check, make sure it is clear what are stage directions and what is dialogue. It is easier to read if there is white space in-between each character’s lines.

Please include a cast list and any potential doubling
Full name and contact details should be provided on the covering letter

Please note that Tinderbox is not able to consider the following for productions:

Plays which have had a professional production elsewhere
Novels and poetry
Radio, television and film scripts
Synopsis only submissions
Adaptations and translations

Tinderbox will acknowledge receipt of a submitted script, which will then be sent to a member of the script panel. This panel consists of theatre practitioners with extensive experience in directing, writing or acting. The reader will write a detailed script report with constructive notes which the playwright will be offered. Please note, it may take up to three months from submission before a script report is ready. Each play is given approximately 4 hours dedicated time from Tinderbox.

The reader will recommend to the Literary Manager what kind of follow up should be pursued or will ask for a second read to be done by another member of the panel.

We will use our discretion with plays that at a first glance are unsuitable for us due to length, large cast, space or technical requirements that we can not access. In these cases we will only read the first 30 pages and we will not be able to provide full feedback.

Work in progress

Tinderbox can read works in progress if it is clearly stated in the covering letter. In this case the material will not be considered for production but the script panel reader will focus on giving dramaturgical feed back on the ideas and work so far with emphasis on suggestions for how to move the work forward.


Finishing a play is a major achievement and something of which to be very proud. However the journey to a potential production is only beginning when a play is submitted to a theatre.

Tinderbox is a small touring company producing 2-3 productions a year, with approximately 70 scripts being submitted every year. In addition the company has several writers on commission at any one time.

Although it is very rare for a play that has come through the script panel to go directly into production, this should not deter you from writing to Tinderbox. In addition to productions the company provides support to writers in many different ways. If the company knows about you and your work, you can be kept in mind for future activities, pointed in appropriate alternative directions and alerted to other companies and opportunities. The most beneficial thing the company can offer in the short term will be the constructive feedback written by the script panel. Long-term it is important to build relationships with theatres and allow them to develop over a long period of time.