Like so many of Edmonton’s beloved festivals, the 39th Fringe International Theatre Festival has been put on ice for the year. The Fringe team is making valiant efforts to keep the fringe spirit alive online, through FringeTV and some unique fundraising events, and avid fringers know it will be back, bigger and better than ever. For those members of the University community with dramatic inclinations, why not use this hiatus to start the process of creating your own Fringe play? And, what better place to find resources on how to write, produce and stage your play than the University of Alberta Library?
For all aspiring playwrights, familiarizing oneself with writing for the stage is a good place to start. UAlberta Library has plenty of books about playwriting; from how-to manuals to books and videos featuring advice from successful playwrights. Why not start with Janet Neipris’ A masterclass in dramatic writing : theater, film, and television, Second edition, or, perhaps, Noël Greig’s Playwriting: a Practical Guide? You could also request David Edger’s How Plays Work or Alan Ayckbourn’s The Crafty Art of Playmaking through our curbside pick-up service.
If you prefer to learn through audiovisual means, we have numerous videos on the subject like the vintage video Sam Shepard, Jerome Max, Herb Gardner, Justin Mamis, and Rosalyn Drexler Discuss Playwriting and Light’s Up: Getting Started as a Playwright.
Reading a few plays to get a feel for dramatic style is also a good idea. There are a number of databases that contain full-text plays and analyses that can be explored through the Plays & Playwriting section of our Drama subject guide.
Do you already have your play written and are looking to take the next steps to bring it to the stage? We can help you there too. If you plan on directing your piece, what better place to start than The Director’s Toolkit: the directing process from play selection to production written by Robin J. Schraft? or Avra Sidiropoulou’s Directions for directing: theatre and method is another valuable resources for the inexperienced director.
We would be remiss to ignore the important role production design contributes to the theatrical experience, There are many journals and eBook devoted to this matter, including the Illustrated Theatre Production Guide, written by John Holloway and Theatrical Design : an introduction by Kevin Lee Allen with Kathleen McDonough. Or, for those who are interested in being in command of costuming, Rebecca Pride’s The Costume Supervisor’s Toolkit : Supervising Theatre Costume Production from First Meeting to Final Performance might be of value.
Lastly, while there’s no reproducing the experience of watching a great theatrical piece live, we have several video resources available where you can view fully rendered theatrical productions from all around the world. Whether you need some inspiration, want to compare different productions of the same piece, or are in need a theatrical fix the Performances section of our Drama guide is the place to look.
Go forth and create!