With $150 of my professional development, I paid for a portion of the amateur theatrical rights to the play I recently put on, Recent Tragic Events by Craig Wright.
Because BAE Theatre had just crowdfunded our last production (Matt & Ben by Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers) just a few short months before mounting this show, our crowdfunding numbers were not so high. I decided to use a portion of the professional development fund to pay for $150 worth of the $320 amateur theatrical rights to the show. This was actually one of the more expensive costs in our low-budget production, so it truly was a huge blessing to have some of this cost taken care of by the organization. Thank you EAL/LA for bringing art to life in Los Angeles!
Recently someone was asking me about the ease of my process obtaining rights for a play. In the theatre community I feel like I hear things all the time about companies struggling to get the rights to a show or even promoting a show as a part of their season before being granted the rights to it, then not getting them. Personally, based on my experience obtaining amateur rights through both Samuel French and Dramatists Play Services…... things have been very easy. I've never had a difficult time with any of this. I fill out a form online, I get an email back saying it's fine and that it's going to cost me approximately $75 per performance. Send a check or pay online and you're good to go.
I can imagine that this process might be a bit more complicated when applying for shows in very high demand, musicals or applying as a larger professional company. If another theatre company is putting up the show you’re interested in close proximity to when you want to, this can also hinder your chances. This has not been a problem for us yet, but I'd be curious to hear more about the experiences of other theatre practitioners within EAL on this topic.
Isabella Petrini is an at-large member of Emerging Arts Leaders: Los Angeles.