Ten minutes of acclaim

Ten minutes of acclaim
A scene from the play that won the Judges' Choice Award in S+S Theatre 2019

By Purva Grover

Published: Fri 25 Oct 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 1 Nov 2019, 9:44 AM

It was 2016 when I learnt about Short + Sweet Theatre Festival. A quick Google search and I learnt that it was a celebration of the live performing arts, it was also the largest festival for 10-minute-long plays in the world. A playwright and director myself, I instantly signed up and my talented actors ensured we won the Judges' Choice Award in the Wildcard category. Encouraged by the response, the team travelled to India in 2017 and our entry won the best director and playwright award at Short + Sweet Kolkata. In short, it took me little time to get smitten by the charm of S + S, as it's called in the fraternity.
Over the last couple of years, I've followed the global festival closely. I'm sharing a few things that you should keep in mind if you wish to experience it in 2020. Remember, it's all about the numbers - in 2019, over 7 weeks, the competition saw 2,300+ audiences, 100+ plays, 400 performers, 12 gala finalists and 1 overall winner!

1) Ten minutes
Duration of the play should not exceed 10 minutes. While you are allowed a grace period, the warning alarm will sound you the moment the stopwatch shows 10:01!
Tip: Time your performance during rehearsals, ensuring that you don't exceed nine minutes, with a concession of a minute for real-time situations.
2) Seven weeks
The festival is in its eighth edition and will run for seven weeks, beginning January 24 and ending on March 7.
Tip: If you're a theatre addict, buy the affordable season pass, and watch as many shows as your time allows.
3) 3400 and counting
It's your chance to meet actors, playwrights, directors, producers, backstage volunteers, light and sound technicians.
Tip: If mingling is your thing, then remember that the best conversations will happen in the green rooms, not on the stage.
4) Dh80 onwards
The show's running expenses and follow-up revenue come from the participation of the community that performs voluntarily without a fee (it's a competition, after all) and also buys tickets for their friends and family. As a participant, if you wish to watch any of the shows, you too need to buy one. Not many are happy with the latter.
Tip: A few afternoon shows don't see a large audience and you may get a chance to watch your co-performers without a fee.

5) Two to please
The Judges' Choice Award, which is in the hands of the experts in the field, and the People's Choice Award, dependent on the audiences' votes. Aim to win the confidence of the judges and votes from strangers. However, having your squad in the audience will help with the votes.
Tip: Don't ask all your friends to show up on day one! Hold on to a few to gain votes in the semi-finals and finals.
6) One, two, three, unlimited
One entry as a director, two as a playwright. You can take up three roles as an actor. If you register as a company, there are no limitations on the number of entries (each with a different director).
Tip: A few people name their partners/friends as namesake playwrights/directors to register more entries, not recommended.
. Deadline to register as a company, actor or director: 5 pm, November 5
. To audition as an actor: Nov 8 and 9, 10 am to 4 pm, The Junction, Alserkal Avenue
. For more, visit

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