Phase I: Submission
Every year, the BPF receives a number of original, never-produced plays by people who have lived in Maryland or Washington, DC. Plays are accepted for a current season from April 1 through July 31. For details on how to submit a play to the Festival, please read our submission guidelines.
Phase II: Review
Submitted plays are read and reviewed by members of the Baltimore theater community as well as representatives of the BPF's producing theatre companies. We make every attempt to garner at least three evaluations for every script submitted. The evaluations are returned to the playwright after our producing theaters select scripts for production. See our guidelines for review.
Phase III: Public Readings
Those plays reviewed and evaluated as "Ready for Reading" are qualified for a public reading, usually held at one of our member theaters. The BPF supplies a director or will use a director suggested by the playwright, and works out a suitable date with the playwright and director. The director then recruits local actors for the reading.
The playwright must attend the public reading and supply scripts for the actors. Following the reading, the playwright receives feedback from the audience, actors, and director. Public readings occur between November and March, weather permitting. Most readings are Saturday "Marathons" (11am - 5pm) of three full-length plays or some number of one acts; a shorter script is read after BPF public meetings November through February. Generally, scripts are selected two weeks before a reading so that scripts receiving evaluations late in the process are given a fair shot at a public reading. The BPF usually manages more than 20 readings every season.
Phase IV: Selection for Production
Our producing theaters choose the plays they will produce. BPF producing theatres are independent organizations, each with their own tastes, ambitions, and strengths. Each theatre chooses the play (or plays) they will produce based on their own criteria. A script does not need to have a public reading to be selected, and theaters may select a script from a previous season.
Phase V: Production
From June through August, the Festival kicks into high gear as the member theaters produce the plays they've selected. Plays are spread across the Baltimore area and throughout the summer, typically in 3-4 week runs. It is a long standing practice for playwrights to receive an honorariam from the producing theater.
Phase VI: Adjudication and Awards
The Festival is an adjudicated event. Each season the BPF selects judges to review and critique both the script and the production. At the end of the season, the BPF holds an awards ceremony where it announces the results of the judging. Awards are given to the three highest rated scripts, and the three highest rated productions. The judges' written critiques are given to the playwright, director, and producer. The award for best script is named in honor of the late Carol Weinberg, a frequent contributing playwright and all-around supporter of the BPF.