Script Advice

SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT

Playmarket has been committed to the development of New Zealand plays and playwrights since 1973. Our aim is to help ensure that plays are at an optimum level of development when they go into production.

Not all scripts need to go through a development process; many are ready for production with little more than a slightly more intensive rehearsal schedule. However many scripts can derive enormous benefit from dramaturgical attention, and we do our best to identify the best development process for your play, and to design an approach appropriate to its needs.

To talk about your script development needs or ideas contact Scripts.

Please note that we are NOT able to accept unsolicited scripts. We can only accept scripts submitted for competitions or those from clients.   

We encourage new writers to use our assessment service and/or to enter their plays in one or more of our competitions (see OPPORTUNITIES) which will ensure that it is read carefully by a panel of practitioners.

However, if your play has been successfully performed already, you are welcome to apply to the AGENT directly for client status and representation. 

SCRIPT ASSESSMENTS

Script assessment is a straightforward resource open to anyone, and is often our first contact with new writers. Once we have received the script (email preferred) and assessment fee it is sent to one of our assessors and returned within four weeks. 

The fee is $200 (GST inclusive). We also offer a service for $300 (GST inclusive) providing an assessment and a one hour script consultation, either in person, or via phone or email if we are unable to find someone suitable in your area. The writer does not have permission to quote from their assessment for publicity purposes, or to use it as a reference for funding applications, etc.  

Email us your script and postal address to request a script assessment. We will provide an invoice. Once paid, we will send your script to one of our assessors and return feedback to you. 

Our assessors consider the professional potential of the play, and as appropriate, offer expert advice that will help towards the next draft. Writers are asked to include a legibly prepared script with page numbers, cast list, a brief synopsis and a covering letter addressing the following questions:-

  • Briefly – what is your play about?
  • Is there a particular issue you would like us to focus our feedback on?
  • What do you think are the play's strengths and weakness?
  • Has your play had a reading or been performed?
  • Are there plans for a production in the pipeline?

- and of course please provide any other information you think may be relevant.

We welcome re-submissions of further drafts of the same script for a further fee.

A favourable assessment and/or the completion of suggested revisions does not automatically lead to Playmarket representation or client status.  

SCRIPT CLINICS

All clinics are playwright driven. We work with the playwright to devise a programme that best suits the play's needs, and will do our best to hire their preferred cast and crew.

  • While we accept applications for assistance from any New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, our limited budget means that we are more likely to support scripts that have a firm production date, scripts from clients, and those plays submitted through our competitions that have done well.
  • Applications must come directly from the playwright; not the producer, agent or other representative.
  • We can only accept scripts for development consideration that have reached first draft stage, or equivalent.

A day's clinic typically comprises a couple of straightforward readthroughs on the rehearsal floor guided by a director/script advisor interspersed with discussion, which involves only those the playwright would like it to. This usually provides all the stimulation needed for you to prepare your next draft. 


Although two consecutive days are useful for devising groups or when preparing for a public reading, for a private reading two one-dayers separated by as much time as you need to prepare a new draft has proved much more helpful. After one day playwrights often just long to get away and rewrite, overwhelmed with new ideas and quite incapable of absorbing, or offering, any more.

We pay actors' fees of $200 a day (or $100 a half day); director and script advisor's fees of $250 a day; playwright’s remuneration of $200 per day, and we arrange venue costs.

SCRIPT ADVICE SESSIONS

Script advice, one-to-one with an experienced mentor, can be provided for plays at any stage of development post first draft. These can be in person, or via an online arrangement. We will do our best to engage your preferred advisor, or recommend someone appropriate.

This can range from one hour to several days' worth of time spread over a long period. Script Advisor fees are based on a daily rate of $200.

Group devised work

We can pay an advisor to provide dramaturgical oversight for groups involved in a collaborative writing process. Please note though as explained above that we can only consider assisting work that has reached first draft status or equivalent.

We also need to be satisfied that copyright and credit issues have been settled, and offer help to devising groups to negotiate this, if necessary.

PLAYWRITING COURSES

Some of our senior client playwrights also work as playwriting tutors, both online and in person, and at reasonable rates. They offer a variety of options; long and short, group and individual, structured or tailored specifically to your needs. If you are interested in finding out more please contact us with your preferences, and we will match you up with a tutor who suits your needs.

INTERNATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

We ensure that all international opportunities NZ playwrights are eligible for are included in our regular ebulletin - make sure you sign up for this if you are interested. 

McKenzie Country by Hannah McKie

Wild Cabbage by James Beaumont

Providence by Louise Tu'u

Saving Grace by Duncan Sarkies

The Nero Show by Paul Jenden with music composed by Gareth Farr

Niu Sila by Dave Armstrong and Oscar Kightley

Lashings of Whipped Cream by Fiona Samuel

The Gods of Warm Beer by Peter Hawes

Whero's New Net by Albert Belz

Double Portrait by Jan Bolwell

Tic Tic by Michelanne Forster and Paul Barrett

Dick Whittington and his Cat by Roger Hall. Lyrics by Paul Jenden, music by Michael Nicholas Williams.

Finding Murdoch by Margot McRae