Play Reading Committee
Our Play Reading Committee (PRC), elected by the Membership, has the responsibility of selecting the shows that are then voted upon by the Membership.
Play Reading Committee (PRC) members for 2023-2024 are:
Burlington Players Play Selection Process
(Effective August 2015)
The Burlington Players have a period of time, (6 – 8 weeks) during which any member can submit a show for consideration. A member is anyone who has paid dues and worked with the Players in any capacity in the last year. A voting member is anyone who has paid dues and helped on the last 2 of 3 or 3 of 6 shows. We also include any service to our youth organizations.(Help is defined as showing up for clean the theater night, ushering, etc. ANY service at all counts.)
Members are asked to adhere to the following guidelines:
Please submit only shows that you have read or seen, and send the following information to the Play Reading Committee (PRC) PRC@burlingtonplayers.com
Title and Author
Publishing House (who controls the performance rights)
Genre (i.e., comedy, drama, musical, thriller)
Cast size and breakdown (i.e. number of men, number of women)
A ballot with the full list of submitted shows will be submitted to our email list for audience voting. People on our email list are asked to vote for what they would like to see as our next season and the member that gets closest is awarded a season subscription. In the event that more than one audience ballot most closely matches the chosen season, one of those ballots will be chosen at random for the free season subscription. Audience members are encouraged to vote for only one musical due to resource constraints mounting more than one musical per season. The purpose of balloting the audience is to allow the subscribers and audience to have a voice in the play selection process and to give them a sense of participation in the organization.
Play Reading Committee (PRC)
The Play Reading Committee (PRC) is a comprised of 6 people, Five will be elected each year at the annual meeting. The remaining PRC member will be a current Board member selected by the Board, and will be the Board Liaison to the PRC as well as a fully serving PRC member. The full set of plays (typically between 30 and 50 shows) are submitted by the membership to the PRC.
The PRC Chair or Co-Chairs are voted on by the committee at the earliest convenience and will be responsible for delegating or completing all tasks, including but not limited to collecting play submissions, balloting, tracking rankings, getting scripts, communicating with the Board, and leading the Marathon.
Before the beginning of the season, the Board will schedule the Cut to 30, Cut to 12, and Marathon Play Selection Process meetings. This will facilitate the PRC management of the play selection process.
The PRC’s first task is assembling and preparing the submitted titles. These titles are submitted to the appointed PRC member for the collection and preparation of the play selection ballot which is inserted in the first regular season (usually September) show’s program. Then, after the first show closes, the PRC collects the ballots and counts the number of audience votes for each play. The top ten plays, by audience vote, are then noted.
Solicitation of Directors
At the same time that the ballot is being presented to the audience, an email with the same list of plays is sent by the PRC to the list of Certified Directors to solicit interest. Director interest will be included as part of the criteria for both the Cut-to-30 and Cut-to-12 tasks.
Cut to 30
Within 30 days of the closing of the first show of the season, the PRC will reduce the number of shows from the total number of original submissions including audience ballots, to 30. This Cut-to-30 MUST include the top 10 shows with the most audience votes; however, any show may be removed from the list in the event that rights cannot be secured, is not a full show, has overly challenging cast or technical requirements, or other unusual circumstances.
The Committee may choose the additional 20 titles using any criteria they see fit.
The Cut-to-30 is then approved by the membership at a general membership meeting, scheduled by the board as soon as possible, but no later than the first week of December. This meeting typically precedes the monthly Board of Directors meeting and the entire PRC along with the general membership, is encouraged to attend. Any audience top 10 show removed from the Cut-to-30 list should be specifically discussed at that meeting. The voting membership then approves the Cut-to-30 with a simple majority (50% plus one vote) approving.
Cut to 12
The next step is for the PRC to cut from 30 to 12. Every script on the cut to 30 must be read by at least 3 members of the committee. Prior to reading, the PRC determines its voting procedure based on the established criteria. It can be by whatever objective means it sees fit, in any given season, as long as all shows are evaluated against the same criteria.
Examples of criteria include (in no particular order):
Quality of material
Play reader opinion
Balance of type (drama, comedy, musical, mystery, etc)
Talent pool availability due to other recent productions in the area
Period (e.g., Shakespeare, classical, old)
Audience fatigue (too many other productions in the area recently)
Is being produced in the area in the next season
Balance of type (drama, comedy, musical, mystery, etc)
Cost of production
The Cut-to-12 is scheduled by the board and is then presented at a general membership meeting for approval, before the end of the third week of January. If a member (a general member or a PRC member) feels very strongly about a script that was submitted from the original list of submissions in that season, they may make a motion to reinstate it to this cut. A vote of the membership is then made; which requires at least 60% of the members at the meeting voting affirmative. If reinstated, the member making the motion is then responsible for presenting it at the Marathon. As many as two shows may be reinstated. A member may make a motion to reinstate more than 2 shows for that season; however; an affirmative vote of at least 60% of the voting members at the meeting is required to approve the change. The entire list of the Cut-to-12 is voted by the membership at the meeting, with a simple majority (50% plus one vote) approving.
The Marathon takes place in January or February on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The PRC members each present 2 or 3 shows from the cut to 12 for consideration.
They have 10 minutes to present a scene (using members from the community to read), play music, talk about the show, etc. They can present it in any way they like.
There is then 5 minutes of discussion (technical challenges, nudity, language, casting challenges, controversial topics, etc.)
After all shows have been presented, the voting members vote for 8 shows by secret ballot. There is then a vote for 4 shows from the 8, again by secret ballot. In the event of a tie at this ballot, the 8-to-4 vote is made again. If the same tie exists after the second vote, then there is a run-off between the shows that tied to determine the winner. Once the votes have been tallied, there is a final yes/no vote by the membership on whether or not the season is accepted by the membership. In the event that the season is voted down, discussions are held and consecutive re-votes/discussions of all of the 8 shows are held until a final season (set of four shows) receives the majority vote. Voting members are urged to evaluate the season in its entirety (e.g. a ‘balanced season’) and financial / resource requirements (e.g. limit to one musical per season).
Once the season is voted in the PRC is discharged for that year.
Selection Process Changes
Changes to this process can be proposed by any voting member, discussed by the sitting PRC, and if approved by a super majority of the sitting PRC (60%) will then be forwarded to the next Annual Membership meeting for a vote by the entire membership. Changes are effective for the next play reading cycle after they are approved.