Spark Theatre Festival

FAQ & Terms

Please read our FAQ thoroughly, as well as the Terms and Conditions below, to which you must agree in order to be accepted into the festival.

Q • What is Spark Theatre Festival NYC (formerly called the New Work Series)?

A • The Emerging Artists Theatre (EAT) Spark Theatre Festival NYC is a three-week-long festival of new work. Each artist is given one presentation of their piece during the festival. Spark Theatre Festival runs seven days a week, with multiple performance slots on many days. Full-length musicals or solo pieces that may run over 60 minutes will only be given a performance time that can accommodate the length of their show, such as a 9pm evening performance, or a 2pm matinee.

Q • Does it cost anything to submit to Spark Theatre Festival NYC?

A • There is no cost to submit or participate, and the presenting artist receives half the box office proceeds. Emerging Artists Theatre provides the theatre space, stage manager, and assistant stage manager for the technical rehearsal and the performance, plus a house manager, box office, and concessions personnel. There is, however, an audience guarantee, which requires presenting artists to bring one paying audience member per minute of their performance. Read more about the audience guarantee below. 

Q • What is the audience guarantee?

A • Since there is no submission or participation fee, EAT requires each piece to have a minimum of 1 paying person per minute of their show. For instance, if you have a 10-minute piece, you are required to have a minimum of 10 paying audience members. Artists who do not meet this requirement must pay for EAT’s portion of the audience guarantee. You can, however, use your box office share to fill in the deficit to EAT, or give a tax-deductible donation to make up the difference. The festival is here to provide artists who are ready to attract a paying audience a place to present their work. For example, a solo artist with a 60-minute show who sells 60 tickets, makes $600 for their hour-long performance, and EAT’s 50% portion of the box office is also $600 (a 50/50 split). If they only sell 30 tickets at $20 each, EAT’s guarantee remains and will keep the entire $600. If they sell zero tickets, the artist must pay the audicnce guarantiee to EAT, which would be $600 at the end of the evening.  

Q • What are your COVID-19 protocols?

Our top priority is your health and safety, along with the safety of our staff and audience, which is why we have engaged a Covid compliance officer for the festival. Since COVID is still a fluid situation, we will monitor and adjust our protocols as needed to comply with state and CDC recommendations.

Q • Where does Spark Theatre Festival NYC take place?

A • The festival takes place at the 28th Street Theater (also known as Tada! Theatre) at 15 West 28th Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue. The 28th Street Theater is a professional, 99-seat theater space. After each performance, all props and personal items must be removed from the dressing rooms and theater space within 15 minutes of the end of the performance or talk back.

Q • Who can apply to be part of the festival?

A • Spark Theatre Festival is for artists in the tri-state area of NY, CT, and NJ, in the areas of dance, solo performance, cabaret, short and full-length musicals, or short plays (less than 60 minutes). An exception might be made for artists who live outside the tri-state area if they have a large following in NYC. In order to help you achieve a large audience, EAT does not accept pieces that have recently performed their piece in NYC. EAT likes to be the incubator for new work, and many pieces in the series are being seen for the first time. Artists may, however, bring back a past piece if they have not performed it recently, and can get a sufficient audience to attend.

Q • What is the talkback element?

A • Each piece can decide to have a talkback after their performance, which is moderated by one of our curators. The talkback is a chance for the artists to ask specific questions of the audience. This feedback has proven to help improve their work and move it forward. The talkback takes place at the end of the evening of short pieces and usually runs 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the time. It is an invaluable tool for artists to evolve their work.

Q • Does the festival provide furniture, piano, video camera, or projector for artists?

A • EAT provides a series of cubes, tables, chairs, and music stands for use by artists. EAT also provides at no cost to the artists an upright Yamaha piano, a video camera, and a tripod. Artists who would like to use our video camera must provide their own SD card, and a person to run the camera. A projector is usually hung and available for each festival.

Q • How does the series work with Equity actors?

A • EAT presents your piece in the festival, but is not the producer. Artists are responsible for filing the appropriate paperwork for the Showcase application with the Actors’ Equity Association, and may freely use our Voluntary Accident insurance policy. The other option is to buy out the house and do it under the Equity Staged Reading agreement, and then your audience would not pay to see your work, but you will need to provide EAT your audience guarantee amount as a tax-deductible donation.

Q • Does EAT provide rehearsal space, and what is the cost?

A • EAT provides a limited amount of free rehearsal space on a first come, first served basis and subject to the tech schedule of the festival.

Q • When do we have our tech, and how long is it?

A • Each show will schedule a technical rehearsal with the stage manager, which will last one-and-a-half the running time of their piece. (So, a 10 min. piece gets a 15 min. technical rehearsal.) The festival is not for tech-heavy shows, as the goal of the series is to put more focus on the writing/creation than the technical aspects. For that reason, each show will have a limited number of approximately five light and sound cues.

Q • Do we print our own programs?

A • EAT prints a beautiful full-color brochure for the entire series. Each piece provides a printed insert specifically about their production, with full cast list, bios, etc., that EAT staff will insert into the festival brochure.

Q • How does ticketing work, especially if there is more than one piece in an evening?

A • EAT creates a unique ticketing link that is only for your piece. We can give you updates on the number of tickets sold. Tickets can also be bought directly at the box office with cash or credit card on the evening of your performance. The box office manager asks each walk-up patron which show they are specifically there to see, and marks it down so that each show gets the appropriate box office split.

Q • What is the ticket price?

A • Each performance slot has a ticket price of at least $20. If an artist would like to increase their ticket price, we can increase that amount for their show. Whatever the admission price is for the piece, the audience member sees all the short pieces in that slot for that one admission price.

Q: What if I accept a spot in the festival but later have to withdraw?

A • If you withdraw less than two weeks before the beginning of the festival, we will still hold you responsible for EAT’s portion of your audience guarantee at the lowest ticket price. We will ask late withdrawing shows to make this payment to Emerging Artists Theatre as a tax-deductible donation.

Q • Do I need to credit Emerging Artists Theatre in future productions? 

A • Yes, we ask that you include the following text in future programs or on your company website: “This piece was originally developed at Emerging Artists Theatre’s Spark Theatre Festival (formerly the New Work Series) in New York City.”

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