Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How can I participate?
A. There are three ways to participate: as a writer, actor or audience member. Writers bring plays to read, actors read the plays to the assembled audience and everyone can provide the writers feedback on the plays.
Q. How do I join?
A. Just show up. Thanks to the generous support of TheatreWorks, membership in the Drama Lab is completely free (although we welcome the occasional donation of cookies or other snacks). You'll find that we're a friendly group, and we'll do our best to get you plugged in right away.
Q. When do you meet?
A. The second Monday of the month from 7pm to 10pm.
Q. Where do you meet?
A. On the UCCS campus in University Hall, 3955 Regent Circle. We meet in Room 165, which is toward the back of the building.
Q. Do I need any experience?
A. No. We welcome writers and actors of all experience levels.
Q. How do I get my script read at one of your meetings?
A. Send an email to Todd Wallinger and ask for a slot at the next meeting. We limit readings to 15 pages per script per meeting. If your script is longer than that, we're happy to read it in sections over several meetings.
On the night of the meeting, please bring one copy of your script for each of the actors and one extra copy for someone to read the stage directions. When it's your turn for the reading, you will cast the part from the actors attending that night. You can read the stage directions yourself, but we've find it most useful if you have one of the actors read those as well as it allows you to just sit back and listen.
After the your play is read, the floor will be opened up for discussion. We maintain a very supportive atmosphere, so don't be afraid that your "baby" will be ripped to shreds. Instead you'll get a lot of encouraging, constructive feedback.
Q. How do I get cast in a reading?
A. Just show up. Before the meeting, let Todd know that you're interested in reading. Casting is done by the playwright immediately before each reading, so we can't guarantee you'll get a part, but we've found that actors who attend regularly usually get cast in 1-3 plays per meeting.
Q. How do I get to participate as an audience member?
A. Again, just show up. After each play is read, we ask everyone to offer suggestions and feedback. You're free to share any thoughts you have or you can just sit back and enjoy the reading without commenting. Sometimes, just hearing the audience laugh or gasp or cry (or not) is the most valuable feedback of all.
Q. How old do I have to be to participate?
A. We've found that 16 is a good minimum age, and that goes for writers, readers and audience members. We've read some amazing material by 16 year old writers, and we often have parts for younger actors. But we don't censor our scripts. Many of our plays contain mature subject matter, graphic language and the ever popular F-bomb. For this reason, participants younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Q. Can I bring a short story or other prose writing to read?
A. Sorry, no. There are a lot of great fiction writing groups around, but as far as we know, we're the only one in town that focuses on plays and is open to everyone. And since TheatreWorks allows us to meet in their building, we like to keep our efforts in line with their mission, which is to develop and produce great theatre.
Q. What if I want to bring a screenplay?
A. Again, no. While plays are dialogue-based, screenplays are action-based so there is less to be gained by hearing them read aloud.
Q. Can I perform my own one-person play?
A. Man, you just want everything, don't you? Seriously though, we've decided to discourage this type of thing. This is a group for writing, not performing, and allowing writers to perform their own works often results in the wrong kind of feedback. Besides, you'll be surprised how much you'll learn about own work if you allow someone else to perform it.
Q. What is your association with TheatreWorks?
A. The Drama Lab is an officially sponsored group of TheatreWorks. This allows us to use the classrooms in University Hall for free. They promote our group to their artists and audience members and we promote their productions to our members.
Q. How can I get a reminder about future meetings?
A. Send an email to Todd Wallinger and ask to be added to our email list. Or go to "Drama Lab at Theatreworks" on Facebook and click Like.