What We’re About

TL;DR – The 711 Theatre Project is the deadline-driven short play competition festival on nitrous.

Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to write, rehearse, design and perform an 11-minute play within just 7 days. Sound easy? Now add that until the week before you are set to perform – you don’t know the set; the required character, prop, line of dialogue; the genre of your play; and you will be competing against up to 20 other theatrical troupes. Sound fun? You bet!

A little background

The 711 Theatre Project was created when a board member of Theatre Iowa stated she would like to see a one-act or 10-minute play festival in Des Moines. After some thought and discussion, it was decided to add some caffeine into the mix and create a festival where 10-minute plays should be delivered on a deadline (7 days). For 2016-2018, Goldfinch Theater Company and Grand View University takes the helm for a second year of producing the 711 Theatre Project.

There are a lot of short play festivals around the globe – ones where the playwrights submit their plays months in advance. They are perused, judged, critiqued and then only a handful selected for performance. Then starts the rehearsal and production process – lining up directors, auditioning actors, costuming, set-light-sound design, prop wrangling, etc. Finally, after almost a year has gone by from the day the playwrights put the stamp on their submission envelope, the short plays are produced.

The twist

Those other festivals are your “father’s” festival (to steal from an old Oldsmobile ad) … today’s society is rich and vibrant and likes fast things: fast cars, fast food, and fast access to entertainment. And so, the 711 Theatre Project was born.

To our knowledge, this is the only non-juried deadline-driven short play festival in the country. So, hopefully, when you see copy-cat festivals down the line – you will know where it started.

How does it work?

It’s quite simple.

The 711 Theatre Project provides:

  • The venue
  • The set and basic props
  • The lighting plot
  • The sound system
  • The genre
  • The other required elements

Then performance troupes will have 7 days to:

  • write the script
  • design lights, sound, costumes
  • rehearse

… an 11-minute play that they will perform on one of the days of the 711 Theatre Project. No performance troupe will know they set and lighting plot prior to 7 days before the performance weekend. No script can be written before then, no costumes designed … nada. Only one activity can be done prior to 7 days out – and that is talent recruitment. The performance troupes are able to gather up their playwright, their director, their designer(s), and their actors. Then 7 days prior to the performance all troupes will be introduced to the set and given the lighting plot from which they can create their lighting design.

The 711 Theatre Project is not just a festival – but it is also a competition. Since theatrical mettle will be tested, prizes will be awarded for

Each performance day:

  • Audience Choice
  • Best Playwriting (Judges’ decision)
  • Best Ensemble Performance (Judges’ decision)
  • Best Individual Performance (Judges’ decision)
  • Best Direction (Judges’ decision)
  • … and more …

Best of Show, 2nd Place, and 3rd Place awards

  • The top three 11-minute plays of the competition from whom the Judges choose from all of the above winners.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic live entertainment event in Des Moines. We look forward to seeing you there!