The American Shakespeare Center wants to see your fan fiction. As Vox reports, the theater company in Staunton, Virginia is in search of "companion pieces" that tell stories that are about, inspired by, or otherwise involve the Bard and his work. And they’re paying.
Jim Warren, the center’s artistic director, is looking for plays that "vibe off Shakespeare," as he explains in a press release. This is how he describes what they’re looking for:
We’re not looking for a retelling of Shakespeare plays. We’re looking for partner plays that are inspired by Shakespeare, plays that might be sequels or prequels to Shakespeare’s stories, plays that might tell the stories of minor characters in Shakespeare’s stories, plays that might dramatize Shakespeare’s company creating the first production of a title, plays that might include modern characters interacting with Shakespeare’s characters, plays that will be even more remarkable when staged in rotating repertory with their Shakespeare counterpart and actors playing the same characters who might appear in both plays, plays that not only will appeal to other Shakespeare theater, but also to all types of theater and audiences around the world.
For the next two decades, the American Shakespeare Center plans to select two such plays every year, rewarding the chosen playwrights with $25,000 each, as well as travel and housing expenses to come to Staunton for rehearsals. Each year, there will be a call for plays inspired by a few specific works in Shakespeare’s oeuvre—this year, The Merry Wives of Windsor; Henry IV, Part 1; The Comedy of Errors; and The Winter’s Tale are on the docket.
The idea is that the new plays will complement the traditional pieces the theater plans to put on during the year. Playwrights will need to take into account that their work will be performed at the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia, which is a recreation of the type of theater that housed Shakespeare's original performances—no fancy sets or lighting, using a small set of actors who play multiple parts and might need to cross-dress at some point. Basically, they're looking for your rendition of Shakespeare in Love.
You have until February 2018 to submit.