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Festival Info and Application


CMTF 7: Common Questions


Where/when is the festival?
CMTF 7 will take place February 2021, during Chicago's "Theatre Week" city-wide celebration of theatre. Performances will take place at Stage 773: The Pro and The Thrust stages. 


How does CMTF work?
Authors, composers, and producers submit scripts for consideration via our application form. Our jury selects ten productions for participation, who then receive participation agreements, and pay their festival fee: $1900 (payment options to be announced soon). Starting late summer/early fall, representatives from those shows are required to attend a weekend of workshops on producing, marketing, and developing musicals in Chicago, led by industry professionals. 


Each show is responsible for their own production, meaning casting, rehearsing, designing, marketing, teching, and presenting their show. Each group gets one full day of tech, and must set up/strike their production within a half hour of curtain. The festival provides shared resources for each group, made possible by the participation fee, detailed below.


Ticket sales are split 50/50 between festival participants and the festival. This allows the festival to rent premium venues, provide top-of-the-line equipment, shared resources, and aggressively market the festival as a whole.


Is the festival judged?
Yes! We have a panel of judges who attend every show, and vote on awards like "Best of the Fest," "Best ensemble," and "Best music". The panel is comprised of Artistic Directors, industry leaders, and a representative from a musical theatre licensing house, which means your work is guaranteed to be seen by producers, directors, and publishers who can help your show take its next steps. These judges also provide substantive feedback on your show that you can use to help spur further development.


What kind of shows are you looking for?
CMTF is designed as a place to showcase the text, sound, and concept of your show, rather than glitz, glam, and crazy-expensive production value. Each show only gets 1/2 hour to set up before each performance, two hours to perform, and you must strike within 1/2 hour of curtain call. In that spirit, we recommend you focus less on having an extravagant set or special effects, and more on how you can showcase your work effectively. Producers and directors care more about your script/score than your ability to build a snazzy platform. We're looking for shows that are ready for an audience, and ready to show their work to producers, agents, and publishers.


How much does the festival cost?

  • Applying is free.

  • Participation fee is $1,900. This fee is due at signing (official fee and payment options to be determined).

  • You will also need to pay your actors, musicians, and personnel, as well as for production costs like set/costumes/microphones. Producing in Chicago is *far* less expensive than in other theatre-rich cities. Here's a sample budget, for reference.


What do I get?

  • Minimum Five performances over the course of the festival's three week run

  • 50% of all ticketing revenue for your production

  • One full day of tech

  • Limited on-site storage

  • A publicist who is actively working to bring press to your show

  • A robust, fixed, shared lighting plot

  • A state-of-the-art sound system

  • A projector (if needed)

  • Lighting and sound technicians for your performances

  • Shared festival light and sound designer

  • Access to Chicago theatre resources, including discounted rehearsal space, members-only audition/personnel posting sites, discounted media costs, and promotion events

  • Mentorship from Chicago theatre professionals on producing, marketing, and developing a show in Chicago

  • Guaranteed feedback from artistic directors, directors, composers, and theatrical publishers


What am I responsible for?

  • Paying the participation fee

  • Attending workshops on production, marketing, and development

  • Teching your show on your assigned tech day, off-book, in costume, with all technical elements ready

  • Performing in the CMTF press preview event 

  • Producing your show

  • Attending the awards ceremony 


What are the restrictions?

  • Each show can be no longer than 2 hours. This is a hard limit. If you choose to have an intermission, that's fine, but it comes out of the two hours.

  • You have 1/2 hour to set up and completely strike your show before and after each performance.

  • We recommend keeping production costs (set/costumes) minimal, so you can focus on showcasing your work


How do I apply?
Click below to start your application! Applications are being accepted until further notice.

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