Guidelines for Presenting a Reading


  1. The Stage Manager should (see above) and open the house.
  2. The Producer or Director should open the reading by making the announcement (see outline in prior section).
  3. At the conclusion of the show, the Stage Manager should turn off the stage lights and bring up the House Lights.
  4. At the Talk-Back, the Moderator should:
    1. Introduce yourself and that the Talk-Back will begin in about 5 minutes, and the audience can either stay or leave.
    2. Smile – and try and keep everyone POSITIVE.
    3. After 5 minutes, introduce and invite to the stage: the Playwright, Producer, Director, Stage Manager, and individuals in the Cast. If the Play Readers are there, introduce them as well, but they can remain in the audience.
    4. Explain to the audience that you first have your own questions – and then you’ll open things up to audience questions.
    5. Have a prepared list of questions to ask, to get people started. Ask about the playwrights background, inspirations, their play writing process, their decisions, character or script questions. Things about the actual play they wrote.
    6. You can also ask the actors similar questions.
    7. [Not ask the playwright what they thought of the reading they just saw, asking questions relating to “what sucked” or “what didn’t work”.]
    8. Open questions up to the audience. Keep the audience engaged. If an audience member seems to possess subject matter expertise related to the script, ask them to elaborate. It may help the playwright.
    9. Keep the pace moving – don’t let the playwright or cast speak too long answering a question – move on to the next.
    10. At the end, THANK the playwright for attending and answering questions.
    11. Thank the Director, Actors, Stage Manager, Producer and the Audience for attending.
  5. At the reading, the Playwright should:
    1. Smile and stay positive.
    2. Be ready to take constructive criticism and smile.
    3. Do not attempt to convince the audience of why what you wrote, is correct or the only way things should be interpreted. A playwright should refrain from debate and defense of work. But it’s OK to talk about your process and experience.
    4. Thank the audience members for their opinion or participation when appropriate, even if something is interpreted by you as offensive.
    5. Thank the producer, director, stage manager and cast – for all their efforts – as this experience should be invaluable to the playwright.
  6. At the reading, the Producer should:
    1. Keep in mind what happens during the reading and talk-back, to determine one overall score/rank that you would give the overall production. Use this overall rank, combined with the reviewer scores, to help determine which play should have a Full Production Run – if any.