ARCADE’S SKETCH COMEDY FESTIVAL

Calling all sketch writers and actors!

Sketchville is Arcade Comedy Theater’s original celebration of sketch comedy in Pittsburgh. And since its inception back in 2014, the production has evolved and changed each time it’s appeared on our stages. This year is no different.

For this winter’s production of “Rebuilding Sketchville,” we are opening up a call for submissions of finished sketch comedy scripts — these should ideally be new or unproduced works (and by that, we mean “not part of a previous sketch show at Arcade”). We will invite a diverse panel of readers to do a blind reading of the scripts, and through that process a “revue show” will be born.

Under the direction of Parag S. Gohel and the production management of Frank McDade, we will assemble an ensemble cast, rehearse the collection of sketches, and produce a show that will run for a number of performances in early December.

Sketch teams and writers are allowed to submit scripts, and authors will be credited and given a stipend if their work is produced. The casting of the sketches and any script edits will be up to the discretion of the theater.

Auditions for the ensemble will take place in early October, after the sketch show has been assembled.

What is the criteria for the script submissions?

  • Your sketch should have a strong, clear premise. Be well-written and free of typos or grammatical errors. It should be professional and, above all, funny.
  • Scripts should be no longer than 6 pages (6 minutes)
  • We are looking for a range of scene types such as runners, black-outs, group scenes, monologues, two-person relationship, character-driven, skills based, etc.
  • Individuals (or writing groups) may submit more than one script for consideration
  • Cast size for your sketch should be no larger than 6 people
  • We encourage writers to be supportive of open, diverse casting to increase opportunities for actors of all gender expression, race, ethnicity, background, or ability. Any cast/character descriptions should be only as specific as necessary to serve the premise.
  • Any sketches that contain jokes or content that go against our values or inclusivity statement will be immediately disqualified
  • Props, costumes, and technical requirements should be light or optional

Important Dates

  • Writing submissions close Oct 1 at midnight
  • Performer auditions in mid-October
  • Production in early December

How to Submit

  • Email scripts as attachments to sketchville@arcadecomedytheater.com
  • File formats: PDF, DOC/DOCX, TXT, or Google Docs links
  • Please include the sketch title and any info about the sketch’s history (did you devise it in a workshop or class, has it been performed previously, etc). 
    • Example: SCRIPT.DOCX
      “The Talented Ms. Ripley from Aliens”
      Read on stage as part of a class show, never produced
  • Also, if you are sending multiple scripts, please explain each one.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Frank McDade via the Sketchville email address.

Script evaluation process

  • All scripts will be given a code and any identifying info about the author will be removed. 
  • Each script will be read by at least three different people and scored on a scale of 1 to 5 based on the following criteria:
    • Premise: how unique, funny, or innovative is it? Does it have a point of view?
    • Content: is it funny? Does it “punch up?” Does the premise come through in an effective way?
    • Technical skill: how well is the sketch crafted? Is the premise presented with skill?
    • Production: is this something that can be feasibly produced on our stage?
  • After the scripts have been read and scored, our team will assess collectively to see how the sketches might cohesively fit together into a production. While we will endeavor to include all of the highest ranked sketches, we will also be looking at how the show will flow. 
  • The writers will be notified either way. If your script is chosen, you will receive instructions on the next steps; if your script is not picked at this time, we will provide any feedback from the judges. 
  • Once the scripts are chosen, we will be holding auditions for the ensemble cast. Writers are welcome to audition as well, however having your work in the show does not guarantee you will also be cast.

So that we can accurately judge the length of a script, please format it similar to this sample

FAQ (in progress!)

Do you have questions about the script selection and production process? Please write us! We’ll share answers here for everyone to ready.

Do you have to be local to submit a sketch?

No! While Sketchville has always been a production that highlights sketch comedy in Pittsburgh, the writers do not have to live here to submit.

Can I act in my sketch?

For this year’s Sketchville, we are casting the sketch show as if it were a play: looking for an ensemble of around six performers to play the roles in every sketch selected. The auditions are open to everyone, including writers who also are actors. But who is cast in what sketch is up to the discretion of the creative team.

Can my sketch troupe submit material?

Yes! If your sketch troupe would like to submit a new script, we will be happy to credit the troupe or the individual writers that contributed to it. The writer’s stipend will only be given to the “the troupe” however.