Indie Theater Now Offers Growing Catalog of Plays
We wanted to shine the spotlight here on a relatively new resource that has emerged. Indie Theater Now – New York Theater Experience’s most recent project – is a website that acts as a digital library for the online era.
Indie Theater Now is essentially “iTunes for Plays,” according to Martin Denton, the founder of nytheatre.com and the editor and publisher of the Plays and Playwrights series from NYTE Small Press. As he explains, the website contains lots of free content about the plays and playwrights who are published there, including an excerpt of every play in the online “library.” Users can buy digital copies of plays for just $1.29, and can purchase multi-play subscription packs at a lower per-play price. They read the plays on a proprietary Flash-based reader that enables them to access the scripts they’ve purchased on virtually any desktop or laptop computer (and most Android devices as well) with an internet connection.
Indie Theater Now is intended to provide tangible benefits to the playwrights who participate. "We strive to protect their rights by encrypting the scripts and preventing them from being copied or printed by the end-user," says Denton. Information about how to contact the playwright (or his/her agent/representative) for future productions, is prominently featured with each script. Perhaps most importantly, playwrights receive a royalty for every play sold on the site.
Earlier this fall, NYTE (the nonprofit company that makes nytheatre.com possible) received its first grant in support of Indie Theater Now, from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. This funding will help support the playwright royalty payments, so that royalties can be paid even when the copies of the play are “comped” to end users.
“The response has been incredibly (and encouragingly) positive,” Denton said. “We’ve doubled the number of participating playwrights in three months, while our play count has grown from 104 in August to 187 today. Indie Theater Now’s Facebook page grew to more than 500 fans in a few weeks.” And, as word has started to spread, NYTE has heard from independent theater artists from Kansas City, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and elsewhere, who are gearing up to make Indie Theater Now their gateway to the NYC theater community.
Goals for Indie Theater Now include making thousands of plays searchable online in a myriad number of ways; creating a monthly e-zine with routine updates on the indie theater scene, and multimedia and interactive features that spotlight theater work that is not necessarily text-based. The endgame is to serve an ever-more diverse set of readers and audience members, from oral history to technical/process-oriented materials for students and emerging artists.
“I think the creation of Indie Theater Now is my proudest achievement in fifteen years of bringing new media technology to the theater community,” Denton said.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
Browse the site out yourself at www.indietheaternow.com.
And check out the New York Innovative Theatre Awards Collection featuring plays that have been nominated for Outstanding Script awards. We are so honored to be included in this exciting and important new resource.