Aims of Crash Test
The aims of Crash Test Drama Sydney are:
  • To develop good ten-minute plays through the presentation of public moved readings
  • To develop the skills of playwrights by allowing them to see their work performed on stage. At Crash Test Drama we firmly believe in learning through doing - that the best way for writers to improve their craft of writing for the stage is to see their work performed in front of an audience
  • Providing an opportunity for actors and directors to practise their craft, through the staging and performing of moved readings of new ten-minute plays by local writers, while having a fun night
Rules of Crash Test Drama Sydney
Keeping the aims in mind, here are the rules of Crash Test Drama Sydney
Plays: To be eligible for Crash Test Drama, plays must not have had a production in Sydney, including at other play reading events. Writers must be present the night the play will be read. The aim of Crash Test Drama is to develop good ten-minute plays so writers are allowed to do whatever necessary to develop their script prior to its presentation at Crash Test Drama Sydney apart from a production or a public moved reading.

Casting: All CASTING must be carried out on the night the play will be read at Crash Test Drama Sydney, in the Casting Session. No parts may be pre-cast. At our discretion, all actors attending the auditions who are not cast may be given free entry to Crash Test Drama on the night.

Writers: May not act in their own play. They will benefit more as a writer from watching their play performed by other actors.

Entry fee: EVERYBODY pays $15 cash at the door – writers, actors, directors and audience. $10 of this goes to make up the prize money for the night.

Timing: All plays must be TEN MINUTES or under. It is the playwright’s responsibility to make sure their play is under ten minutes BEFORE they enter it to Crash Test Drama.

Changes: Script changes can only be made by the writer, unless the play is running over 10 minutes and increasing the performance speed is not practical.

Deductions: People’s Choice Votes are deducted if the play is over ten minutes: 11 minutes (-5 votes), 12 minutes (-10 votes, ineligible for Judge's Choice award), 13 minutes (-15), 14 minutes (-20), 15 minutes and above (-25).

Rehearsing: All actors and directors are allowed to rehearse from the time of casting until the beginning of the show. Participants are NOT allowed to continue rehearsing during the other plays - if they do so, they will be disqualified from prizes. Everyone gets two votes and it's unfair if some people have missed half the plays. If participants in the second half of a show want to rehearse during interval, that is acceptable.

Final: Unless unavailable, the same director and actors who presented the play originally must again be involved in the Final. Since one of the aims of Crash Test Drama is to develop good ten minute plays, writers may workshop their play with their actors and directors, and do whatever re-writes they feel necessary, before the play is presented at the final to make the script as good as it can be.
Prize money on the night is divided in the following way:
Popular Vote Winner (as determined by People’s Choice Voting): 66% of Entry Fees collected (after other prizes deducted). The prize money to be divided evenly between the writer, and the actors and director who present the play on the night.
Popular Vote Runner Up (as determined by People’s Choice Voting): 33% of Entry Fees collected (after other prizes deducted). The prize money to be divided evenly between the writer, and the actors and director who present the play on the night.
Best Play (as determined by our Judges): No CASH prize. Play wins qualification to the Final of Crash Test Drama and a chance to be included in Short+Sweet Sydney.
Best Actor (as determined by our Judges): $50
Best Actor Runner Up (as determined by our Judges): $25
Best Actress (as determined by our Judges): $50
Best Actress Runner Up (as determined by our Judges): $25
Playwright’s Encouragement Award PLEASE NOTE: This prize does not go to the writer of the play that wins Best Play (People’s Choice or Judge’s choice). It goes to the playwright, whose play does not win another award on the night, that the Coordinator most feels deserves encouragement for their writing or play: $25

Best Director (as determined by our Judges): $25

The following plays are chosen from each night of Crash Test Drama Sydney to qualify for the next final of Crash Test Drama:
Popular Vote Winner (as determined by People’s Choice Voting)
Best Play (as determined by our Judges)
If these are the same, the Best Play Runner Up (as determined by our Judges) will also qualify for the Final.

Writer/Director Relationships
Crash Test Drama is different to many other theatre events in that we want writers to have maximum involvement with the process. What commonly happens with professional productions is that the writer has little or no say in the realisation of their script. At Crash Test, we switch this around; our key aim is to develop scripts and we want playwrights to have a say in how their play is done.

Working together in a creative environment can be challenging when there are conflicting ideas on how things should be done. The following points outline how we would like writers and directors to work together at Crash Test Drama:
  • Writers and directors watch the actors audition and cast their plays together. While this should be as collaborative as possible, directors are ultimately in charge of casting and will have final say if consensus is not reached
  • Writers are encouraged to sit in with their director and actors during rehearsals. They may simply watch or even leave if they wish, but they have the right to be involved
  • As Crash Test is a script development program with the key aim of helping writers improve their work, the goal of all participants is to help bring the writer's vision to life. If the writer wishes for something to be done in a certain way, directors and actors should work to achieve this
  • Directors are encouraged to suggest changes and improvements to the script if they feel that things could be done better in a certain way. Writers should take these suggestions on board but do not have to accept script changes they don't agree with
  • Directors are in charge of directing! Writers should communicate their ideas through the director, not directly to actors (unless the director is okay with this), as it becomes very difficult for actors when they are receiving conflicting information!
  • All parties should work together to ensure the script runs under 10 minutes, if feasible
  • Respect each other's suggestions, play nice and HAVE FUN!!
The Coordinator(s) will be there to assist on the night if there are any difficulties.