“The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life. “
– Oscar Wilde
From little things big things do indeed grow and this certainly rings true for the infamous Short+Sweet Festival.
Founded in 2002 by Mark Cleary, what began as a small theatre festival of 10 minute plays in Sydney, Australia has now extended to multiple performance mediums spanning the globe from Australia’s favourite cities to India, Malaysia, New Zealand and now LA.
Short + Sweet is notorious among the Australian theatre scene, giving an infinite amount of Actors, Playwrights and Directors opportunities to present their original works and showcase their talents to jam packed audiences every summer in Sydney, followed by various locations throughout the year. This unique festival is now a brand in its own right opening doors for numerous thespians, with many travelling internationally to present their award winning plays.
Recently things just got a little sweeter for the world’s biggest little short play festival with the announcement of a Hollywood launch later this year.
Aussies are thriving in the City of Angels and there is no greater Short + Sweet enthusiast to bring Australia’s own theatrical gem to life stateside then the newly appointed Hollywood Festival Director Scott Grimley.
How did you first become involved with the festival?
My first involvement with Short and Sweet goes back over 10 years as an Actor in a play I’d written. I’d formed a group called “Actor’s Anonymous” with Nick Bolton and Stephen Carnell and it was our first production. The play was called “Turnabout” and we also made a Short Film based on the play. Since then I have been involved many times in the Sydney Festival as an Actor, Writer and Director.
Short + Sweet has created many opportunities for Australian thespians. What opportunities will be available to not only Australian but global talent in LA?
In LA it is very important to be seen. We will not only be showcasing Actors, but also Writers and Directors. Apart from Casting Agents who always attend our festivals, we may see Producers and other Film-makers scouting talent at the shows. The Australian network in LA is pretty tight and we will see them well represented in Short and Sweet Hollywood but I’m keen to have a lot of locals involved since the main content will be from American Writers. I believe short plays are an ideal jumping point into film. Like I did with my first production, many people have made Short Films based on a Short and Sweet play.
The festivals mission is to create theatre going audiences around the world. LA is predominately a film based industry – will this change the way the festival is executed in Hollywood?
I think the crossover from Theatre to Film and vice versa is easier than people think. I don’t believe that it will change the way the Festival is executed but it may change the way that it is viewed. Casting Directors in LA are keen to attend these types of shows. It gives them a chance to see the talent up close and several actors at a time. Keep in mind, auditions are still mainly done in person and CD’s prefer that. I also think general audiences will appreciate the thrill live theatre can give!
Why LA and why now?
We now have Short and Sweet Festivals all over Asia and quickly expanding. The US and Europe are obvious next steps. It’s a proven program and with all the creative talent located in Los Angeles the challenge will be: What play to choose? Which actors to cast? When I began my move to LA I approached Mark Cleary and suggested they should expand there – he replied with “Great idea! You should be the one to do it.” It was clear that he’d already had those same thoughts. And now here we are…
Short + Sweet has three aims to develop craft, showcase talent and to create excellence. Given that Hollywood is the creme de la creme of the industry how will this shape the festival in LA?
I expect a very high standard in the work presented in the Short and Sweet Hollywood Festival. For a start, we already have hundreds of US Writers contributing to our Australian Festivals. I’ve been in contact with many of them and they are very excited to be a part of the first US Short and Sweet Festival. Apart from the obvious “Showcase” opportunity, it is a chance for actors to strut their stuff on a live stage and get immediate feedback from an audience. Some actors have never done that. They have appeared in films or performed in classes but some have never been exposed to someone in the first row completely losing it with laughter! In the case of very funny plays, we allow them to stretch beyond 10 minutes as sometimes the actors have to wait to deliver their next lines. It has happened!
For more information or to get involved in the Short + Sweet festival head tohttp://www.shortandsweet.org