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Lantern Light Tours

Join us in 2014 for the 35th anniversary of this New England holiday tradition!

Step back in time to Christmas Eve, 1876 and meet the residents of the quaint village of Greenmanville. Both young and old will enjoy seasonal delights that include a traditional tavern dance, a horse-drawn carriage ride, and the beautiful glow of hundreds of lanterns that light the way. Surprises await you as you share the joys and celebrations of a traditional Victorian Christmas–perhaps St. Nicholas will even visit!

This 70-minute moving performance tour meanders through the Museum’s 19th-century maritime village. The route covers approximately 1/2 mile of uneven terrain, including cobblestone, wood planking, grass, gravel, and stairs. The audience will walk or stand for the entire production and are advised to wear appropriate footwear and dress for the weather. Visitors are asked to indicate the need for a handicap-accessible tour at the time of reservation. The event is appropriate for all ages, though not recommended for children under the age of four.

Call for Playwrights for the 2014 Season

Mystic Seaport is commissioning a playwright for the 2014 season of Lantern Light Tours. We are seeking a playwright that will bring a unique and exciting voice to this long-running production while still maintaining the traditional format. Submissions should include a script concept, a script outline, and a writing sample. Submissions are due April 18, 2014.

The chosen playwright must be available for 3-4 meetings with the production staff in Mystic, CT. The final draft of the play will be due August 22, 2014. Because of the progressive nature of Lantern Light Tours, the chosen script may be edited for timing throughout the rehearsal process..

Submission Materials:

1. Script Concept: Concepts should describe the proposed plot in one paragraph. Please be clear and concise. All scripts must be appropriate for a family audience. Mystery elements are acceptable, but not required. Comedy is encouraged. 250-word maximum.

2. Script Outline: Outlines should list specific details for each of the five scenes of the script. Please include plot developments, number of characters, and scene locations.

3. Writing Sample: Samples should demonstrate strength of dialogue, character, and facility with language. Scripts and screenplays are preferred. 1,500- 2,000 word maximum. Please do not send full-length scripts. Comedy is encouraged. Historically appropriate language may be used, but is not required.

Background:

Lantern Light Tours is a 70-minute progressive or travelling play, set in the year 1876 on Christmas Eve night. The play unfolds through five 8-minute scenes that take place in different exhibit spaces located around the Museum grounds. The audience travels the route of the play with the assistance of a Tour Guide who performs as a unique persona from the era. As they travel between scenes, the Tour Guide provides entertainment and historic information through first-person story-telling. This season will be the 35th annual performance of Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport. The production runs for 10 performance nights with up to 40 tours per night. The audience averages a total of 5,000-7,000 people annually.

Script Requirements:

  • The play must contain a total of 13-15 characters. Each character may only appear in one scene. Characters may be any age or gender you wish, but one character must represent Santa Claus in a literal or figurative way. If represented figuratively, the Santa Claus character should be easily discernable to a child.
  • In addition to the 13-15 characters, the play must also include a Tour Guide. For performances, there will be 14 different Tour Guides. Please consider the Tour Guide an interchangeable character of varying age, gender, and social status that may or may not be an active character in the storyline. You may utilize the Tour Guide as much or as little as you wish in your script.
  • The play must contain a total of five scenes. Four scenes may be set in different locations of your choice, but the fifth scene must be located onboard a whaling ship that is in port. Each location should be historically appropriate for a small community in the year 1876. Location options include, but are not limited to: a General Store or place of business, a Cooperage or craftsman’s workshop, the home of a middle class family, a Tavern or social meeting place, and a Meeting House or place of worship.
  • Lantern Light Tours is set in the year 1876. All plot points and dialogue should be appropriate to that era but also accessible to a modern audience. Because Santa Claus may be a literal character, magic is an acceptable plot device. Please note that, although set in a specific moment of history, Lantern Light Tours is an entertainment piece and not a historic reenactment.
  • Lantern Light Tours has traditionally included five elements: a carriage ride, a traditional tavern dance, a fresh-baked ginger cookie, a scene on a historic vessel, and an appearance by Santa Claus. Script outlines may include all of these five elements but are not required to. Please note that the chosen script will be edited to include these five elements for the final draft.

Production Time-Line:

  • April 18, 2014: Playwright submission deadline- all materials must be received by 11:59 p.m.
  • April 25, 2014: Playwright selected
  • May 2, 2014: First production meeting
  • July 11, 2014: First Draft deadline and second production meeting
  • August 22, 2014: Final Draft deadline
  • October 14, 2014: Third production meeting and first rehearsal with the cast
  • November 24, 2014: Dress Rehearsal (optional)
  • November 29, 2014: Opening Night (optional)

Rights:

The selected playwright will be required to sign an agreement with Mystic Seaport in which the playwright agrees, among other things, that Mystic Seaport will own all rights in all works the playwright creates for the Lantern Light Tours.

How to Apply:

Please send all submission materials to denise.cannella@mysticseaport.org. Files should be labeled in the following format: LLT2014_concept/outline/sample_your initials. Please be sure to include all materials in your submission. If unable to send materials electronically, submissions may also be mailed to the following address:

Interpretation- Denise Cannella
Mystic Seaport
75 Greenmanville Ave.
Mystic, CT 06355

All submissions must be received by April 18, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. The fee for this commission is set at $1,000. Mystic Seaport has no obligation to return (or retain) any materials submitted.

If you have questions regarding this commission, please contact: Denise Cannella, Supervisor of Museum Theatre at Mystic Seaport, 860.572.0711, ext. 5075.