One of RAFTA’s methods of improving theatre in the RAF is to run, every 2 years, what we call a ‘Project’. There are 3 key ways, conceptually, in which Project acts to improve theatre in the RAF.
- First, Project productions are always put on in professional ‘receiving’ theatres (eg theatres that receive visiting professional and amateur companies). The rationale behind this is to give RAFTA members with an experience akin to a professional touring theatre company; the Project Company must plan to get into a strange venue, build their set and technical solution, put on a week’s run of a show and get out again. For the Project week, the Company acts to all intents and purposes as a professional company.
- Second, Project productions should represent a challenge to RAFTA, the idea being that growth (and hence improvement) can only be achieved by challenging and stretching the Association. There is no hard and fast definition of what is meant by challenge, though one yardstick often used is that a RAFTA Project should be something that would be beyond the capability of any individual RAFTA club to produce at that point in time (any servicemen reading this might see similarities with the AP3000 4th edition definition of control of the air…). So, a RAFTA club may at one point put on a production of Cats. This would not rule out Cats being chosen as a Project, especially if no individual club could muster the cast to perform Cats at that point in time. If a number of clubs could feasibly perform Cats, this would still not rule it out as a challenge, as the scope and artistic vision of the Project production could be on a grander scale (there is, after all, more than one way to skin Cats). Other assessments of what constitutes a challenge include the company learning a range of new skills/techniques, the use of particularly difficult/engaging/emotionally involved texts, productions with specific technical difficulties etc.
- Third, Project productions bring together RAFTA members from across the Association, providing members with a unique opportunity to act with people from outside their own theatre clubs. This is a great vehicle for improving theatre, as members get to share their theatrical skills and ideas with a people they might otherwise not work with and thereby all benefit from the sharing. One can also meet friends for life! Whilst there is no reason why a Project could not be a two-hander play, the concept of bringing together many RAFTA members to share in a Project experience (and therefore share their skills) means that Projects tend to be selected that need reasonably large casts and/or crews.
Every 2 years, the RAFTA Committee invites RAFTA members to submit proposals for productions they would like to put on as a Project. At that point, the Project selection process begins! The key aspects the Committee look for in any proposal are artistic vision and a description of the challenge that the production would represent. The final choice of Project also depends on an assessment of RAFTA’s ability to produce each proposal, including a financial assessment. Whilst RAFTA does not aim to make a profit from its Projects, it also does not aim to make a loss! Historical experience from a number of Projects shows that generally Projects cost the Association money. Effectively, this is the price of seeking theatrical improvement!
From this page, you can open a document that shows a Generic Timetable and Guidance for Project Selection. You can also see the calling notice and selection timeline for the next Project, as well as details of previous Projects.