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April 22, 2011 by jimi

Drama Slam

is a literature competition format for playwrights
and those who want to become it.

In short
Authors write short plays!
Actors read prima vista! (cold reading)
Audience decides! (about the best play)

The first Drama Slam took place on the 12th November 2007 in the Ensemble Theater in Vienna and has until now already been played in the Russian St/A/R Theatre in Berlin/Germany, in cooperation with Farce Vivendi in Russian language St.Petersburg/Russia, in cooperation with Gli Ammutinati in Triest/Italy and in cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Forum Bosnia in Sarajevo in the laganuages of each country. Further Drama Slams have been played in St.Pölten, Bregenz and Graz so far.
It is based upon the meanwhile worldwide known format of Poetry Slam, and extended with the tools of dramatic arts and improvisation.

Procedure for the one-evening show:

Preparatory Work:

Authors send in their texts to a certain date, at least two weeks before the slam. The texts will be preselected by a jury, and edited and copied for the actors.
The text should be dialogical and dramatic and should be able to unfold its quality in less then 10 minutes when read.

The organization chooses 7 texts to be performed during the evening competition. (We’ve had 5 to 13 texts already, but 7 turned out to be the most reasonable number concerning audience alertness.)

The playwrights must be informed, and declare if they have the chance to be personally present on the Drama Slam or if they can send a substitute for the stage directions.

If not choose the next writer on your list.


The show is best put on a common theatre stage with separated space for the actors and for the audience. It can be a conventional picture stage as well as an arena.

The stage is best set as a neutral living room, with a couch or other comfortable places to sit, a table with drinks, little snacks for the actors and free space for the imagination of both audience and performers.

The actors-basic-kit consists of four, two female & two male, actors, which should differ from each other in appearance.

The Show:

A moderator, who is familiar with the content of the plays performed, greets the audience and explains the rules.

An assistant to the moderator is required, who is responsible for taking the time and running a display, which is visible for everybody and will display the names of the authors, their texts and short descriptions of the showed content.

The Texts are mixed and put face down on the stage.

They will be chosen randomly by members of the audience one after the other during the show for no author has more or less preparation time.

Every writer, has up to three minutes time to assign the parts and to introduce the audience and the players to the set up of his text. He or she is allowed to bring their own props and costume parts. (Be aware that the players still need to hold the text in one hand) The writer also decides, if the stage directions are read out loud or just fulfilled silently. The writer doesn’t take part in the play.

After two minutes the author has to leave the stage, and the actors have 10 minutes time to perform the text while they have it in their hands for the first time. (prima vista reading also known as cold reading)
The actors stick to their roles in the script and if possible follow the stage-directions.
They’re free to ask the writers questions if something is unclear but they must not judge the plays while performing.

During the performance the author has the possibility to make 1 minute Time-Out, to make amendments in the stage directions, change roles, jumps in the text or whatever she/he wants.

After 10 minutes the performance will be stopped.
The moderator, his assistant and the audience discuss the play and mark words for better recognition, when it comes to the decision.

The Voting:
Every single spectator including the authors gets 3 coloured cards whith his ticket. The green is worth 3 points, the blue 2 points and the red 1 point. After all seven plays voting ballots are placed on the stage and everybody in the audience has to enter the stage to vote for his or her 3 favorite plays. When everybody made his/her vote the actors count and compute and the results are announced. This takes some time (10-15 minutes), but we consider that democracy deserves this time.

Drama Slam is considered to be an open source format and could and should be played all over the world in any language. Organisers shouldn’t miss to mention the source code, and Jimi Lend would be happy to be invited to each first slam in a new country…


NeXt tIMe

29th of January 2022
Hangar Teatri Trieste