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The Polyphone Festival of New Musicals at the University of the Arts is now accepting applications for 2023

The Polyphone Festival of New Musicals is currently accepting submissions for its 2023 Festival Musicals. Submissions are due Friday, August 5, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. For more details, please visit

The Polyphone Festival of New Musicals is an internationally recognized festival for the development of new musical theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. For the past eight years, they have brought professional composers, librettists, directors, choreographers, designers, and music directors from the field to the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at UArts to work with student actors and creative teams on ongoing musicals.

The Polyphone process supports creators of new musicals with a paid opportunity to do their work, while providing more than 100 students with on-the-job training in the development of new musical theatres. They give adventurous new musicals the time and space to develop, free from the pressures of commercial interests, producing theaters or critics.

They have traditionally programmed 4 musicals each year, chosen from approximately 150 auditioning students and organized in a workshop over a 7 week process. The final presentations were off-book concert productions, staged with a small band and complete lighting and sound design. Their process allowed the creators to make changes throughout the rehearsal period and work their musical on its feet for the first time.

They define a musical as a performance in which music is the primary mode of storytelling. This can include ensemble, engineered, experimental, and/or lyrical works as well as more traditionally structured book musicals.

They are looking for complete original musicals in development with a cast of 7 or more named or significant characters. (A cast of 10 to 15 is ideal. Past cast sizes have ranged from 7 to 23 performers.) While adaptations are welcome, they favor either radical adaptations or original stories over more traditional stage adaptations. Authors must have proof of underlying rights for any adaptations based on existing works that are not in the public domain.

Polyphone is uniquely driven to program voices and stories that are traditionally underrepresented in the musical theater canon. They seek to deconstruct and destabilize the ways in which they develop new works. They recognize that they have used industry-standard structures that support white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, and they seek to actively use this moment to liberate us from these oppressive norms by reimagining and redefining the process of new musical development. If you find that the limitations of this application process do not provide adequate access for you, your voice, and your story to join us, please contact Artistic Director Maggie-Kate Coleman at [email protected]


1. Artistic costs.
2. (for non-Philadelphia performers) Lodging is provided during weekend rehearsals as well as during the technical/production process, and transportation reimbursement is provided.
3. Paid Professional Director, Music Director and Choreographer as required.
4. Student cast, band (3-5 musicians) and creative assistants.
5. Dramaturgical, logistical and technical support from the creative direction of the festival and the UArts community.


1. The musical must be in development and have a cast requiring 7 or more performers for musicals (a cast of 10-15 is ideal).
2. The musical must have a complete first draft (electronic copies only in PDF format, no handwritten scripts will be accepted) and must have been read at least once as part of a reading, workshop or a concert.
3. The musical must have a piano/vocal score, main scores or equivalent in time for encores in October.
4. The musicals’ writers, directors, and musical directors must be available for rehearsals in Philadelphia on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays beginning in February 2023, with technology and performances scheduled for early April 2023. A full production schedule will be available. provided at the time of acceptance. . For artists not based in Philadelphia, bus travel and lodging will be provided for weekend rehearsals, tech, and festival weeks. There is no accommodation for the entire rehearsal period.
5. Artists who will be enrolled as undergraduates in the spring semester of 2023 are not eligible, with the exception of UArts students.

Please note:

Polyphone is an educational and creative hybrid opportunity. Polyphone guest artists are invited to act as educators and performers during rehearsal time, under the guidance of the Artistic Director, Dean of the Brind School, and UArts faculty and staff.

Polyphone Festival performances use limited physical production, but full lighting and sound support using mostly handheld mics (wired and wireless). Groups are limited to 3 to 5 musicians. There is no projection or video support for Polyphone musicals.

Polyphonic directors and MDs will be selected taking into account the comments and needs of the authors of the Festival, but they cannot guarantee that they will accept the hiring of attached directors, musical directors or other creative personnel associated with the shows.


Complete the online application form available at

DUE FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 2022 11:59 p.m.
Authors may apply with no more than two musicals, each as part of a separate application.

If you experience any technical issues with the application form or process, please contact Associate Producer Lindsay Cram at [email protected]


Artistic Director Maggie-Kate Coleman will hold TWO Q&A sessions via Zoom before the application deadline:

THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2022 at 1 p.m. EST
MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. EST
Please complete the following Google form to register for the Q&A session of your choice. The reservation form is available at

About University of the Arts

The mission of the University of the Arts is simple: to advance human creativity. Founded in 1876, UArts believes that creativity is the most essential skill for success in today’s society and has nurtured generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers and creative leaders for 145 years.

After gaining university status in 1987, the University of the Arts has become the largest institution of its kind in the country, offering programs in design, fine arts, media arts, crafts, music, dance, theater and writing. . It now includes 22 undergraduate arts majors, 13 graduate programs, and the nation’s first creativity doctoral program. UArts is also home to innovative centers across disciplines, including the Center for Immersive Media, Lightbox Film Center, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery. Learn more about UArts at

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