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24 hour play FAQs

24 hours to conceive, write, rehearse and perform short new plays led by professionals. A thrilling theatrical experience!

What happens?

We will meet online on Zoom at 7pm on Friday 1st September where we will be put into groups comprising of a writer, a director and some actors.


After getting to know our group a little, we will come back together where a play title and first (or last) line

will be chosen at random. We will return to our groups to discuss ideas.

Following our online meeting, the writers will already be at home and in the perfect place to write a 10-minute play using the chosen title and first (or last) line. They have the evening (and overnight if necessary!) to complete their script before emailing it to their group.

At 10am on Saturday 2nd September directors and actors will meet at The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury for coffee and pastries. Groups will have all day to rehearse their plays before performing them to an audience at 7pm.

Where do the titles/first (or last) lines come from?

You! When you register to take part, you will be asked for suggestions. These will be placed on our digital ‘wheel of fortune’ and one of each will be chosen at random.


Does every group use the same title/first (or last) line?

Yes! All the writers use the same title and first (or last) line as a starting point, however, how you interpret them and where the piece goes from there is entirely up to you.


Is there a deadline?

Writers must email the 10-minute script to the rest of their group (please cc: so we have copies) by 8am on Saturday 2nd September.

Will we receive copies of our script?

We encourage directors and actors to use digital versions of their scripts where possible – on a phone or

tablet – to save paper usage. OTM cannot accept responsibility for your electronic devices. You are welcome to print your own copy if you prefer. If neither of these options are available to you, please inform a member of the OTM events team on Friday night and we will have a copy printed for you.


Can writers join the rehearsals?

Of course! Writers are welcome to join their groups at any point during rehearsals though they may need a later start if they’ve had a particularly late night. Writers are encouraged to watch the performance in the evening to see their work come to life.


Who will I be working with?

We are hoping for at least three actors per group. Directors are encouraged to lead their group in some ‘getting to know you’ conversations/exercises during their first meeting online on Friday evening. This year we will be inviting some young theatre makers from Cherwell Theatre Company to participate. We will try to ensure groups have a mix of age/gender.


Where will we be rehearsing?

Each group will have a designated rehearsal room at The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury from 10am-7pm on Saturday 2nd September. We encourage directors to schedule frequent breaks for your cast. The 24-Hour Play experience is demanding! Please bring your own food/water to keep you going throughout the day. Alternatively, snacks and refreshments can be purchased from the café bar at The Mill or from nearby Castle Quay Shopping Centre.

How do I get to the venue?

The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury is easy to reach by car, bus or train. For more information, please see their website:


If you need help with transport or are willing to car share, you will be asked about this when you register for the 24-Hour Plays. OTM will endeavour to connect you with others travelling from your area in the hope of cutting costs and environmental impact.

What about technical rehearsals?

Each group will have an hour of rehearsal in the theatre with a technician from 1pm on Saturday. You will be notified of your time slot on Saturday morning. You may use the existing lighting as you wish.

Can we use set/props/costumes?

Set – this will be limited to one table and two chairs if you wish to use them.

Props/Costume – all participants are encouraged to suggest one prop or costume item (nothing fragile or valuable in any way please as OTM cannot be held responsible for participants’ personal property). We will share suggested items during the online session on Friday night. Writers may incorporate any/all of these into the piece as they wish.

Do we have to learn our lines?

This is entirely up to the group. Some actors prefer to be off book and some pieces lend themselves to this. However, we appreciate that rehearsal time is SHORT! We would much rather see you on onstage confidently sharing your talents with a script in your hand than worrying about lines!

What happens during the performance?

Each group will share their 10-minute play and then the writer and director will be invited to join the cast on stage for a short Q&A session. This will be your chance to share your thoughts about the experience and explain how you created a brand-new piece of theatre from nothing in just 24 hours.

Who will be in the audience?

The performances will be open to the general public and tickets can be purchased for £12 from The Mill Arts Centre. It would be great if all participants could encourage friends and family to come and support them! A 24-Hour Play is not for the faint hearted and an enthusiastic audience cheering you on makes all the difference!


Do I have to be a full OTM member to participate?

No! The 24-Hour Plays are open to all who are interested. It’s a great way to meet new people and challenge yourself creatively. Amazing working relationships have been forged at previous 24-Hour Play events and wonderful work has been seeded. Where will your experience lead you?

Great! How do I sign up?

Fill in our online form to register:

You will then be asked for a participation fee of £6. Welcome to the 24-Hour Plays! We hope you have an amazing experience!


What is the participation fee for?

OTM is a networking group for professional theatre makers run entirely by volunteers. We are not a registered charity and run solely on the annual subscriptions from our members. The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury have given us a fantastically generous deal in hiring their beautiful venue for Saturday 2nd September, however, the venue, staff and theatre technician need to be paid which is why we are asking for a participation fee of £6 and encouraging everyone to bring in an audience. Ticket sales support the venue. Any excess funds will go toward hiring venues for future events.

What if I still have questions?

If you’re unsure or have any questions, please ask the OTM events team at:

We would love you to join us for this unique and exciting theatrical adventure!

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