Gi60: The International One Minute Theatre Festival
Gi60 is an all volunteer organization dedicated to the creation and support of one minute plays to provide opportunities for playwrights and theatre artists from the international community, and to increase access to live theatre through multiple platforms. Gi60 is committed to supporting diverse voices from around the world, and the short time frame of the one minute play allows us to present a greater number of stories.
Why One Minute Plays?
The one minute play is the theatrical equivalent of a classic Rock’n’Roll 45. It makes its point quickly, it’s irreverent, it comes in many flavours, it doesn’t always follow the rules and most importantly it’s got something for everybody. The history of popular music and the pop charts is filled with humour, pathos, love, politics, novelty, one hit wonders and of course legendary talents. The melting pot of creativity, diversity and freedom that typifies the pop charts can also be seen in a one minute theatre festival.
Each year it’s as if we take the global pulse to see what is guiding our universal heart and conscience. The collection of stories connects the artists and the audience to the Big Questions – and potential solutions – on everyone’s mind. There is a clear sense of a zeitgeist – that is, what is the mood, intellectual and cultural climate, collective consciousness, or spirit of this moment in this time. And, because every year the plays are new, they express that zeitgeist in an immediate and present way.
And that is one of the advantages of the one minute play. It’s nimble enough to express multiple heartfelt moments of life that unfold into the unique experience of a collage of plays. The smaller time frame allows you to present a larger collection of those moments and stories, so you have a greater chance of reaching everyone in an audience.
“A full length play introduces you to a world. An evening of one minute plays introduces you to a universe of worlds.”
- David Storck, director and playwright
A One Minute History of Gi60:
Gi60 was created by Steve Ansell, artistic director of Screaming Media Productions in 2003. He was curating a writing festival at Harrogate Theatre, UK, and looking for ways to offer more opportunity for writers to have their work staged. The idea of staging a one minute play festival was actually thanks to Christopher Durang and his anthology 27 Short Plays which contains a play titled “One Minute Play”; his play actually lasts over two minutes. This was why the first Gi60 was actually a two minute play festival called 120 Seconds presented as part of the 2003 Harrogate Theatre Write On Festival. 120 Seconds was a huge success with both writers and audiences, and so in 2004, the first Gi60 was presented. Ninety one minute plays were performed in two separate shows, and once again it was a huge success, with extra performances hastily arranged to accommodate audiences.
It had become clear that a single show with fewer plays would be more manageable, however, a reduction in the number of shows would have meant less opportunities for writers. With this in mind, and inspired by his own phones ability to shoot one minute of video (in 2004!), Steve approached long time colleague and fellow director Rose Burnett Bonczek at Brooklyn College to see if she would host a One Minute Theatre Festival in New York under the Gi60 name, and film the event. The plan was to each present 50 one minute plays, record them and then upload to a website for viewing and download by writers, friends, family and the public. In 2005, Gi60 International was born, and both UK and US festivals were a massive success. A site was created to upload and view the videos of the plays, beating the official launch of You Tube by five months!
Over the years Gi60 has undergone a number of changes. The UK festival moved from the Harrogate Theatre to the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax and now has its home at stage@leeds, at Leeds University. The US festival left its home of 15 years at Brooklyn College, and will now present at The Tank Theatre in Manhattan. In 2008 we moved the Gi60 Video Archive to You Tube and the Gi60 channel has received over 150,000 hits. And in 2017 Steve and Rose published One Minute Plays: A Practical Guide to Tiny Theatre with Routledge Press.
Gi60 is always evolving, however, the key elements that make Gi60 so distinctive, successful and emulated remain the same.
- Gi60 is open to everyone
- Gi60 is free to enter and there is no fee for participating
- All Gi60 participants and supporters give their time voluntarily
- All plays are recorded and made available on line
- Copyright remains with the author
- Plays can be about any subject
We are extremely proud of the Gi60 format and the creative, global community of writers, performers and artists that has grown up around the event. The increase in one minute play festivals from professional to educational theatre in recent years is fantastic, and further proof of the popularity – and durability - of the one minute form.