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14/48, the self-described “world’s quickest theater festival,” is a speed theatre festival that takes place semiannually in Seattle, Washington. The name of the festival derives from the unique format of creating and presenting 14 world-premiere short plays over the course of two days, or 48 hours.


The festival was founded in 1997 by playwright Michael Neff and actor Jodi-Paul Wooster. Since its inception, the festival has commissioned and presented the world premieres of over 500 original short plays. In 2008, the festival was awarded the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award. The festival has been produced (by veterans of the Seattle festival) in Wolverhampton, England, in Islamabad, Pakistan, in Tel Aviv, in Austin, Texas and in numerous venues in Seattle, as well as spawning a new UK branch of the festival in 2013. For many years, the festival was housed at (and co-produced by) the Consolidated Works contemporary arts center. Following the center’s closing in 2006, the festival moved to the Capitol Hill Arts Center, until that center’s closing in 2008. Currently, the festival is presented at ACT Theater and the Center House Theater at Seattle Center.


The process has remained largely unchanged since its creation in 1997. The weekend begins on a Thursday evening with a private meeting of the participants. The playwrights, directors, actors, musicians, designers, and producers all write ideas for themes for the following night’s plays on pieces of paper. One theme is (literally) pulled out of a hat, and the seven playwrights turn to the task of writing a 10-minute play each on the randomly drawn theme.

Early the following morning, the seven playwrights submit their plays and in randomly assembled teams (again, drawn from a hat) the seven teams have 10 hours to rehearse, score, design, build, and then present those seven plays. The audience for that first evening of plays then submits ideas for themes for the following night’s plays, and at the end of the evening one of these themes is drawn from a hat. The seven playwrights again turn to writing, and the process repeats (in new, randomly assembled teams) for a second day.


Since 2013 the festival has spawned a UK branch based in Leicester, England. 14/48 UK oversees the production of regular festivals in Leicester at The Y Theatre and Wolverhampton at The Arena Theatre. 14/48 came to London for the first time on 7 August 2015.[1]


Past participants in the festival include Dan Savage, Eddie Levi-Lee, Matthew Richter, Juniper Shuey, Sarah Rudinoff, Craig Lucas, Jodi-Paul Wooster, Dennis Wilken, Sean Nelson, Shawn Belyea, and Megan Ahiers


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