Epigone (likethesun2) wrote in little_details,

Performance rights for plays currently/recently in original production

I'm doing research to write a story that takes place in Ontario, Canada, sometime in the late 1990s (1997 or later, but the timeline will depend partly on the answer to my question here!) I'm writing about a small professional theater company, and I'd like them to be able to put on a play--Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love, if that makes a difference--that premiered in London in October 1997. It played in two spaces at the Royal National Theatre: from October 1 to November 29, and then from December 20 to April 25 1998. Then it transferred to the Haymarket Theatre in the West End, where it ran from October 28 1998 to February 6 1999. And then it had its US premiere in 2000 at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater, where it ran from January to February, and it went to Broadway in 2001 (March through June).

What I need to know is, when would be the earliest a small professional Canadian theater company could obtain performance rights? From my research, it seems pretty clear that getting performance rights to a play currently in production in London (or on Broadway) is basically impossible, since the rights go off the market for that period--but if there are any exceptions to that rule, I'd love to hear them. Is is ever possible to get rights to a show while it's still in its original production in London? And if not, how soon after the London run ended could you get the rights--i.e., how quickly would they go back on the market? Could my theater company plausibly produce the play between the end of the London run in February 1999 and the beginning of the San Francisco run in January 2000?

My Internet research has mostly involved Googling combinations of terms like "plays" and "performance rights" and "original/London production"; I've also poked around several theaters' and university theater departments' FAQs about performing rights (e.g., see Durham Student Theatre, Harvard Theatre.)

ETA: Thanks for all the timely responses, guys! I think I've got what I needed; basically I was hoping not necessarily to get one hard-and-fast answer, but a sense of how plausible or implausible my scenario would be.
Tags: ~publishing & copyright

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