The Playwrights Binge

September 12th, 2011 donnahoke

It’s September, which means it’s time for another biannual Playwrights Binge. The goal? Submit at least one play a day for the entire month. The beautiful thing about this is that during this time, Bingers share opportunities that they come across with the entire list. There are no worries about increasing competition or keeping all knowledge close to the vest; it’s all in a spirit of increasing our odds and success as playwrights—as a whole, not as individuals.

Not every opportunity is right for everyone. I don’t have any Christmas or Halloween plays—yet—and I’m not ready to print copies of SEEDS for submission until it goes through its reading and even more revisions. I also submit pretty regularly so many of the opportunities that have arisen I’ve already submitted to or passed on. Still, I’ve done 26 so far and we’ve not even halfway through the month.

So if you’re a playwright reading this, it’s time for self-assessment:Are you submitting? And if not, why not? I once had a friend tell me the difference between a playwright who is produced and one who is not is that the former sends out her work. Yes, the odds are tough. Yes, you’ll send out a hundred submissions and be happy if you get one hit. But how many hits will you get if your work never leaves your computer? Aside from it being the only way you will ever see your work produced, there is something hopeful about knowing your work is out there—being read, being thought about, perhaps being discussed—and that at any moment, you could get a phone call or an email saying that it’s been chosen for a production. But it’s that old slogan: You can’t win if you don’t enter. 

So if you’re still getting your play ready for submission, here’s a plug for my free online play workshop/feedback circle: If you haven’t sent me an email to get your name on the Workshop list, do it! The time you give is on your own schedule, it’s totally free, and being a part of it means that when you have a play that needs some feedback, you can get it without begging friends and family (who are never going to be honest with you anyway). Go to my Playwright page and click on the link and I’ll send you the guidelines. The more playwrights involved, the better it works. I’ll be watching for your email.

Written by donnahoke


Dramatists Guild Council member and ensemble playwright-in-residence at Road Less Traveled Productions, Kilroys List and award-winning playwright Donna Hoke’s work has been seen in 46 states, and on five continents. Her full-length plays include ELEVATOR GIRL (2017 O’Neill finalist), THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Princess Grace semi-finalist, currently in its fourth year in rep in Romania), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List, Winner HRC Showcase, Firehouse Festival of New American Plays); she’s also authored more than three dozen short plays that have had hundreds of productions, and has been nominated for both the Francesca Primus and Susan Blackburn prizes. She’s also a two-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Best New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS).

Donna is also a New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children’s book; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. For three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo’s Best Writer by Artvoice, the only woman to ever receive the designation.

In addition, Donna is a blogger, advocate, and moderator of the 12,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook. Recent speaking engagements include Citywrights, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild National Conference, Chicago Dramatists, Austin Film Festival, and a live Dramatists Guild webinar. Her commentary has been read at #2amt, howlround, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, the newly released Workshopping the New Play, and

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