May 4th, 2013 donnahoke


For an explanation of RIPP, Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project, click here.




“Right before I became Artistic Director, while I was Associate AD and also Literary Manager, I read a playwright submission, [Just A Kiss], which blew my socks off that had no agent representation.  I immediately contacted the playwright, Catherine Bush, who was thrilled. I told her I loved it and I explained to her that I was going to champion the play as strongly as I could to our AD who unfortunately wasn’t as thrilled with the work as I was, and chose not to include it that season’s line-up. But the AD ended up retiring and handing the reins over to me before the season began. So what did I end up doing? I swapped out a few shows and Catherine’s was one of the plays I chose to World Premiere at our theatre. It  ended up getting a superb production, stellar reviews, and ended up nominated and a finalist for the Steinberg Award!!


For this to have ever happened, I first needed to be interested in the work, which doesn’t happen if you don’t simply follow the rules of the theatre that asks you to submit your work; don’t add anything EXTRA. Before you send your work do your research on the theatre; make sure this is the theatre that will understand, appreciate, and can make it happen and you’ll save yourself time, money and heartache.


Sometimes assisting any way you can at a local theatre can yield a stronger relationship with the artistic team, opening up possibilities for collaboration. You need them/ they need you. But remember that just because one theatre loves one of your plays does not mean they’ll love them all.”


My nutshell takeaway: Follow the rules (you’re going to hear this one a lot). Do your homework. Start making connections locally. You may find a champion. I think it’s also important to note that it is all SO subjective—two guys in the same company didn’t agree on a script. But if you find out that one does, be sure to keep in touch. :)


Next post Tuesday. And, as always, if you have a theater to tell me about or a story to share, please email me at




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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