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 40 states, and on five continents. Her full-length plays include THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Princess Grace semi-finalist, currently in its third year in rep in Romania), SEEDS (Artie award winner for Outstanding New Play), FLOWERS IN THE DESERT (AACT top 20 finalist), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney National Playwriting Contest, Naatak National Playwriting Contest, and the 2015 Great Gay Play and Musical Contest), and BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List, Winner HRC Showcase, Firehouse Festival of New American Plays, top ten Woodward/Newman finalist); she’s also authored more than two dozen short plays that have had hundreds of productions. 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.

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