August 9th, 2013 donnahoke


If you don’t know what RIPP: Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project, please click here to get some context before reading. I have a feeling not everyone is doing this, as I keep getting emails from playwrights wanting to send me their plays or asking how to get produced which, again, is not the point of RIPP.




The Tallest Building in the World by Matt Schatz was an open submission that we world premiered in 2011. Although Luna often develops work for our stages (The Whipping Man, The Dangers of Electric Lighting, etc.), over the years, we’ve also produced many new plays without any development. We read the script and said, “Yes! This play is for us.” Usually, these plays came referred to us by someone who knew us and our taste, or from a playwright who had seen a colleague’s work performed at Luna. But in all cases, there was some familiarity with the type of work we tend to produce. It wasn’t random.  


“My advice to playwrights is to make every effort to see the work of a theater before submitting one’s own plays. First off, you want to be sure you respect the work and secondly, you want to assess whether or not your work is a good aesthetic match for the theater. Don’t submit blindly. Try to find a theater that speaks to you, excites you, and inspires you. There are so many wonderful theaters doing new work now, and the choices of style, content, and tone vary greatly. I know geography and logistics can prove challenging, but make every effort to find your match.


I hope this is helpful.  I remain in awe of playwrights.  You amaze and inspire me.”


My nutshell takeaway: Difficult as it may be, due diligence for researching a theater—at its best—involves actually seeing productions there. It can be difficult to assess a theater’s aesthetic from a website and a vaguely worded mission statement. For those of us who live outside major theatrical cities, I know this is a challenge. It certainly is for me. It would be wonderful if there were some kind of model that would allow theaters and playwrights to get to know each other beyond the standard, and clearly very broken, submission system. But since there isn’t—and since the sheer number of playwrights in existence would make any system far less than perfect—I’m open to any suggestions, In the meantime, I think any time we travel for any reason, part of the itinerary should be taking in a play at a theater you’d like to get to know. If there are other ways to foster these connections, please share.


Until next time,



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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