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VOTE: Dramatists Guild introduces #PLONY representation on Council

January 19th, 2017 donnahoke


Playwright friends who are members of The Dramatists Guild, this week–if you haven’t already–you’ll be receiving a ballot for this year’s Guild Council Elections. Currently, out of 65 Council members, all but two live in NYC, but that’s about to change. On this year’s ballot, for the first time, five seats on the Council will be reserved for regional representation, i.e. #PLONY (Playwrights Living Outside New York) will have a voice on the council.


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The country has been divided into five regions–New England and Abroad, Northeast, Southern, Northern, and California. You’ll only have candidates for your region on your ballot, but be sure, when voting, to scroll down to the bottom and read the bios and statements of your nominated regional representatives; you vote for one of these in addition to your regular Council votes. This is a huge step in the Guild’s continuing efforts to be a truly national organization. No matter your region, you’re sure to see names your recognize among those nominated for Regional Council, people who want #PLONY interests to be part of the regular agenda. Even if you’ve never voted for DG Council before, and especially if you didn’t vote because you didn’t think it mattered, this is the year it does.
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I am honored to be the sole nominee for the New England and Abroad region. If you live in this region, when you fill out your ballot, consider checking the box next to my name to show your support. If you live in another region, please read the statements carefully, and vote based on the issues that matter most to you. Most importantly, vote to show support for this important change in how playwrights will be viewed by our only professional organization.


I’ve shared my official bio and ballot statement below, so that you know what I’ve done so far, and what I would love to continue doing for the Guild.



Western New York regional representative and ensemble playwright-in-residence at Road Less Traveled Productions, Donna’s work has been seen in 40 states and on five continents. Plays include Brilliant Works of Art (2016 Kilroys List), The Couple Next Door (Princess Grace semi-finalist), Safe (winner Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and Seeds (Emanuel Friend Award, Outstanding New Play). Donna is also a New York Times-published crossword constructor; children’s author; founder of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories, and three-time Buffalo’s Best Writer as named by Artvoice—the only woman to receive the designation.


In addition to serving playwrights as Guild rep, Donna is moderator of the 10,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook, and blogger who introduced Trade A Play Tuesday, a feedback program in its fourth year; wrote Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project (RIPP), 52 interviews with theater decision-makers; #PLONY, interviews with Playwrights Living Outside New York; #365gratefulplaywright; as well as advocacy, issue, practical, and entertainment pieces. She’s a two-time Citywrights guest artist, former playwright-in-residence at Saginaw Valley State and Western Michigan Universities (Gwen Frostic), and 2017 Kenyon Playwrights fellow.



I’d barely typed “end of play” for the first time when I joined the Guild—it’s been there for me ever since. As I became a playwright, the drive to create community was as integral to that identity as writing. I started a blog so I could talk to other playwrights. I hosted local events. I became moderator of the Official Playwrights of Facebook. As I learned, I became an advocate and cemented the innate sense I’d always had and that the Guild fosters: we need to support, work for, and learn from each other. We are stronger together.


Becoming Guild rep meant more opportunity to serve playwrights. In my four-plus years representing Western New York, I initiated ticket comps and discounting; hosted/moderated events with Terrence McNally, Amy Herzog, and others; partnered with Burchfield Penney Art Center to host ten-minute, Burchfield-inspired plays; convened artistic directors interested in new work; hosted playwrights holiday potlucks and spring pizza updates; co-founded New York State Roving Readings series; served as chair of the Dramatists Guild Best Festival Practices Committee; increased playwright awareness and appreciation locally; and more. Now, I’d be honored to take the next logical step, and serve a larger region via a seat on the Council.


As a Playwright Living Outside New York (#PLONY) in an area without strong new play sector reach, I face the same challenges as any outlying member. As rep, my goal has been to empower playwrights to use and understand available resources to reach beyond their communities; geography is not an unsurmountable obstacle. On my blog, I wrote a series of ten interviews with successful #PLONY, then recapped the results for howlround. What I learned is you can have success wherever you live. What I’ve tried to do is show my members how. What I want is to expand that mission, and let you know that the Guild is here for you wherever you live.

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