Writing Cover Letters
Get your plays noticed with good cover letters.
Ashley Bagwell as Richard, Karen Gruber Ryan as Delilah, and Heather Ward as Cathy in a reading of "How to Kill a Cactus" (as "Transplanted in Mississippi"), November 2011.
Here's what Vance Smith, the artistic director of
Stage Left Theatre in Chicago, told Playwright's Muse about the benefit of cover letters:
If your submission is accompanied by a thoughtful cover letter that tells me why your play is a Stage Left play,
that's going to get my attention. Because I'm looking for something I can use.
You can find more of what he told us in our audio interviews.
What Goes in a Good Cover Letter
This is from a blog post by a literary manager that we found a while back. Do you recognize this? We want to
give credit where it's due. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First paragraph of the cover letter: essential info
The essential info about your play:
Second paragraph: why produce the play
- type of play
- running time
- number of intermissions (if any)
- cast requirements
- set requirements
- costume requirements
- tech requirements
A short, introductory synopsis, with some information about why the play is timely and worth producing.
Third: why their audiences will love it
Why their audiences, in particular, would love your play. Here are some strategies for finding theaters that will love your play, from our
Getting my play produced #2: theaters who will love it
Getting my play produced, #3: being a detective
Fourth: a little about you
Where you've had productions, your education and training, what you write about.
Fifth: what you're sending them
List everything they say they want; show that you're paying attention.
Sixth: contact info
Phone number, e-mail address, anything else that's convenient for them to use if they want to get in touch with you.
Length of a Cover Letter
Keep your cover letter to just one page. Literary departments are swamped with submissions. Make their jobs a little easier and they will appreciate you.