donna hoke

Sandy Asher


"If your play seeks to unify complex ideas and uncomfortable questions in story form and with heart—realistic or not, linear or not—I’m well-suited. If it involves patrons lying on cots while performers whisper in their ears, I’m probably not. If it’s a comedy that asks nothing more than “is this funny?” I’m probably not. If you’ve written a play about a historic figure, and it’s more about her timeline of accomplishments than what they won or lost for her, I’m probably not. I favor character over plot, psychic journey over grand adventure, and moving moments over melodrama.

That said, I’m analytical, good at seeing the big picture, the holes, the connections, and identifying what a play needs to make it cohere and capture attention. I believe in playwrights walking away from our work with an understanding of these concepts as they apply to their plays, as well as a clear plan for revision. To that end, I provide thorough page-by-page notes; playwrights I've worked with like this approach, because the notes serve almost as a blueprint for revision because they highlight the roots of a problem or questions, which makes them easier to address. Conversely, if they see an interpretation that is not their intention, they know where it came from. Always, the goal is to let the play honor the writer's intent."

Interests: multi-layered themes/narratives, adaptations, sexuality and gender politics, the power and pain of human nature, big ideas

In the nine years since her first production, DONNA HOKE has had 14 full-length plays produced, most more than once, and also enjoyed hundreds of short play productions. Her work has been seen in 47 states and on five continents, including at Barrington Stage, Barrow Group, Celebration Theatre, Gulfshore Theatre, Queens Theatre, The Road, Writers Theatre New Jersey, Phoenix Theatre, Atlantic Stage, Purple Rose, Skylight, Pride Films and Plays, New Jersey Rep, Hens and Chickens (London), The Galway Fringe Festival, and Actors Repertory Theatre of Luxembourg. Plays include BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (Kilroys List), ELEVATOR GIRL (O’Neill and Princess Grace finalist), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and TEACH (Gulfshore New Works, Guilford Technical Community College New Works winner). She has been nominated for the Primus, Blackburn, and Laura Pels prizes, and is a three-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS, ONCE IN MY LIFETIME). She has also received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop HEARTS OF STONE, and, in its final three years, Artvoice named her Buffalo's Best Writer—the only woman to ever receive the designation.

Donna also serves on the Dramatists Guild Council, is an ensemble playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions, blogger, moderator of the 12,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook, 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. Speaking engagements include Citywrights, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild National Conference, Chicago Dramatists, the Austin Film Festival, and a live Dramatists Guild webinar. Her commentary has been seen on #2amt, howlround, The Dramatist, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, Workshopping the New Play (Applause, 2017).