OMG — ACT Theatre in Seattle wants to see the full script of “How to Kill a Cactus”!!!

I sent a query for my play “How to Kill a Cactus” to ACT Theatre in Seattle. This is the play that used to be “Transplanted in Mississippi” and “Miss Hannah Comes Back” in previous incarnations. And sometimes just “the Mississippi play.”

Anyhow, I got my SASP back yesterday, and the literary manager wants to see the full script!!

How I Did It

I followed the process I’ve been working on for a while. I’ve got a list of everything I do on my Web site, at

I Made My Play As Good As I Could Make It

I worked on this play. I asked people I trusted for feedback. Directors and actors have been incredibly generous in coming to living room readings, reading the script, giving me feedback, letting me watch them work. If no one would produce a public reading when I needed one, I produced it myself.

Always, always, I made sure that I was telling a story that I am passionate about telling.

I Made Sure They Accept Submissions

I checked their Web site, and found that they accept queries from unrepresented playwrights in the Seattle area. Does it sound obvious to check this before you submit? It’s weird, though, not everybody does it.

I Made Sure It Was Right for Them

I’ve seen plays at ACT, so I have some idea of what they do. I looked at their production history, and if there was a play I wasn’t familiar with, I found out who published it and read the summary.

I Wrote a Cover Letter Explaining Why It’s Right for Them

I put a paragraph in my cover letter that explained how my play is like the plays they produce. I also explained why Seattle audiences would love it. Literary departments at theaters are almost always swamped with submissions. Anything you can do to make their job easier, they’ll appreciate. And what’s more, they’ll know you’re professional and serious, someone they’d want to work with.

I Sent Them Exactly What They Asked For

I checked their Web site. I sent them exactly what they asked for, no more, no less. Does this sound like an obvious thing to do? Based on the number of theaters who say explicitly what not to send them, I figure not everyone is careful about this.

Now Back to Screaming with Delight

OMG OMG the literary manager at ACT Theatre wants to see the full script of my play! This doesn’t mean they’ll produce it. It doesn’t mean they’ll even give it a reading. But it does mean that the literary manager thought well enough of the query I sent to think my script is worth seeing.

This is how you work your way towards getting productions. You make contacts. You submit carefully. You behave professionally. You are gracious. You send your best work.

It takes time. But meanwhile, yay!


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