Thanks for mentioning the SASE. I don't send SASEs for script return. It costs more to return it than to printa new one -- and often they are never returned. I have a line at the bottom of my letter that says "Please recylce this script."
I only send #10 envelope SASEs when requested by the theater for their response. Most theaters respond via e-mail anyway... or if you're accepted they phone you.
Edd, I also believe less is more. I like your letter very much. My synopsis is so brief that it's really more of a tag line. For example, MORGANA'S HEART. Winner Theatre on the Ridge/ California Arts Council competition. Morgana got a new heart from Gabriel. Now she can't get him out of her life.
I then go on to mention where my work has been produced. Next I list any awards and last, the names of theater companies that have produced my plays so far this year. I do all this to let them know I have a track record.
I tell them where I live and that I'm a member of The Dramatists Guild. Finally I thank them for considering my play.
I try to keep my letter to one page. I don't send an SASE unless one is requested.
I don't know if this sort of letter works for everyone but it does seem to work for me. What I think I might consider adding is why I wrote this play and why I'm sending it to this particular theater company.
Edd is 100% right about keeping it short and direct. Your cover letter has a function, and this letter doesn't maximize its potential as a tool that represents you and your play.
Here's my take on organization----
Theater company's address
Enclosed is the one act play About A Wedding for possible inclusion in your Festival of One-Act Plays.
About A Wedding is a forty-minute (insert genre here: comedy, melodrama, romp, farce, drama, dark comedy, romantic comedy, romantic tragedy...) that spans the weeks leading up to the big day. The play requires (here you would say what type of set, how many women, how many men -- as an example: a single multi-location set; 3 women age 24-60ish, 2 men age 24-45; 7 wedding dresses and a Saint Bernard.
(If the play has any production or development history you would describe it here by starting a new paragraph. Even a sentence about why you wrote the play would suffice: ie -- This play was written as part of a class where I had the opportunity to wokshop the play and receive feedback that has helped in its development. OR you could say something about its inspiration. OR you could not have a paragraph here -- instead go right to the final paragraph)
Also included with he play is a SASE for return of the script. You may contact me via phone at 555.555.5555 or e-mail at email@example.com. Thank you for your consideration.
Your address info here
For some additional letter-writing tips check out "Letter Rip" parts I & II on the Playwright Zoo archive:
I don't really know what is right or wrong, good or bad for others. I only know how I write my cover letter. I always find that less is better. With respect to you and to your submission letter this is how I generally write mine and not necessarily how you should write yours, but it's worth consideration. Also, avoid words like "I" and "my." Take it for what it's worth:
Re: Festival of One-Act Plays
Enclosed please find a script of “About a Wedding,” for submission into your Festival. Also enclosed is a SASP for confirmation of receipt and a SASE for return of the script. Included within the script is a bio/resume.
Running approximately forty-minutes, “About a Wedding” concerns a newly engaged couple who are trying to put together their wedding with considerable time restraints while along the way they hit some rough patches and speed bumps, including the reappearance of past romances, a secret lover and a mother determined to put an end to the entire extravagant affair.
To whom it may concern regarding the Festival of One-Act Plays:
Enclosed you will find my submission for the Festival of One-Act Plays. I have also included a self-addressed stamped envelope for correspondence and another envelope for the return of my play, if not chosen.
My forty minute one act play, About a Wedding, is about a newly engaged couple who are trying to pull together their wedding in a month-and-a-half long time period. Along the way, they hit some speed bumps, including the Bride’s Mother’s alcoholic ways and her smoking addiction.
Past romances are brought up again, affairs are discovered and the Mother does everything in her power to prevent this wedding from happening. Will the Mother come to understand that her daughter is in love and approve of the wedding? Will Mother pay for the extravagant wedding that her daughter wants? Will the Groom convince her to? And who is the Best Man’s secret lover? Only time will tell.
If this play is chosen, it will mark the first time this playwright will see his work on stage.
Is this a good letter for a submission to a festival?