A Letter from Lisa D'Amour

The fragility of all the things I hold dear is very, very palpable these days. 

As some of you may know, my hometown is New Orleans, so I spent several years after Hurricane Katrina helping friends and family rebuild their homes, arts organizations and lives.   Recently, along with so many of you, I battened down the hatches for Hurricane Sandy and watched with disbelief as the extensive devastation unfolded, including a six alarm blaze that leveled much of Breezy Point, where my husband spent his summers as a child.  The fire raged right up to the back door of the house in which his grandparents lived, currently owned by his mother.  It’s the house, actually, where I wrote the first draft of Detroit.

One of the most caring artistic homes I have ever known.

The more natural disasters I live through, the more I realize how crucial it is to nurture the places I call home.  So today I’m reaching out to ask you to help sustain Playwrights Horizons, one of the most caring artistic homes I have ever known.  

With everything that has happened in the city over the last month, I know that giving to an arts organization might not seem a priority, but I believe that Playwrights Horizons is crucial to the heartbeat of theater in New York, and by extension the vibrant life cycle of new plays in the U.S.

When I walked into Playwrights Horizons for the first day of rehearsal for Detroit, I found myself in a lively, energized room filled with the cast, crew, director AND almost every other full time employee and intern.  We all stood in a big circle and introduced ourselves – people from the literary department, business office, marketing department and so on.  Artistic Director Tim Sanford and director Annie Kauffman talked about their admiration for my play, and their commitment to make it the best it could be.  Every staff member was invited to stay to hear the first read-through with the cast.   The room was united in the effort to make great, challenging theater.

I can draw a direct line from these opening hours of rehearsal – the openness, the energy, the shared hope -- to the success of the production of Detroit.  We felt safe to bring our best selves into the rehearsal room and engage in a conversation, about theater, about humanity, about the beautiful complexity of being an American.  We were ready to build something together, and build it bravely.

As you decide where to direct your generosity among the many causes worthy of support, we hope that you will recognize the importance of Playwrights Horizons.  In supporting Playwrights Horizons, you support a vibrant artistic community:  a safe, energized home for artists and audience alike.   


Lisa D’Amour
Playwright, Detroit

November 2012