Performance and Book Review Guidelines

For Performance Review Authors

For Performance Review Authors

Reminder to Reviewers

Please be certain that you are familiar with Theatre Journal and its performance review section before you submit your materials. Published reviews are reliable models for the type and range of reviews in which we are interested. They are also documented according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Please consult this source on your own and submit materials that conform to its requirements. The guidelines outlined here for essay submission pertain to reviews as well.

Checklist for a complete submission package (all components of the package MUST be submitted by the deadline in order for the review to be considered for publication):

            One version of your review as a Microsoft Word attachment. If you are a Mac user, please convert the review file before submission.

             At least one production image (no less than 300 dpi).

            A Word file containing captions for each photo.

            Permissions to print images. These can be in the form of email from the company/theater/press agent/etc., or documentation that you have procured the images from an official website (such as a screen shot of website where official photos are publicly accessible).

            An attachment listing the author's (your) address, phone number, and e-mail for the mailing of complimentary copies of the journal. Copies of the journal are available to photographers or companies only if required for permission to reprint photographs.

            Completed JHUP Author Publishing Agreement (available from the editor). Please either print, sign, and scan, or sign electronically and return by email.


Inquiries and Commissions: Inquiries to Joshua Williams, Performance Review Editor ( in advance of submission are required to avoid duplication of reviews already published or in process. If needed, the Performance Review Editor can provide a letter to help the reviewer obtain tickets or production photos. It is best to contact the press agents for a production in order to try to obtain a "reviewer" complimentary ticket. It is also better to contact the press agent for photographs rather than a photographer directly. Also, make sure to ask for a press kit. Please note that TJ does not accept reviews of student, university, or community theatre productions.

Style and Content: All submissions are expected to conform to the format, style, word limitations, and spelling requirements when they are submitted. Theatre Journal performance reviews should be written in clear, effective prose. No citations are to be included in the review unless absolutely necessary. Reviews should emphasize analysis of the production with a minimum of plot summary (no plot summary is necessary for often produced, well-known plays). The review might address the significance of production in terms of its historical/cultural/political/social/aesthetic context, performers, director, design, author/creator, style, or its constituent audience.

Theatre Journal reviews function as short essays, complete with clear thesis statements and supporting details that communicate the significance of the production to the larger field. Provide only the most salient details that explicate your argument. Combined reviews of more than one production should connect the productions for the reader.

Once again: Please consult previous issues of Theatre Journal for sample reviews. It is expected that the author will be familiar with both the journal and its readership when submitting a review.

Length: We generally publish reviews of individual productions, which should run 800-1000 words in length. Combined reviews of more than one production also can be submitted. Such multiple production reviews can run up to 1600-2000 words in length. Reviews covering two or more productions may be edited to achieve overall copy balance. Reviews exceeding these word counts will generally be returned to the author for revision. This may delay the publication of the review.

Revisions: Every effort will be made to provide authors enough time to revise their own work in consultation with the editor. In extenuating circumstances, we reserve the right to make final editorial decisions.

Final Acceptance and Duplicate Submissions: There is no guarantee, even in the case of a commissioned review, that the submission will be accepted for publication. Please understand that Theatre Journal can provide only provisional acceptance until just before your review is actually published. In particular, it very infrequently happens that reviews accepted by the Review Editor are later struck by the journal's Editor because of space limitations or other considerations.

NB: publishing ethics require us to insist that you not submit your review to any other publication until it has been rejected by Theatre Journal.

Publication Timetable: The Performance Review Editor cannot always specify the issue of Theatre Journal in which the review will appear. Every effort will be made to ensure that an accepted review is published as soon as possible. In general, one year is the maximum interval allowed between the date of viewing a production and the review's appearance in print. Consult the deadlines below to be sure your review will be eligible for the next available issue. The Performance Review Editor will confirm by email the issue in which your review will appear once the section has been approved by the journal’s editors (which is usually within three months following a specific deadline for submissions to reach the Performance Review Editor).

Deadlines: for the March issue, August 1; for the June issue, November 1; for the September issue, March 1; for the December issue, June 1. Note that Theatre Journal has a policy of publishing only one review per author in a twelve-month period.

Proofing and Author Agreement Form: In most cases, reviewers will receive page proofs to review for any small errors. Because of a tight publication schedule, these will often require immediate attention.

The attached Author Agreement Form must accompany your submission to the Performance Review Editor, and should not be sent to JHUP. In case your review is not accepted for publication, the signed form will be returned to the author.


  1. Reviews should be double-spaced, in Times New Roman font, with 1” margins. Indent paragraphs five spaces. The Theatre Journal Performance Review Editor works with Microsoft Word. If you use a different word-processing program, please arrange to have a version made in Microsoft Word.
  2. Review Headings: Type heading double-spaced. Type the play title in BOLDFACE CAPS, followed by the author's name, and the name of the director (certain performances may not have a traditional author and director designation; in this case, consult with the Performance Review Editor on the best approach to the review heading). Next, type the production company's name, name of the venue, city, state or country (if necessary--not needed for major cities), and the date the production was seen.
  • NB: All information in the heading is run-on; do not start a fresh line with either production company or date; however, if information runs onto a second line, indent that line five spaces, as shown. Please observe punctuation, capitalization, and placement of entries exactly as follows:
  • UNCLE VANYA. By Anton Chekhov. Directed by Janis Benny. Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Angus Bowmer Theatre, Ashland. 12 August 1998.
  1. Review Signatures: Type your name in BOLDFACE CAPS at the end of the review, with your institution or place of residence italicized below. Set these two lines against the right- hand margin, thus:


Johns Hopkins University

  1. Stylistic Matters: Italicize play titles throughout the text. Refer to yourself in the first person, not as "the reviewer" or "this writer." Avoid quotation marks and italics except where absolutely necessary. Use past tense when discussing the production, remembering that the production may be closed by the time your review appears. Use present tense to discuss text. Proofread your draft carefully, paying special attention to correct spelling of proper names and titles.
  2. Production images are required: Among acceptable images are sharp, high-contrast, black and white or color production shots (rather than head shots or close-ups or promotional shots). These should be sent as jpeg files with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. Each image should be clearly labeled with the reviewer's name and a number indicating the preferred order of images, i.e., "Whitehead image 1"
  3. Photo captions: On a separate page, authors should prepare a caption for each photograph submitted to accompany a review. Please label the captions to correspond to the title of the appropriate image (i.e., Whitehead image 1: Caption). The preferred formats for photo caption follow. Note that in a large group scene, actors do not need to be individually named. 
  • Informative description related to review. Actor x (character) and Actor y (character) [and any additional actors up to 4 or 5] in Show Title. Photo: Name of photographer.
  • Actor x (character) and Actor y (character) [and any additional actors up to 4 or 5] in Show Title. Photo: Name of photographer

Additional information about the production such as venue, director, or author is unnecessary since this will be available to readers in the review itself. Exceptions are made in the case of multiple productions of the same play in different venues or if the permission grantor specifies such language as a condition for using the photo.

Permissions. We will always credit photographers, who retain copyrights of their individual photos. If a venue granting permission asks to be acknowledged, we will do so. Our preferred format for such acknowledgement is “courtesy of x.”

Other Formatting Considerations:

  • Use 1" margins.
  • Indent new paragraphs and block quotations one tab space.
  • Type only one space after terminal punctuation marks.
  • Number all pages sequentially.
  • Double-space everything. Don’t add an extra line between paragraphs.
  • Highlight all foreign accents, symbols, etc. This is particularly important, since accents and symbols (particularly as in éóîã) may be lost during translation from the file to the typesetters.
  • Use ragged right margins; don't use your word-processor's justification or kerning features.
  • Don't use automatic hyphenation and don't manually hyphenate words at the ends of lines. Put hyphens in the text only where you intend them to be kept (e.g., ten-mile hike).
  • Use a regular hyphen for both hyphens and en dashes. To indicate an em dash, use two consecutive hyphens, no space. Do not use formatting features that create en or em dashes. Thus, "dash between here--and here"; not "dash between here—and here."
  • Use hard returns only at the ends of paragraphs, headings, list entries, etc.
  • Use Boldface and Italics sparingly. Avoid underlining or other styles.

Formatting of Quotations:


Performance reviews should avoid quotation of material other than dialogue unless absolutely necessary. If you do use quoted material (which should be minimally), be sure that you have a script to consult for accuracy.

Treat dialogue quoted from one character like prose, but be sure to provide the character's name in your text prior to the quotation. Such a quotation need not be set off from the text unless it runs to more than five lines. On theother hand, dialogue involving two or more characters always should be extracted, no matter how long quotationruns.

Extracted quotations of dialogue from two or more characters should use hanging indents, with each name in small caps, then a colon, a single space, and then dialogue, running prose to the right-hand margin.

Esther: I start here.

George (angrily): I start here, too. Anyone else who would be speaking would start from this same place as well.


Submissions and inquiries can be emailed to Joshua Williams at


For Book Review Authors

Reminder to Reviewers

Please be certain that you are familiar with Theatre Journal and its book review section before you submit your materials. Published reviews are reliable models for the type and range of reviews in which we are interested. They are also documented according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. When you are assigned a review, you will also receive style and formatting guidelines. Please submit materials that conform to these requirements.

Submissions: General

Send pitches for book reviews to: Gwyneth Shanks at

Publishers: Pease direct physical review copies (not PDFs or e-books) to the Book Review Editor (contact information above); copies sent to JHUP will be discarded.

Reviewers: Please contact the Book Review Editor to inquire about the availability of a book you would like to review for Theatre Journal, or about your general interest in reviewing a book; your email should include a CV and list of areas of specialty; unsolicited reviews are not accepted; reviewers must hold a terminal degree or be at least ABD in relevant discipline.

Publication Timetable: The Book Review Editor cannot always specify the issue of Theatre Journal in which reviews will appear. Every effort will be made to ensure that an accepted review is published as soon as possible, and you may consult with the Book Review Editor if you have questions about which issue in which to expect your review. Note that Theatre Journal has a policy of publishing only one review per author in a twelve-month period.

Length of book reviews: Review lengths should be 1,000 words for a one-book review, or 1,500 for a two-book review. We also occasionally publish review essays on multiple books in a particular field; these essays are typically around 6,500 words.

Revisions: Your review will undergo a revision process with the Book Review Editor, typically moving through 2-4 drafts before it is ready for publication. Note that Theatre Journal reserves the right to make final editorial decisions as well as the right to refuse to publish any review.

Proofing: Authors will receive page proofs where possible, although the return time is in the order of 1-3 days.

Submissions: Formatting

Reviews must provide the following heading: in the upper-right hand corner, the reviewer’s full name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address. On a separate line indicate the review’s total word count.

Title, heading, and ending signature:

Left-justified and double-spaced, the title of the book review IN BOLDFACED CAPS [period] full name of author [period] series title (if applicable) [period] city of publication [colon] publisher [comma] date of publication [semicolon] total number of pages [period]. For example:

PINA BAUSCH. By Royd Climenhaga. Routledge Performance Practitioners. New York: Routledge, 2009; pp. 158.

If applicable, used “Edited by” instead of abbreviating it “Ed. by” or “ed.” 

Theatre Journal does not list multiple places of publication. Use the city given first on the book’s title page; for example, a book published by Oxford University Press in New York should be:

New York: Oxford University Press (not Oxford and New York).

At the end of the review (and flush right), type your name in BOLDFACED CAPITAL LETTERS, and your academic affiliation (if applicable) in italics. If you do not have an academic affiliation, list your city and state of residence; for example,

Washington University in St. Louis