Mission & History

The Dramatists Guild of America is the membership association of playwrights, librettists, composers, and lyricists writing for the stage in the United States.

Since its establishment in 1919, the mission of the Guild has been to provide its members with education, advocacy, opportunity, and community. The Guild carries out its mission by:

  • Maintaining, for use by its members, a contract that is applicable to first-class productions in the United States;
  • Formulating other forms of model contracts and offering business advice to its members, including information about industry standards, copyright, and free expression;
  • Promoting and protecting the interests of authors in their works, including their rights of property, artistic integrity and compensation, and the conditions under which those works are created and presented;
  • Working with theatrical institutions, schools, governmental agencies, nonprofits, and commercial entities, to educate them on the rights that dramatic writers have in their works;
  • Creating programs and publications to educate dramatic writers, in order to help them develop their craft, enhance their understanding of the theater business, and expand their professional opportunities; and
  • Speaking out as an organization, and through its individual members, on issues which affect the role of dramatic authors in the theatre and in society in general.

In fulfilling its mission, the Guild recognizes that much of the creative work of authorship is undertaken in isolation, so the Guild fosters a sense of union and community among its members in order to enrich, inspire and empower them to advocate for themselves, for their work, and for each other. In this way, Guild members come to realize that if they do not advance together, they do not advance at all.

The Dramatists Guild of America is committed to exposing and eliminating the systemic biases that exist in all aspects of our field. We commit to doing this both within our own organization and with advocacy throughout our field. We take on this commitment on behalf of the plurality of our membership whose career paths are made demonstrably steeper by an unequal distribution of resources, mentorships, recognition, and productions. We take on this commitment because when opportunities are disproportionately concentrated in one narrow demographic, our stages are deprived of a full accounting of the world we live in. The Dramatists Guild invites all members of the theatre community to join us in taking concrete steps to challenge stereotypes of otherness and to address conscious and unconscious bias in our decision-making processes.


Past presidents have included Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Moss Hart, Alan Jay Lerner, Robert Sherwood, Robert Anderson, Frank Gilroy, Peter Stone, John Weidman, and Stephen Schwartz.

Past Guild members have included Eugene O’Neill, Mae West, Sam Shepard, Langston Hughes, Lanford Wilson, George S. Kaufman, Maya Angelou, Mary Rodgers, Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman, Frank Loesser, Wendy Wasserstein, Ray Bradbury,  Lorraine Hansberry, Frederick Loewe, Alice Childress, Duke Ellington, George M. Cohan, Comden & Green, Donna Summer, Edward Albee, and Tennessee Williams.

Join the Guild today.