For over three decades I’ve worked across the broad spectrum of American theatre from tiny downtown performance spaces to Broadway to the Off-Broadway non-profits to educational theatre to dance-performance venues to the regionals, as a playwright, a collaborative devisor, a lyricist, and a performer. In my Council service, this range of experience has allowed me to advocate for my fellow playwrights from first-hand knowledge of many different types of situations faced by DG members. In my second term my three major areas of focus have been general governance as DG Vice President and Steering Committee member, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as a member of the DEI subcommittee, and the launching of the Political Engagement Initiative, which I co-founded and help guide as chair of the PEI advisory committee.
The PEI came into being shortly after the 2017 Annual Meeting, where the Regional Reps spoke passionately about their desire for some way Guild members could respond to their sense of anxiety and vulnerability in the wake of the 2016 election. The Steering Committee met subsequently to discuss and, with history as our guide, concluded it would be naïve not to entertain the possibility that a period of heightened political vulnerability might lie ahead for playwrights. Steering then took the bold step of launching the PEI. Our charter has been evolving over the past year, but essentially, the Initiative serves as the Guild’s formal apparatus for identifying issues in the political landscape that affect members’ lives and the systems in which we make work and facilitating and coordinating members’ responses to those issues–sometimes rapid responses to emergent crises, sometimes longer-term advocacy around structural social or political inequities. The PEI committee acts as an advisor to Jenna Chrisphonte, the experienced organizer and advocate we hired as the Initiative’s Director of Community Engagement, to make sure that the initiatives we take up fall inside the scope of Guild concern. The PEI is unlike anything the Guild has done before, and it is taking us into uncharted waters. My work as chair includes safeguarding the fundamentally nonpartisan stance of the Guild, while helping to chart a path for robust, meaningful actions that build a sense of political empowerment and interconnectedness for Guild members all across the country in this time of increased political volatility.
If elected to a third term, I will continue to work with passion and commitment to develop the Guild’s ability to respond to my fellow members’ needs as they evolve in this rapidly changing moment in the history of American theatre.