It has been one of the greatest honors of my career to serve on the Council of the Dramatists Guild. I remain committed to doing all that I can to represent the needs and concerns of our members and to fight for the rights of playwrights, composers, and librettists everywhere.
If re-elected, I look forward to continuing my work with the Education Committee. I have volunteered to travel again on behalf of the Guild as a Mentoring Artist to KCACTF regional conventions. I am keenly interested in engaging students and educators in conversations about two issues of concern to the Education Committee. The first is its campaign to teach students (and their professors) that no changes can be made to a script without the dramatist’s prior consent. The second is the growing tension around the issue of free speech on campuses and in theatres.
We are all trying to navigate a world in which hate speech seems louder and more accepted than ever, and in which factions strive to hierarchize the stories and experiences of one group above all others. In reaction, some have called for safe spaces, asking that universities and theatres institute a policy of content or trigger warnings and to avoid – or even ban – plays that contain offensive or disturbing material. I want to explore how the Guild can protect its members’ right to free speech while still respecting the points of view of those who feel such measures are necessary. To that end, my colleagues at Northwestern University and I are organizing a symposium on the subject of free speech and safe spaces to take place this spring. We have asked the Guild to join the discussion. Our hope is that we might find solidarity with each other as artists and educators who depend on free expression for our survival.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to have served on the Council the last nine years, and I would be humbled and proud if elected to continue.