Year In Review

The Dramatists Guild of America is the national, professional membership trade association of theatre writers including playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists. The Guild was established for the purpose of aiding dramatists in protecting both the artistic and economic integrity of their work. 

In our 2022 Year in Review, we look back upon the past year's advocacy initiatives, legislative updates, institutional partnerships, DG statements, professional development events, and exciting, innovative issues of The Dramatist, not to mention new additions to our staff and Council.

These accomplishments have enabled us to be even more effective and proactive in our mission to advocate on behalf of the needs of playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists everywhere.



New Guides for Dramatists: The Guild recently shared four DG Guides for playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists.These guides address a myriad of different writer's needs, from submitting your work to contests or festivals to negotiating contracts with theatre companies to understanding the Guild's Approved Production Contract to creating a piece of devised theatre. Discover the guides here.

Credit the Librettist is a national campaign supported by the Dramatists Guild of America’s Opera Committee and is designed to educate opera companies, journalists, and audiences about the importance of giving equal credit to composers and librettists. Without the librettist, there are no words, no story, and no opera. When you acknowledge the vital contributions of the librettist, you help to ensure that fresh and exciting operas will continue to be created for many years to come. Click here to learn more about why opera composers and librettists would like you to credit the librettist.

The Dramatists Guild Presents: TALKBACK Podcast Season 4 - Where Art, Community, and Inclusion Meet. In the fourth season of The Dramatists Guild Presents: Talkback podcast,  hosted by Christine Toy Johnson, we celebrate how writers from a diverse array of backgrounds have built meaningful careers within a constantly evolving industry, while also giving back to their communities.From conversations about challenging the industry’s status quo to insights on crafting new musicals, this season offers a window into the struggles and triumphs of what it means to be a theatre writer in the 21st century  and what it means to serve one's community. Learn more here.

DLDF Toolkit: The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (DLDF) created a  toolkit, Dramatic Changes: A Guide to Producing Live Stage Works on College Campuses in the 21st Century. It explores how students and educators can work to resolve tensions between the importance of free expression and the need to advance values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access when producing shows on college campuses. News of the toolkit launch was shared by notable theatre outlets, including American Theatre and

Banned Together Anti-Censorship Podcast: Schools, libraries, religious organizations, and other community groups are banning books, plays, and musicals for purely partisan reasons. When works are banned – whether literary or theatrical- it is a constitutional infringement upon the opportunities, livelihoods, and rights of authors, including playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists. To raise awareness regarding the societal dangers of censorship in the theatre industry and at large, the DLDF presented Banned Together: An Anti-Censorship Podcast featuring songs, scenes, and monologues from 11 shows that have been banned or censored in communities across the country. Read more about the podcast here. This initiative was featured in an AP News story, and subsequently picked up by news outlets across the country.

Career Alerts: This past year, the Guild published several Career Alerts, informing members of  of an ongoing issue with Brown Paper Tickets, addressing how to approach contract negotiations with theatres, clarifying the eligibility requirements for copyright registration of single authored musicals, providing an update on infringing websites,, and, as well as offering business advice on what to do if someone performs your work without permission and when it might be appropriate to pull the rights to your show.

Our other advocacy initiatives have empowered theatre writers with the necessary knowledge to ask for what they need when signing a contract. Along with drafting New Authorial Billing Language, we've written and shared articles on topics ranging from when to give someone a co-writing credit to where to file your copyright claim to what happens if you make a mistake when registering your copyright. We've explained how the new Supreme Court ruling on copyright benefits dramatists and provided updates on a new resource for theatre writers from the Copyright Claims Board. We also defended our members' copyrights in the face of pirated scripts on E-bay and we co-signed an Amicus Brief that helped writers to win an important copyright case.  

 In addition, The Regional Affairs Committee sent out a survey to learn how and where theatre writers are getting their work produced across the country. And, we stepped in to help save a musical theatre collective that needed a space in which early career musical writers could develop their work.



Broadway Consultations: The Guild continues to offering Broadway Consultations to Guild Members with upcoming First-Class productions for the very first time. We now also have a dedicated Broadway Contracts and Assessments webpage where we explain the significance of the Approved Production Contract, define terms such as "assessments," and discuss the rights and responsibilities of a Dramatists Guild member when their work is produced on Broadway for the first time.


Council Members and Regional Reps

New Council Members: The Guild is governed by a board of directors (Council) elected from its membership. These writers, in various stages of their theatrical careers, meet monthly to decide policy for the Guild. In 2022, we elected two new Council members, David Henry Hwang and Adam Gwon. "David and Adam's illustrious careers, years of service to The Guild, and dedication to improving the lives of writers make them both wonderful additions to the Council," shared DG President Amanda Green. Read more about David and Adam here.

We also welcomed new Regional Representatives in Ohio, The Carolinas, and Southwest.


New Roles for DG Staff

In 2022, we welcomed several new staff members to the Dramatists Guild community this year. Our new Director of Business Affairs, Jessica Lit, joined the Guild this past spring. Jessica is a New York-based attorney with a passion for empowering artists of diverse backgrounds and disciplines to take control of their careers by educating them about their legal rights. Meet Jessica here.
Over the summer, we also welcomed our new BA Consultant and Staff Attorney is IP attorney, Leesa Fenderson, and our new Volunteer Programs Manager, Elle Hartman. Meet Leesa and Elle here.
And we welcomed our newest staff member last month; Karl Hawkins is our DG Office Associate. Meet Karl here.
Additionally, we promoted two current members of staff this year: Emmanuel Wilson is now Executive Director of Creative Affairs and Membership and Tari Stratton is Director of the Dramatists Guild Institute.


Legislative Update

Sometimes, what goes on in Washington D.C. can feel worlds apart from what happens on our stages but that couldn't be further from the truth. The Guild has been working on a variety of policy and legislative relative issues in our advocacy efforts on behalf of playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists.Discover our DG Legislative Agenda on Copyright, Free Expression, and Independent Contractors. Learn why the Guild Supports Collective Bargaining for Creative Professionals, why a Coalition of Creators Requests Collective Bargaining Rights from FTC and DOJ and why the Guild Supports the PRO Act. Understand your Options for Affordable Healthcare and find out more about Healthcare for Dramatists.



Joint Statement on Play CancellationsThe National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) joined the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund and PEN America to call attention to the cancellation of plays at two universities following protests over their content. It is the role of colleges to provide students educational resources to help them ask important questions and encounter the difficult lessons of history. If our colleges and universities are unwilling or unable to take the lead, how will graduates learn to address these issues after they earn their diplomas? Read the full statement here.

Joint Statement in Support of Nataki Garrett: The Dramatists Guild, Theatre Communications Group, and Shakespeare Theatre Association joined together to stand with Nataki Garrett and condemn in every possible way the unconscionable harassment and death threats that she has received as Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We urge the industry to treat writers fairly, and to dismantle gatekeeping systems that stifle the expansion of the theatrical canon, impacting whose stories get told, how they get told, and by whom. Read the full statement here. The statement was picked up by both local and national news outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter, the Mail Tribune, NBC's KOBI-5, and NPR.

DG Statement on The Door McAllen Church's Unauthorized Production of HamiltonThe Dramatists Guild condemned the Door McAllen Church for its unauthorized production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton, performed on August 5 and August 6, 2022, in McAllen, Texas. We hold up the Door McAllen Church's brazen infringement to shine a light on the problematic pattern of some theatrical organizations performing authors’ work without a license and rewriting the text without authorial consent. Read the full statement here. This statement -- along with Lin-Manuel Miranda's response on social media-- was picked up by numerous national news outlets, including CBS News, Deadline, IP Watchdog, NBC News, People, and more.



On Monday, July 25 at Joe's Pub, the Dramatists Guild held our annual awards night, celebrating playwrights, composers, lyricists, librettists, and our colleagues in the theatre industry. This year's ceremony was the first live, in-person DG awards event since 2019. (The ceremony therefore also acknowledged and honored the 2021 Dramatists Guild Awards recipients.) This year's DG Awards included Jeanine Tesori (the Frederick Loewe Award for her work on Kimberly Akimbo), Kirsten Childs (the Flora Roberts Award), Sanaz Toossi (the Horton Foote Award), Nancy García Loza and Ren Dara Santiago (the Lanford Wilson Award), Martyna Majok (the  Hull-Warriner Award for her play Sanctuary City), Alice Childress (the 2022 DLDF Defender Award -posthumous recipient), and Pearl Cleage and Tina Howe (Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Awards). All awards are overseen by the DG Awards Committee, chaired by playwright Lloyd Suh and administered by Tari Stratton, Director of Education and the Dramatists Guild Institute of Dramatic Writing. Read more about DG's Awards Night here.
The 2022 DG Awards were also covered by major theatre outlets including and


Institutional Partnerships

We continue to maintain close ties with our institutional partners and to expand our network under the purview of our Director of Outreach and Institutional Partnerships, Jordan Stovall. This past year, we've built partnerships that focus on increasing diversity and accessibility for theatre writers and through the industry at large.

New Visions Fellowship: The Dramatists Guild continues to partner with the National Queer Theater on the New Visions Fellowship, a yearlong fellowship for Black Trans and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) playwrights led by mentor Roger Q. Mason (they/them). The inaugural fellowship recipients were Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (he/they) and Ayla Xuan Chi Sullivan (they/them). The finalists were Alexander Paris (they/them), Chantal Vorobei Thieves (she/her), and Storm Thomas. This partnership with NQT included co-presenting a panel at BroadwayCon 2022 that featured the New Visions fellows and finalists, as well as Strange Loop's L. Morgan Lee, on "Dreaming the Queer Future: TGNC Representation and Playwrights in the American Theatre."

Counting Together: The Dramatists Guild continues to participate in Counting Together, a growing coalition of theatre artists, arts professionals, and organizations engaged in separate, long-term studies of race, gender, and disability in our field. By telling the stories of its findings, Counting Together’s stated goal is to identify and forge pathways to greater equity and inclusion. Currently made up of fifteen separate projects, Counting Together includes both individuals and groups engaged in countering systems of exclusion in the theatre. Learn more here.

Playwrights Welcome:  Concord Theatricals and the Dramatists Guild, along with Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing, Music Theatre International, Playscripts, and Rodgers and Hammerstein, have relaunched the Playwrights Welcome discount ticketing initiative for DG members. This program was created from a desire to support the artistic health of our industry’s writers, and by extension, the vibrancy of the American theatre. Learn more about Playwrights Welcome here.

Our additional partners include #ENOUGH,  the 24 Hour Plays, All Hands in Motion, Broadway Licensing/The Scene newsletter, Candid, C2 Captioning, CreativeFuture (for the Creative Rights Caucus), El Colectivo, The Entertainment Community Fund, Final Draft, Globetitles, HonorRoll!, HowlRound Theatre Commons, Maestra/Get2Work, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Ohio Playwrights Circle, PEN America,  the Samuel French Bookshop at the Royal Court Theatre, SCRiBLAB, Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and American Theatre magazine, TDF/Theatre Development Fund (TAP program), the Times Square Alliance, Venturous Theatre Fund, and the Writers Guild of Great Britain.

We also partner with theatres across the country, including the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta (which hosts Tertulia, a writers’ group for Black dramatists), Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Carnegie Hall (which co-produced our New Visions Fellows showcase as part of their Afrofuturism Festival), InterAct Theatre Company (who co-launched The 24 Hour Plays Philadelphia with us, MCC Theater (which also hosted one of our New Visions Fellows' showcase), The Public Theatre/Joe’s Pub, and the members of our Trans/GNC Inclusion Workshop Group (Rattlestick Theater, LongWharf Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co, Playwrights Horizons, About Face Theatre, NYTW, and New Conservatory Theatre Center).


Career, Industry, and Community Development

In 2022, the Guild held, organized, and/or co-sponsored over 550 events that were attended by thousands of theatre artists across the United States and in 35 countries around the world, including Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Israel, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Wales. These events ranged from community building and networking events to craft workshops and industry panels on compensation, copyright, the Dramatist's Bill of Rights, and more.

Discover some of our 2022 DG events below:

2022 Community Conversations
2022 National Estate and Legacy Planning Awareness Week with DG©M
A Bridgerton too far? A Q&A with the DG on Adaptations, Copyright Infringement, and Fair Use
A Conversation with DG Council Member George C. Wolfe
Contract Coaching with Ralph Sevush
Copyright Clinic with Deborah Murad
Copyright Registration Demo Workshop
Copyright Registration Drive
DGCM Event: Think Before You Throw (or Donate): The Value in Your Papers
Do you know your rights? An introduction to the Dramatists Bill of Rights
The Dramatists Guild at the AWP Conference
Dramatist to Dramatist: Dominic D’Andrea, Ty Defoe, and Joann Yarrow on Native Theatre and Community Stories
End of Play.® 2022
Every Writer Insured! Understand Your Healthcare Options and Get Affordable Care
Grantseeking for Dramatists in collaboration with Candid
How to Collaborate as a Theatre Writer in Grad School or College
How To Resolve Copyright Disputes: A Q&A on the new Copyright Claims Board and The CASE Act
The History of our Advocacy: Why and What Writers Fight For
Intro to Proposal Writing in the Arts with Candid
Jubilee for a New Vision - A Celebration of Trans and Gender Non-conforming Artists
Learn How to Use Final Draft Scriptwriting Software!
Marketing Tips and Tricks for Theatre Writers
New Models for Creating Musical Theatre: The Making of The Violet Hour Studio Cast Recording
Operatunity! Librettists in Conversation Part I: How to Craft an Opera
Production Compensation Part One: Advice for Theatre Writers on Commissions, Advances, Royalties from Theatrical Productions 
Production Compensation Part Two: Advice for Theatre Writers on Making Income from Subsidiary Markets
Production Compensation Panel Part Three: Music Compensation
Theatre as a Force for Actionable Change
The 24 Hour Plays in Philadelphia
The Write Way: How Musical Theatre Writers Create their Scores for the Stage

Continuing Education

The Dramatists Guild Institute: In its sixth year, the Dramatists Guild Institute continued to provide high quality online writing workshops, career training classes, and foundational play/musical structure courses to help playwrights, composers, lyricists, librettists, theatre educators, and theatremakers discover new voices and new techniques as they learn to expand their talents and hone their craft. 

In 2022, we offered 33 classes over three semesters,  21 of which sold out. 12 of our classes  were brand new offerings. We enrolled 351 students total, including 301 returning students and 50 new students from across more than 25 states, as well as Canada, Great Britain, and Europe. These numbers include our ongoing teen courses (see the Young Dramatists section above for reference).


Young Dramatists

Playwriting for Teens: The Dramatists Guild Institute continues to offer year round playwriting classes for teenagers. These writing workshops are designed for teens who have already discovered playwriting and want to further develop their skills. Led by award-winning playwright Crystal Skillman, students meet weekly to read, share, and discuss dramatic writing. DGI's teen classes are subsidized in part with the profits from the semesters' adult classes, in order to provide low cost (or no cost) access for teenagers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

#ENOUGH: The Dramatists Guild continues support and promote #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence, a theatre activism campaign that strives to spark critical conversations, and incite meaningful action in communities across the country on the issue of gun violence, through the creation of new works of theatre by teens. #ENOUGH's mission is to promote playwriting as a tool of self-expression and social change, harnessing this generation's spirit of activism, and providing a platform for America's playwrights of tomorrow to discover and develop their voices today. Learn more.

2022 Thespians Festival: The Dramatists Guild continues to support the young writers in the Thespian Festival Next Gen program by providing them with complimentary guild membership.


The Dramatist

We continue to publish editions of The Dramatist magazine both in print and online. You can view complete issues of The Dramatist or access individual articles, searching by sections such as craft, business, and more. View The Dramatist Online, and our accompanying Dramatist archive, here.

The Money Issue: Discover strategies for how to successfully navigate the financial challenges of being a theatre writer. Guest edited by DG Executive Director of Creative Affairs Emmanuel Wilson, this issue covers topics from deal memos to per diems and everything in between. Our Compensation panels with leading industry professionals explore how and when writers get paid throughout different stages of the production process, from commissions to subsidiary markets. CPA Elaine Grogan Luttrull offers financial tips and resources for dramatists, and answers many of the financial questions that come up for theatre writers throughout their careers. And the Guild's own Business Affairs team defines important financial terms that all theatre writers should know, including "advances," "per diem," "option fees," and many more.

It's time for theatre writers to start having open conversations about money, so that you can confidently make the necessary financial decisions to bring your career to the next level. After all, the more you know about the industry standards, from both the creative and business perspectives, the more informed and empowered you'll be when it's time to get to work on your next project. Read The Money Issue here.

The Sondheim Issue: This edition of The Dramatist pays tribute to the artist, mentor, collaborator, and past Guild Council President Stephen Sondheim (1930 - 2021). Guest edited by Lin-Manuel Miranda, this issue includes Sondheim’s “Ten Questions” and “Musical Theatre: A Talk by Stephen Sondheim,” the transcript of an ad lib dissertation from 1977 that was originally edited for publication in The Dramatists Guild Quarterly, Autumn 1978. In “I Collabor Him and He Collabors Me,” Lin-Manuel Miranda moderates a roundtable with Sondheim’s collaborators, James Lapine, David Ives, and John Weidman; in “Our Time: The Influence of Sondheim,” Khiyon Hursey leads a conversation with Joriah Kwamé, Madeline Myers, Jay Adana, Max Vernon, Daniel Lazour, and Patrick Lazour; and in this issue’s roundup, Debbie Bolsky,  t.tara turk-haynes, Eric Pfeffinger, Sandy Sahar Gooen, S.M. Shephard-Massat, Elizabeth Coplan, and Rona Siddiqui reveal “What Sondheim Musical Influenced You Most?” 

We also celebrated the release of the Sondheim issue with two special events at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts: An evening with John Weidman and Sondheim: the Man, the Mentor, and his Music with Jason Robert Brown, Amanda Green and Tom Kitt. Both of these free events were open to the general public, with theatre students getting priority when reserving their tickets. In addition, the Guild sold an unprecedented 297 copies of the Sondheim issue and its special accompanying poster. Read The Sondheim Issue here.

The Season of Reemergence Issue: This Season in Review issue features reports from our representatives and ambassadors and members across the country. In this season of reemergence, it also pays tribute to those members who’ve had world premiere productions between May 1, 2021 – April 30, 2022. Also in this issue, Lisa Rafferty explains "What I’m Teaching Now" and Donna Hoke crafts the first-ever crossword for The Dramatist. Read the Season of Reemergence here.

The Atlanta Issue:  Our first regionally-focused issue in over two years, The Atlanta Issue provides an overview of opportunities and resources in the Atlanta-Metro area. Along with special guest editors Laura King and Pamela Turner, many of your peers provide a first-hand account of their experience with the rich Atlanta-area theatres, development centers, festivals, groups, and other resources. Read The Atlanta Issue here.

The Innovation Issue: This issue of The Dramatist was born from Terence Anthony's “The Listening Party.” Within these digital pages, you'll find a roundtable of dramatists discussing their innovative works and an introduction to the groundbreaking work of the Midnight Oil Collective. Also in this issue, Lynn Nottage and Matt Barbot share their thoughts on The Watering Hole, and Roger Q. Mason, Nick Hadikwa Mwaluki, ayla xuan chi sullivan, and Peppermint dream the queer future. Read The Innovation Issue here.

The Motivation Issue: In this latest edition of The Dramatist, Blossom Johnson, Jeremy Geragotelis, Brianna Barrett, TS Hawkins, and Psalmayene 24 reflect on the pandemic’s lasting impact, while Amelia French concocts a recipe for motivation. Guild members take to Twitter to share what keeps them motivated, and Chisa Hutchinson moderates a roundtable featuring S.M. Shephard-Massat, Carson Grace Becker, MJ Kaufman, Guadalís Del Carmen, Ben Krywosz, and Amrita Ramanan, who have made it their mission to provide dramatists the tools, space, and resources they need to create art. Read The Motivation Issue here.

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