Standard theatrical practices may differ in different markets. What is common in the production of an opera may be alien to the norms for work produced in children’s theatre. What is customary on Broadway may be absurd for a high school production. What is standard for a relationship among authors of a commercial stage musical may be antiquated or irrelevant when creating a work with a “devised theatre” company. Different markets have deals with different moving parts. So, knowing what world you are stepping into is an essential piece of the puzzle in negotiations.
In order to educate yourself, the DG has an extensive library of articles and contract models covering a wide range of subjects that can help you better understand the market into which you are submitting your work. If you have other questions about a particular field, or any more general questions about your professional business dealings in the theatre industry, you can reach out to our Director of Business Affairs.
You will also be in a better position if you begin your negotiations with a sense of what to expect from the other side. The more you understand about the specific goals, history, and audience of the theatre, the more effectively you’ll be able to represent your interests.
Here are some preliminary questions to consider:
- Why are you interested in working with this theatre?
- Have you ever been to this theatre? If so, did you feel welcome?
- Has this company produced any shows like yours, or any show by dramatists of your demographic?
- Does this company have anyone from your demographic on their staff and/or board, particularly in leadership? Has there been recent turnover?
- Do you feel like you have access to the leadership there? Are they approachable?
- Who puts together the theatre's casts and creative teams (directors, choreographers, designers, etc.)? Do they tend to hire the same people over and over?
- What does a typical audience look like there? Whom do they target? Who shows up?
- Have you taken note of this company’s marketing? How did it strike you?
- How much does a ticket cost? Does the cost prohibit people you’d like in your audience from seeing your show?
- Do you know anyone who’s worked there? Would you feel comfortable talking to them about their experience?
If you need further guidance, you can contact our Business Affairs department by calling (212) 398-9366, or by using the BA Career Help Desk at www.dramatistsguild.com/helpdesk.
Need Business Advice? The BA Career Help Desk is DG's support portal that allows us to answer your business related questions more quickly and efficiently. You can submit a query, or request a contract review, via our ticketing system.