Related Dramatist(s)
How are writers paid?

The Dramatists Guild of America invites all theatre writers to participate in its first ever wide-ranging study examining the overall experience of what it means to be a professional theatre writer in the United States. This study will gather information from all theatre writers on what they are getting paid for their work in the industry, and the sources from which theatre writers derive their income, as well as the circumstances that impact current industry practices related to compensation for theatre writers.

Armed with this knowledge, the Guild will be able to bolster its advocacy efforts as it works to standardize best practices and recommended guidelines of equitable and better treatment for all theatre writers, bringing awareness and addressing disparities in treatment and pay amongst theatre writers themselves.

“The Dramatists Guild’s Compensation Study is the first of its kind and has the potential to be a game changer for theatre writers and for the entire theatre industry,” explained Amanda Green, President of the Dramatists Guild. “We are surveying writers in confidence and gathering information and statistics about what theatre writers are paid and how they are paid. We plan to gather information vital to help advocate for the financial well-being of playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists. We hope to use our findings to empower theatre writers to sustain and support themselves financially while embarking upon their creative work.”

By participating in this study, you can be part of the conversation and help your community of theatre writers obtainfair treatment, livable wages, and a sustainable career. It’s time to give the theatre industry a wake-up call and rewrite the narrative on what it means to be a successful theatre writer in the United States. The Guild encourages you to tell your story, so that you can advocate for what your community needs and make your voice heard.

According to Jessica Lit, DG’s Director of Business Affairs, who led the creation of the study, “We hope that we will be able to use this information to be a better advocate not just for our members but for all theatre writers nationwide. More importantly, we hope that this will be a rallying cry heard throughout the theatre industry, making it clear that unequal and unfair treatment toward theatre writers will not stand.”

We encourage all writers, regardless of Guild membership, to be a part of this study. Any writer who has had a show of theirs produced in any capacity is invited to participate. If you are not a DG member, you can sign up to participate here.

“Without writers, there is no theatre,” Green added. “We must endeavor to equitably compensate and meet the basic needs of those who tell our stories. That is why we urge all playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists to participate in the study, so please take the time to fill it out. It’s not only important for dramatists; it may even prompt you to consider your own career in a new light.”

The Guild also wants to acknowledge the work that has been done in the field to initiate these conversations, particularly the book Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play, written by Todd London with Ben Pesner and Zannie Giraud Voss and published by the Theatre Development Fund. Click here to learn more.

Member Newsroom