FIFTH ANNUAL “DLDF DEFENDER AWARD” GOES TO THE NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST CENSORSHIP FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO ADVOCATING ON BEHALF OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT.
On July 29, 2019, the Dramatists Guild will hold its annual Awards Night in the Penthouse Lounge at the American Airlines Theater in New York City. Among the other honors given that night, an award from the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund will be presented to Svetlana Mintcheva, Director of Programs at the National Coalition Against Censorship [www.ncac.org] for their fierce commitment to protecting and advocating the First Amendment.
The Defender Award is given in recognition of an individual or company’s efforts in support of free expression in the dramatic arts. This award is selected annually by the board of the DLDF and is presented at the Guild’s Awards Night. This year, the award will be presented by DLDF Executive Director, Ralph Sevush.
The National Coalition Against Censorship is an alliance of more than 50 national non-profits, including literary, artistic, education and civil liberties groups, and it engages in direct intervention, advocacy and education to support First Amendment principles and resolves censorship controversies without the need for litigation. NCAC’s core work focuses on defending cultural production. Its Arts Advocacy Program, launched in 2000, is the only national project dedicated to working directly with creative artists involved in censorship disputes.
Their Director of Programs, Svetlana Mintcheva, has been with NCAC for over a decade and has regularly collaborated with the DLDF and the Guild during that time to intervene when theater productions are threatened with cancellation. Recent cases include the withdrawal of public funds from a production of Calendar Girls in Georgia due to a perceived “implication” of nudity (though there is no nudity in the play), and the cancellation of a Wisconsin high school's production of To Kill a Mockingbird due to the iconic work’s inclusion of the “n word” in the
context of challenging racism. The NCAC has also worked with the DLDF to create a resource for students and educators facing censorship in their schools, called The Show Must Go On: A Toolkit for Organizing Against Theater Censorship in Public Schools.
The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization created by the Guild to advocate for free expression in the dramatic arts and a vibrant public domain for all, and to educate the public about the industry standards surrounding theatrical production and about the protections afforded dramatists under copyright law.
The Dramatists Guild of America was established a century ago and is the professional trade association for playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists writing for the stage. The Guild has over 8,000 members nationwide and around the world, from beginning writers to the most prominent authors represented on Broadway. The current officers of the Guild are Doug Wright (president), Lisa Kron (vice-president), Lynn Nottage (secretary), and Julia Jordan (treasurer).
ANNUAL AWARD TO BE PRESENTED AT THE DRAMATISTS GUILD’S ANNUAL AWARDS NIGHT, JULY 29, 2019