The Dramatists Guild is aware of the recent casting controversy surrounding a production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in Portland, Oregon.
The Guild asserts that it is a playwright’s fundamental right to approve of casting choices to ensure they reflect their authorial intent. We assert this right for Edward Albee and his estate, just as we have asserted it on behalf of Lloyd Suh and his work Jesus In India and Katori Hall and her play The Mountaintop. We also assert the right of playwrights to specify diverse casting for work that is not demographically specific. Playwrights own their work, and therefore have the right to make decisions about all aspects of its presentation.
At the same time, the Guild is actively engaged in conversations and initiatives aimed at making the American theater a more inclusive place with greater opportunities for all playwrights and lifting the barriers that have for far too long severely limited opportunities for far too many. We remain firm in our belief that our art form can’t achieve its full potential until it embraces our cultural and demographic diversity.