The Season of Reemergence cover of The Dramatist includes an illustration of a chrysalis hanging from a budding branch and emerging monarch butterfly
Christine Toy Johnson: Why I Joined the Guild
  • Illustration of Christine Toy Johnson by artist Dan Romer
    Christine Toy Johnson. Illustration by Dan Romer for The Dramatist.
  • Illustration of Christine Toy Johnson
    Christine Toy Johnson by Dan Romer for The Dramatist

When I joined the Dramatists Guild in 2006, I found a community of theatre artists that has made me feel at home in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I began writing way later than many of my colleagues, having started my life in the theatre as an actor, which I continue to balance with my writing to this day. And like many actors of color, I started writing because I wasn’t seeing stories on stage/film/television about people who look like me. Was the media trying to tell me I didn’t really exist? When I found that I could write people like me into the American narrative through my own lens and be part of an organization that completely has my back while I continue to do so, I was beside myself. Imagine how I felt as I got more and more involved in the Guild’s initiatives, and eventually onto the governing body!

Serving on the Council (sitting in a room with almost every living writer I’d ever admired) has truly been a source of inspiration. The community of leaders we have elected constantly astounds me with their generosity, insight and passion for uplifting and preserving the rights of writers. Seeing these folx, many of whom have achieved the highest levels of success in our industry, continue to show up year after year simply because they care deeply about their fellow writers and the power of storytelling gives me hope for our collective future as theatre artists. It is one of the greatest honors of my life to have recently been elected as Treasurer of the Guild and profoundly meaningful to me to be the first Asian American officer in the Guild’s 100-year history, alongside a phenomenal team of other barrier breakers.

I’m proud to stand with my tribe of stalwart warriors, intent on ensuring that we retain ownership of our work, fight exploitation and continue to find ways to foster a more just and robust landscape of storytelling in which we can all fully flourish and know that we exist. I’m acutely aware of the various ways people continue to try to silence many of us. But the Guild lifts me up and lets me sing – in a place where words truly matter. Our pen, our sword.

Christine Toy Johnson
Christine Toy Johnson

is a Tony and Obie award-honored writer, actor, and advocate for inclusion. Treasurer of the DG, chair of the Guild’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Access Committee, host of the Guild’s podcast TalkBack on the Broadway Podcast Network. More at