Cover of The Dramatist Jan/Feb 2022: The Motivation Issue
From the Desk of Dramatists Guild Institute – Jan/Feb 2022
DGI logo against green chalkboard

During the pandemic, I found myself grateful that DGI had been offering online classes almost since the beginning. There was no learning curve for our expert faculty; we could all jump right in and expand our DGI writing community. It’s been wonderful to meet so many students from so many parts of the world (I had a student last spring who was in Spain!). Then, as I thought further about ‘the beginning’, I realized that DGI celebrated its fifth anniversary at the conclusion of the 20/21 school year. Like a lot of things in the past eighteen months or so, the anniversary went unnoticed, but I have been using this opportunity to reflect.

As always, I’m indebted to our excellent faculty, who take time out of their busy schedules to share their talent and their wisdom with our students. I’m also indebted to the students who trust us with their time (and their wallets) in order to better their craft and to begin to move more confidently and more professionally throughout their writing journey. We take great pains in trying to evolve and diversify our faculty, our curriculum, and our student body to address the current needs of everyone connected with DGI. As the theatrical landscape changes, what courses can fully prepare writers for what comes next? How can we challenge and engage our faculty? We’ve recently offered classes on how to explore your subconscious, how to take ‘unexpected threads’ and build a work, how to write in a different genre, how to start a web series, how to use satire more strongly in your work, or how to create a one-person show. 

At DGI, we are looking to build community, creativity, and resilience through the craft of theatrical writing. Writers of all skill levels are encouraged to spread their wings and try things they may not have considered before. We also hope that our students will think about all aspects of their craft, or their careers, and work to hone and shine the skills they already have. I’m also passionate about sharing work with our students that they may not have encountered before; work that will illuminate new worlds and open new horizons for them to explore.

Writing workshops are of course excellent ways to strengthen your craft, but also consider our Architecture of Plays/Musicals courses, where discussion and exploration of texts can unlock new ways into your own writing. Remember that reading and discussing plays and musicals can be just as important a tool for your writing as prompts and exercises. At least I think so.

When I was younger, I belonged to a club that had a motto that went something like, “what you get out of your commitment is equal to what you put in.” I think DGI is like that. When you’ve made the commitment to join us, we make the commitment to make your experience with us as fulfilling as possible, and together, we make the extra effort to succeed. As I write this column, the DGI staff are busy preparing the curriculum for our Spring 2022 semester. Registration should open in early February, and I hope that you will all take the time to look at our course offerings, our wonderful faculty, and our educational principles and make the decision to join in. I consider everyone who has taken a course or led a session to be a part of the DGI family. There’s room for everyone, and I hope you’ll consider becoming a part of the family.

Tari Stratton
Tari Stratton

is the Director of Education for the Dramatists Guild and the Director of the Dramatists Guild Institute. She has been at the Guild for over twenty years and loves ballet, tennis, her nephew, and the theatre. Not necessarily in that order.