The cover of The Atlanta Issue of The Dramatist
From the Desk of Emmanuel Wilson: Onward and Upward
Women in conversation

These are tumultuous times. However, we are not averse to hardship as writers for the theatre. We know how to push through and manifest. It was DG’s founding in the aftermath of the 1918 pandemic and the resolve of the dramatists of the time to advocate for each other that continues to guide us.

The Guild’s continued work on behalf of all writers remains our focus, from our new Inclusion Rider (which reinforces the rights of dramatists while fostering open conversation and action towards diversity, equity, inclusion, and access) to our outreach to theatre educators or our Credit the Librettist Initiative (which ensures that all opera writers are outwardly acknowledged and respected) to the new online edition of The Dramatist that allows 24/7 access to our content library. 

I’m proud to share that the Guild is currently 10,000 members strong. Thanks to our ongoing Dues What You Can Program, the Guild was able to double down during the pandemic to help every writer possible. While the Guild is financially sturdy enough to ride out the storm, we need everyone to join us in ensuring the Guild is around for many years to come. Any member who can pay their minimum basic dues in full is encouraged to please do so. Your community depends on you. 

We believe that no one should be left behind when negotiating a contract. The Guild’s everyday advocacy and education tools allow us to connect with DG members to inspire and inform with innovative new agreements and best practices, such as our new DG Guide for Dramatists on how to negotiate theatre contracts. Later this year, we’ll launch our new Business Affairs Help Desk, which will provide members easier access to business advice and articles while offering unsigned contracts reviews and consultations. We encourage you to share your industry contracts and experiences with us. Let us know what’s happening on the ground so we can keep innovating and working on your behalf. 

We want to ensure every playwright, composer, lyricist, and librettist has easy access to resources, so everyone can advocate for themselves and their writing communities. That’s why our website is more than a resource; it’s an everyday utility. We hope you use the DG website and read our newsletter Before You Sign—with its curated resources, articles, and industry definitions—to stay informed about important updates and industry news. We also encourage you to keep an eye on what’s happening in your local community via our biweekly Opportunity Digest, which includes information on upcoming regional events held online and in-person across the country. 

From our ongoing work with Counting Together (initiated by The Lillys, Todd London, Luis Castro, DG, and the American Theatre Wing) to our community partners such as the Kennedy Center, National Queer Theater, Blackboard Plays, and #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence, and more, we are creating a network of writers who can connect with and support one another. In addition, I am pleased to note that, through our Young Dramatists initiative, we’ve also been able to communicate with young people all over the country who are inspired to write for the theatre.

As you engage with your community, it is important to treat one another with respect and civility. Please keep in mind that we all come from different intersectionalities. We recommend that all members review our new Code of Conduct for Community Spaces, which you can find on the DG website. We’ll also soon be sharing information about our new third-party reporting hotline so our members and volunteers can safely report any incidences of abuse. 

At the Guild, we are committed to listening to you, supporting you, and empowering you to advocate for what you need. So, thank you for being a member of the Guild and helping us help you as you embark upon the incredibly challenging yet gratifying path of creating new plays, musicals, songs, and libretti. We are incredibly grateful to our fantastic team of volunteers, our regional reps, our ambassadors, our committees, our Council members, and all of you who show up every day to serve your community.

Thank you for your continued membership and for believing in the mission. Our primary goal is to end the economic exploitation of the playwright, composer, lyricist, and librettist in the American theatre. We haven’t reached the promised land yet, but we’re still advocating, educating, and inspiring. Onward and upward.  

Emmanuel Wilson
Emmanuel Wilson

joined the staff of the Dramatists Guild in 2017. A playwright, producer, and lifelong resident of New York City, Emmanuel founded the Blue Rose Stage Company at age eighteen, serving as its artistic director for six years. At TADA! Youth Theater, Emmanuel served as artistic associate and literary manager, commissioning and supporting new works. In 2003, he was selected as a New Generations Future Leader by TCG. This multi-year fellowship, designed to "cultivate and strengthen a new generation of future theatre leadership" was supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.