New York City: Playwrights Welcome and Guild Initiatives
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May 12, 2019

Hello from NYC.

Nothing going on here.

Just kidding. We’re keeping busy in the city that really ought to sleep.

As Guild Rep, I’ve been focused on talking to local theatres about the Playwrights Welcome program and getting them to enlist, as this is a win-win for absolutely everyone involved. So much so that I could do a haiku about it. In fact, I will:

Playwrights Welcome will
Pay for your Guild membership
ten times over. Join.

I also think the more theatres that do this regionally, the greater the program is. Theatres in your region will see that other theatres are doing it and peer pressure isn’t just for drugs and candy. But, also, it means that if you’re visiting my town and you want to see a show, you can flash your DG ID and get in, and vice versa. How cool is that? That’s not hypothetical, it is cool.

In brief, if it’s helpful for your purposes with your networks, my campaign boils down to: no theatre wants empty seats; playwrights make great audiences; as a whole, a more educated group of playwrights will make for more expansive theatre; it’s good for community building; if the tickets weren’t sold the seats would be empty; and if the playwrights could afford the tickets they’d have already bought them.

Sidebar: seems to me grant-seeking theatres can claim it as a ticketing initiative, they will be subsidizing tickets for artists. So, if this helps arm you for calling up or visiting your local theatres and getting them to join, by all means, go for it. And if the haiku helps you recruit more members, have at it.

What else. At the request of a member, we had a meeting with Tari Stratton and other members to talk frankly about financial realities for playwrights, such as: when you can expect to get a check, when you can’t, and how to think about health care when your income is unpredictable. I’m aiming for our next one to be sort of a “life hacks” edition in which a group of people can talk about their strategies for preserving time and energy, stretching budgets, and getting basic needs met.

I’m pleased with some cool initiatives the Guild is up to, like community engagement and voter registration drives. Now that we’ve all relearned that you can’t just fill in absentee ballots with your candidate’s name (thank you North Carolina for the civics lesson), making sure people are registered is a good thing, and why not begin in a theatre and branch out?

Emmanuel Wilson has led a great change to DG’s infrastructure; as Reps we now have an easier method of reaching out to our constituents. I’m optimistic that will lead to more community events and ways of forming affinity groups around whatever members are looking for as a means of connecting.

The Annual Rep meeting was inspiring, hearing about what the Guild is doing on our behalf. It looks like we are on a good path forward and have strong leadership.

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