cover art of The Reality Check Issue: A solemn playwright with a long, winding sweater sleeve that has small illustrations detailing the struggles of a writer.
Why I Joined the Guild with Lloyd Suh
  • Illustration of Lloyd Suh
    Illustration by Dan Romer
  • Illustration of Lloyd Suh
    Illustration by Dan Romer

Ijoined the Dramatists Guild three times, because I’m one of those people who accidentally let their membership lapse and forgot to renew (twice).

First time I joined, I think I was still a student, and the Guild was absolutely critical. I was able to get health insurance through its TEIGIT program, and since I didn’t really know what I was doing career-wise, or what was happening in the field, its various programs were of enormous value - especially the Resource Directory of carefully-vetted submission opportunities, and the DG Fellows program, where I was able to meet and gather with peers, collaborators, and experienced playwrights I otherwise never would have had access to. The Guild provided essential resources to understand where/how to apply for stuff, and more importantly, what to expect from the field.

Second time I joined, not very interesting. I just let my membership lapse because the $90, or whatever it was at the time, represented a colossally large amount of money. But it wasn’t long before I missed it. So I rejoined.

Third time was just a few years ago, after a much more hectic time which made me forget to renew after too long a stretch. A time filled with building a family, and with writing, sure, but also a growing list of experiences in overseeing writers groups, engaging with advocacy organizations, and especially working in an administrative capacity in my role as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark, where I’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of writers from across the country and around the world. These experiences have made me acutely aware of how many of the systems in our industry operate—both how they can serve us, and how they often fail us—and why the Guild is necessary in dealing with both. It’s clear to me that no two writers ever need the same things, and no one understands that better than a group of very different writers working together in support of other writers. I’m proud to be a member of the Guild, and a member of the Council, because of the countless times I’ve been able to tell writers in need that they should reach out to the Dramatists Guild Foundation’s Emergency Grants program (and the countless times it has provided extraordinary support). Or the times I’ve suggested that early-career writers apply for the Fellows program or reach out to Business Affairs with legal or contractual questions.

What’s more, in the past several years, the Guild has become a powerful voice in addressing the systemic inequities of the industry, through The Count, through the establishment of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, a Political Engagement Committee, and its ongoing work in advocating for author’s rights and free speech.

That’s why I’ve joined the Guild three times, and also why I’m unlikely to join a fourth. Its work is too valuable for any more of my silly membership lapses.

Lloyd Suh

is the author of plays including American HwangapThe Wong Kids, Charles Francis Chan Jr., and The Chinese Lady, premiering with Ma- Yi and Barrington Stage this summer. He serves as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark, and a member of the Dramatists Guild Council since 2016.