This morning, the Dramatists Guild distributed electronic ballots for this year’s Guild Council election. Paper ballots are on their way as well, if they haven’t already arrived. (My official ballot statement is below, if you’re interested.) I’m very proud to have added my own name to the list of candidates this year, and I hope you’ll support me.
In the last generationÂ or so, we’ve allÂ begunÂ a radical transformation of the very idea of what it means to be a playwright. Even the simplest facts have changed: you don’t have to live in NY any more to write for the stage; in fact, more playwrights live outside the city than inside it.Â We no longer want our playwrights to be mostly white and male (and straight, and cisgender, andÂ so on); we want gender parity and inclusion, and we want it now. We don’t all want to work in isolation any more (though some of us still do); we like joining collaboratives and devising ensembles and partnering with other kinds of generative artists and cozying up to dramaturgs. We recognize the technological potential of the 21st century as an asset, rather than as competition.
Isn’t it all thrilling? It is for me! I know that for some people all this change isÂ terrifying: a force to be resisted, but to my mind it’s change we can (must?) live with. And that’s why I’m hoping to join the Guild Council: to have a voice in the conversation about how our venerable institution adapts and evolves.
Will you help me help our profession? When you get your ballot, if you haven’t already, vote for me; if you’ve already voted, share this blog post; and when I get elected, help me make sure to stay connected to the broader playwriting community in all its variations, old and new, so that I serve playwrights well.
OFFICIAL BALLOT STATEMENT
Iâ€™m running for Guild Council as a long-time advocate for my fellow playwrights making theater in the 21st century. Nationally, Iâ€™ve devoted my advocacy work to helping dramatists engage with technology. My primary focus has been on the conception and development of the New Play Exchange, which uses search-and-filter tools, crowd-sourced recommendations, and an opportunities module to connect producers and playwrights and replace the broken submissions model with a neutral, more inclusive platform. As Project Director, my intent is to change some of the fundamental (and imbalanced) facts of life for dramatists. In addition, to make social media more accessible for dramatists, I built the most comprehensive list of playwrights available on Twitter via the @IFollowPWs account.
My advocacy efforts began, however, at the local level. I served as the Guildâ€™s Regional Rep for DC for several years, during which time I hosted a day-long regional conference at the Kennedy Center, created a ticket discount program for Guild members to make play-going more accessible, held â€œspeed-datingâ€ events to connect playwrights with directors, and convened happy hours that helped dramatists get to know one another. Iâ€™ve also conducted an annual demographic analysis of the plays that appear on DCâ€™s stages, which has proven to be a useful way to inspire change with regard to diversity and gender parity, and I created a DC-Area Playwrights group on Facebook to keep local playwrights connected to one another. The core of my local work, however, was the co-founding of The Welders playwrights collective, which just last year we turned over to a new generation of seven DC-based playwrights. Iâ€™m proud to have created a lasting platform that puts dramatists in command of their own fates.