You may be familiar with a 1945 code of ethics for theater workers that’s floated around from time to time. It’s basically a list of standards that actors informally swear to uphold. It’s pretty neat.
It seems to me that we playwrights ought to have our own code of ethics. What do you think of the following
ten items eleven items as a starting place?
- I swear to enter into every production with a spirit of genuine openness and collaboration.
- I swear to listen to and consider any generously- and respectfully-offered feedback about my work.
- I swear to determine whether the work I am submitting to a theater, development program, or contest is indeed resonant with the mission, aesthetic, and selection criteria of the organizations to which I am submitting it.
- I swear to avoid “bulk submissions” of my work.
- I swear to participate avidly and sincerely in any development opportunity for which I am selected.
- I swear to maintain professional standards in the preparation of clear, readable scripts using appropriate formatting.
- I swear to withhold unreasonable public criticisms of productions of my work in speaking with other members of the theater community, theatergoers, or members of the press.
- I swear to deliver reasonable public criticisms of productions of my work in thoughtful and (to whatever extent possible) respectful ways.
- I swear to contribute meaningfully and earnestly to discussions about artistic decisions over which I do not have final say.
- I swear to make genuine contributions to the marketing and promotion of any productions of my plays.
- I swear to give appropriate compensation and credit for any materials I incorporate into my work.