Dramatists Guild Lends Support to Writers in Battle Against Agents

Dramatists Guild/WGA/Getty

The playwrights’ organization says it hopes for a deal that "begins to heal the rift that is not only ending professional relationships but is damaging personal relationships, as well."

The organization representing U.S. playwrights, the Dramatists Guild of America, weighed in Tuesday with a statement supporting the Writers Guild of America in its battle against the Association of Talent Agents. Although the DG is not a union, it is the professional organization for playwrights and others — librettists, composers and lyricists — writing for the stage in the U.S. (Those writers are not unionized.)

“The Dramatists Guild of America supports our WGA colleagues in their quest for the equitable representation of its members,” said the statement from Dramatists Guild president Doug Wright. “While the DG is not a union authorized to ‘franchise’ agents like the WGA does, many dramatists have literary agents that are members of the Association of Authors Representatives, and the AAR’s first rule in its canon of ethics is a pledge by its members that they will ‘provide loyal service to their clients’ business and artistic needs, and will allow no conflicts of interest that would interfere with such service.'"

Added Wright, "We are hopeful, then, that the WGA and the ATA will come to an agreement that recognizes this fundamental principle of agency and begins to heal the rift that is not only ending professional relationships but is damaging personal relationships, as well.”

The DG announcement comes one day after acclaimed playwright/television writer Jon Robin Baitz penned an essay on why he will not fire his agents and two days after Tony-, Oscar- and Pulitzer-winner Tony Kushner explained why he did. According to the WGA, thousands of writers have already terminated their representatives.

Disclosure: This reporter is an associate member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

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