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June 10, 2009


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The scary part, as the folks at Playscripts would attest, is that playwrights haven't received much of a raise in about fifty years. That's a good place to start the conversation.


To clarify 99 above, he's referring to this article:


Amateur royalties had been depressed at $50/performance for 40 years; however in the three years since that essay was written, we've seen an increase across almost all play publishers to $75/performance! The article is a must-read.


Seems to go back to the problem of non-profit theater operating on a commercial model that you have highlighted before. Dollars valued over process.

Eric Ziegenhagen

Not to be glib, but one look at Tyler Perry's balance sheets suggests an alternate model.


What would happen if the amateur royalties flat fee was scrapped in favor of percentage of box-office gross with a guaranteed minimum?

It's kind of silly to make a distinction between professional and amateur productions in licensing if it costs playwrights bread.


Actually, it's hard to be polite about this subject.

When I lived in DC, a managing director I was close to said he ALWAYS wrote the smallest check to the playwright. Electricians -- everyone -- made more.

What other art form goes to a group of people for their core texts and then treats them with such disrespect?

I frankly don't know why any of the playwrights I know (myself included) still write plays.

Maybe theatre will end up like opera -- with a closed canon of classics that people come to see new interpretations of. I'm not sure that this would be a bad thing ...

Guy Yedwab

I have a scheme that answers this question on my blog. It's sort of a far-fetched hypothetical answer, but I think it might work... take a look:



I mean, what are other sources of income? I'm trying to figure that out now. Grants? Awards? This is why so many head to TV and Film. You know how much you can get for one TV script?

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