Playwrights: A dying species?

Convener(s): Sarah Grochala – [email protected]


[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Two strands: Financial and Artistically. Original question posed referred to the difficulty of financially supporting yourself as a playwright and also the extent to which playwrights need to evolve in order to expand their role in a changing theatre environment.



Agreement that it is virtually impossible to support  yourself financially from playwrighting. Theatre makes nothing therefore playwrights also make nothing. Having another job is essential. Plus side is that this gives you more freedom to write but the downside is that it decreases the amount of time that you have available to write. Difficulty of getting into the industry through the traditional model, especially if you’re over 26. Need to be pro-active in producing your own work and building an audience for it. The need to produce your own work, however, decreases access to the profession. Building doors rather than banging on them. Not being British and polite in your approach, but instead asking for what you need. Means that most playwrights are inevitably from a wealthy or middle class background. Playwrighting having a high cultural value in UK (related to legacy of Shakespeare), but commercially its value is low. Better position for playwrights financially in the UK than in New Zealand or in the USA. Need for some kind of agency to replace writernet as a supportive body for playwrights. Some to ask for advice about funding etc. from.



Need for playwrights to build more of a community network and set their own terms. Nature of playwright’s role is isolated so building a community seems difficult at times. We don’t know who the other playwrights are. D&D providing that forum for a weekend, but could this be extended. 

Recommendations – To set up a stronger network of playwrights. Possibility of forming a playwrights support group from interested people at D&D?