dramaturgs' contract package

coming 21 June

Freelance dramaturgs contribute enormously to the theatre ecology, lending their skills & expertise from new drama development, through staging classics, to devising & dance.

Whilst the impact of dramaturgs’ work on the sector can be enormous, there is very little industry support available for freelance dramaturgs to help negotiate their contracts. For managers, it's not easy to create a contract that encompasses the full complexity of a dramaturg’s work.

The d’n Dramaturgs’ Contract Package has been developed to help dramaturgs & managers, and comprises recommendations for engaging freelance dramaturgs.

The package is a set of recommended practice documents flexible enough to be tailored to the needs of each organisation or company. It allows managers to have a clear idea of the dramaturg’s tasks and responsibilities before an engagement is made, ensuring that dramaturgs are offered a fair deal.

an excellent collection of useful documents that provide dramaturgs with all the resources they need to negotiate fair remuneration, terms, and conditions within the UK theatre industry...
an essential and invaluable resource

Literary Managers and
Dramaturgs of the Americas

read the full endorsement

the package contents

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We've created a recommended contract for dramaturgs, covering all facets of engaging dramaturgs, from expenses to intellectual property. We also provide a detailed manual for using the package, and further explanatory guidelines on each clause to aid dramaturgs and managers in understanding the package's contents.


As any dramaturg knows, defining what you do is half the difficulty – the work can not only vary wildly from project to project, but also the requirements can change during a process. To help bring clarity to contractual obligations, we've compiled appendices of extensive task schedules for new drama development, production dramaturgy and other collaborative processes (including devised work, dance dramaturgy and R&D processes).

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As Freelancers Make Theatre Work have highlighted, working freelance can leave many people open to exploitation – and, because a dramaturg's expertise is often difficult to define, many end up accepting low pay. We explain in detail how to calculate a fair fee, including holiday pay and pension contributions.

further elements of the package include:
  • a 90min online workshop, delivering practical training in understanding and using the contract, and adapting it to suit your needs; and

  • an updated version of the contract on 7 February 2022, including users’ feedback and any developments of the field (e.g. changes to employment law).

accessing the contract package

The package will be available from Monday 21 June 2021, and users will be able to access it in different ways:

members of the d'n

free access to the contract package is one of the perks of being a d'n member!

if you've already paid your membership fee, all you'll need to do is sign up to this website (enabled on 21 June), then – once we've verified you – we'll grant access to a members-only page containing the full package.

members of an affiliate organisation

if your organisation has paid for access on your behalf, your personal use is free.

your organisation will provide you with a URL and password through which you can access the guidelines – we just ask that you personally agree to our terms & conditions of use first.

individual dramaturgs & producers

if you're not a member of the d'n or its affiliates – and don't want to become one – you can simply buy the contract package itself.

you'll need to purchase the guidelines before you're able to access them, at a cost of £48.

for a further £7, you'll also be able to attend a 1.5hr workshop exploring all the facets of the package in detail.

commercial & subsidised theatre companies

if you employ dramaturgs, you can purchase the guidelines package for use within your organisation.

we'll also run a 1.5hr workshop for up to four members of your organisation, exploring all the facets of the package in detail.

n.b. the cost of the package relates to the type of organisation and its annual turnover, starting at £100.

educational institutions & service organisations

if you work in an educational setting, or are here on behalf of a membership body, you can purchase the package for use by your organisation and its students/members.

you'll then be provided with a unique URL and password for your colleagues, students and/or members to access the package individually.

we'll also run a 1.5hr workshop for up to four members of your organisation, exploring all the facets of the package in detail.

n.b. the cost of the package relates to number of Drama students enrolled, or size of membership, and starts at £200.

Note that access to the package is dependent on acceptance of our terms and conditions of use.

find out more

We're holding a launch event on 21 June, exploring some of the issues that the contract package seeks to address:

towards fairer contractual practices

find out more and book your place on our events page