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dramaturgs' contract package

"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

"As a literary agent who sometimes puts on the hat of a dramaturg, it was revelatory to read through the Dramaturgs’ Network’s Dramaturgs’ Contract Package. I applaud their approach [...] Their Task Lists section of the contract is ground-breaking and I very much hope all freelance artists will embrace the idea and bring an end to 'job creep'. Our community is strengthened by their advocacy."

Beth Blickers
APA Agency, New York

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.


package overview
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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 all the documents contained in the package, and explanatory guidelines on each contract clause to aid dramaturgs and managers to tailor the contract to the needs of their project.

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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 offer detailed suggestions for how a fair fee might be calculated, including holiday pay and pension contributions.

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This package isn't just useful for dramaturgs themselves, but also for producers and other professionals looking to hire one.

It also includes a template for hiring a dramaturg – a working document to help artists and organisations in finding a dramaturg for their projects – and guidelines to assist managers and producers in drafting a fair and equitable contract when engaging freelance dramaturgs.


package contents

The d'n Dramaturg's Contract Package contains:






basic / standard / specialised

which is broken down into:



an overview of the whole package


guidelines for producers

a document to assist managers and producers to draft a fair and equitable contract when engaging freelance dramaturgs



task schedule for
new drama development



explaining how to use the Contract with the Appendices, and how to calculate the dramaturg’s fees according to the level of the job


guidelines for dramaturgs

a comprehensive document explaining every clause of the contract and what to consider



task schedule for
production dramaturgy


hiring a dramaturg

a working template document to help artists and organisations in finding a dramaturg  for their projects


recommended contract

sufficiently flexible to be tailored to every situation



task schedule for
collaborative processes (inc. devising, dance, R&D)

accessing the contract package

package access

You can access the package in different ways, depending on who you are:

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 via this website, you're ready to go! Just follow the link below.


If you joined before June 2021, you'll need to register for an account on this website, and 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.

download is only possible once the package has been purchased.

commercial & subsidised theatre companies

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

the cost is flexible depending on the size of your institution

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.

agents / agencies

if you work for a talent agency, you can buy the package either for your own client list or for use by the agency as a whole.

please email us to arrange this.

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