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.


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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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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).



The d'n Dramaturg's Contract Package contains:






basic / standard / specialised

which is broken down into:



an overview of the whole package



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



task schedule for
production dramaturgy


guidelines for engagement

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



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


recommended contract

sufficiently flexible to be tailored to every situation



90mins of practical training on how to use the package

accessing the contract package


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, all you'll need to do is register for an account on 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, and will also be entitled to buy a ticket for an optional 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.

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.

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.