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We need to talk about Dramaturgy

In March 2021, an open letter signed by over a hundred playwrights of colour was circulated – online and to institutions – addressed to dramaturgs, literary managers, artistic directors and all those who collaborate with playwrights to shape their work.


This letter is a provocation, request and invitation for us to think critically about the Eurocentric tradition of much of our work, and about the assumptions, power structures and priorities which exist unchallenged within that tradition.


The letter is embedded below (along with the external link), along with a response from the d'n Board.

from the Board:

Dear Signatories and writers,


Thank you for this considered, meaningful letter.


We have allowed time for each question to be fully felt as practitioners. We, the Dramaturgs’ Network Board, wish to stand with you as allies in the changes you call for within our theatre sector. 

The questions raised are important, sensitive and necessary, and we want to reassure you that we ask them of ourselves and of our practice.


Within the Dramaturgs' Network, we are looking at strategies and means to ask these questions of our theatre institutions, directors, producers, choreographers, actors and writers with whom we work – and within the very different, varied spaces that work takes place.


Last summer, we set up an anti-racist strategy working group, and are committed to active listening, learning, reflection – and change. We want to be part of the change, be proactive, listen to you, collaborate, and act together with you.

We will be holding discussions within our membership to reflect on your letter, and holding subsequent events facilitated by other colleagues and professionals to support us in moving the conversation forward into action.


As and when these events are confirmed, we hope you might join us, so that – together – we move forward in solidarity to discuss the dramaturgy that needs to be woven, and the one that needs to be unwoven.


It is a long journey ahead. We are committed to it.


The d'n Board

March 2021.

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