Employment Guidelines

New employment guidelines coming soon!

LMDA is proud to announce publication of the Second Edition of its Employment Guidelines following ratification by the LMDA Board of Directors. The new Guidelines were launched at the organization’s annual international conference in Atlanta, GA, June 28-July 1, 2012.

Access the PDF version of the Employment Guidelines here

The mission of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) is to cultivate, develop, and promote the fields of dramaturgy and literary management in the United States and Canada. LMDA is committed to improving employment prospects and working conditions for dramaturgs and literary managers, and, in order to fulfill this mission, it has adopted the Employment Guidelines, the use of which it recommends when negotiating contracts and other employment agreements. These Guidelines refer to three broad categories of employment:

  1. A Freelance position, such as that of a project-based or production dramaturg;
  2. A Staff position, such as that of a dramaturg or literary manager;
  3. A University/College position, such as that of a dramaturg in a university or training program.

The Employment Guidelines are designed to assist dramaturgs and literary managers, and their colleagues in theatre companies across North America, prepare for and conduct contract negotiations. Building on the highly regarded and widely used first edition, published in 2002, the new edition has been expanded to include a detailed introduction to the challenges of defining and contracting for freelance, staff and university/college positions in the fields of dramaturgy and literary management. Noting that such positions often vary greatly in terms of job descriptions and terms, the Guidelines have been created to assist individuals in determining appropriate working conditions, contractual terms and fee ranges.

LMDA stresses that these are offered as guidelines; the nature of dramaturgical positions is that they almost always must be customized to suit the artistic project at hand. LMDA recommends that dramaturgs consult the Guidelines in order to inform themselves about suitable terms and that the guidelines be adapted to fit the needs of specific projects and positions. LMDA further urges that a detailed conversation regarding the artistic and financial terms of any position be held amongst the relevant parties prior to drafting a contract; a new Negotiation Checklist may be particularly valuable to individual artists. LMDA will be distributing the Guidelines widely across the theatrical field and invites managing directors, producers, general managers, artistic directors and production managers to read the Guidelines and use them when appropriate to draft job descriptions and contracts.

The Second Edition features an extensive chapter on Property Rights, addressing complex issues of copyright that are often relevant to dramaturgs. Written following consultation with experts in the field of intellectual property rights and entertainment law, the guidelines in this area offer an overview of relevant issues regarding newsletter articles, program notes, educational materials, translations, casebooks, and production notebooks. This chapter examines the nuanced differences between the United States and Canada with regard to copyright and property rights.

LMDA thanks the following for their work on the Second Edition:


Scott Horstein, Brian Quirt

Revision Committee

Diane Brewer, Oliver Gerland, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Celise Kalke, Kristin Leahey, Michelle Kneale, Carrie Ryan, Vicki Stroich

Special thanks to Beth Blickers, Douglas Campbell, Debra Cardona, Danielle Carroll, Julie Felise Dubiner, Liz Engelman, Shirley Fishman, Shelley Orr, Geoff Proehl, Ed Sobel and Lynn M. Thomson for their contribution to the process.

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