LMDA has created Sample Contracts as a supplement to the Employment Guidelines. These Contracts are intended as templates from which an individual or organization may draft a contract for a range of institutional and freelance dramaturgy positions. These Sample Contracts incorporate language that is the industry norm in the North American theatre business and are provided with commentary written by the editors to give context for use in drafting dramaturgy contracts.
The following Sample Contracts are available:
- Script Reading / Consultation
- Writing for Theatre Publication
- Festival Dramaturgy
- Commercial Dramaturgy
- Development Dramaturgy Outside of a Festival Setting
- Non-Profit Production Dramaturgy
The Sample Contracts address many of the components that may arise in a dramaturgical engagement, but in many situations it will be necessary to change the Sample Contract to reflect the needs of the parties or the project at hand. LMDA urges all parties to use the Sample Contracts as a starting point from which to adapt to the specifics of the contractual conditions under discussion. You are encouraged to expand or edit the text as appropriate.
Most of the samples are drafted for Dramaturg-Theatre negotiations, but could in many cases be adapted for Dramaturg-Playwright or Dramaturg-Director collaborations as well.
Your state or province may have required clauses or language that is not addressed in the samples. While LMDA offers these as generic contracts that can be adapted for use in Canada and the United States, it is your responsibility to ensure that appropriate language and clauses are included for your jurisdiction.
Please consult the LMDA Employment Guidelines prior to adapting these sample contracts to your situation. LMDA recommends that you review ‘The Dramaturg–Employer Relationship’ (pp. 4-5); ‘Negotiating a Contract’ (pp. 6-7); and ‘Guidelines for Freelance Dramaturgs’ (pp. 15-19) for detailed commentary that may be useful in customizing these sample contracts as part of the negotiation process. All dramaturgs should familiarize themselves with the section ‘Property Rights for Dramaturgs’ (pp. 6-14).
A good practice, even once a contract is agreed upon and signed, is for the Dramaturg to be proactive and timely in reminding the other contracting party of elements (such as billing arrangements) that can easily and without malice be forgotten in the everyday business of theatre management. Many theatres contract with other kinds of artists in much greater numbers than with dramaturgs, and may not have it as standard organizational procedure to follow through on aspects of dramaturg work agreements even when agreed upon in good faith.
Lastly, please note that the Sample Contracts are provided only as recommendations by LMDA as a professional service organization. LMDA does not intend for them to be construed as an act of collective bargaining by the organization with the rest of the field, nor does LMDA intend for them to be construed as legal advice. Their use is not binding for LMDA members nor for any other artist or individual consulting them.
Scott Horstein | Brian Quirt
Co-Editors, June 2016
Thank you to LMDA members Ken Cerniglia, Stephen Colella, Julie Dubiner, Liz Engelman, Nakissa Etemad, Oliver Gerland, Kristen Leahey, Carrie Ryan, and Jayne Wenger for their contributions to the process.
Thank you to outside reviewers Robert Drake, Gary Glenn, Naila McKenzie, Alysse Rich, Seth Stuhl, Christopher Voci and Nancy Webster for their important comments and suggestions.
LMDA President: Bryan Moore | LMDA Board Chair: Brian Quirt
Suggestions for the continued refinement of these contracts welcome.
Please contact LMDA’s Administrative Director: firstname.lastname@example.org