I’m never going to earn my living from my playwriting.
There. I’ve accepted what more and more playwrights are saying. Royalties and commissions will never earn me a living wage.
I heard playwrights at the Dramatists Guild conference say that this should change. That theaters should pay playwrights better. That theaters should give playwrights a home. After all, we write what they produce. Playwrights who are part of acting companies do great work.
Molly Smith, the Artistic Director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., gave a keynote talk about Arena Stage’s new program to hire playwrights and pay them a salary, give them health benefits, and provide them the resources they need to work. All this without telling them what to write or how to work.
I think this is fabulous. Arena Stage is doing something wonderful for playwrights. Five playwrights will be on staff for three years each.
But I got to thinking. Suppose every theater in the United States could do that. Would there be enough jobs so we could all earn a living wage for the rest of our working lives?
I don’t think so.
So, while I hope that “Lessons from Moonshine” will have many wonderful productions, and earn me lots of royalties, and lead to many commissions, I know that I need to find something to do in addition to writing plays.