What is a Dramaturg? The Millionth, Billionth Explanation

For me, this isn’t the most interesting question. But I should have known when I put “Playwright, Dramaturg, and Screenwriter” on my business card, it would come up all the time.

As if my last name weren’t a cause for enough question, explanation, and fun introductory chit-chat, I had to include this.

It’s just another label, but it is one that describes me.

But what does that mean?

There are a variety of explanations already out there. See the scrolling definitions on the side of the LMDA website (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America) or the article I wrote about last year’s LMDA mini-conference in Toronto.

At this year’s conference, I thought I would just attend. But I can’t stop my compulsive note-taking and instead starting brainstorming a new way to describe what we do. Because perhaps it’s not a noun that can encompass what dramaturgs do, but verbs.


It’s not much of an explanation, at least not a short one I can pull out of my head at networking events. For dramaturgy, I think the constant evolution of what the term means depending on the situation is part and parcel to its definition and practice. It’s process-based, relationship-based, and therefore, almost impossible to pin down job title.

And depending on when you ask, it’s what I’m doing and it’s who I am.

Stay tuned for more updates on my largest dramaturgy project to date for more tips, hints, and reports on what @austinausten’s dramaturgy.


About austinausten88

Playwright in love with Classic films, afternoon tea, and Noel Coward. She recently graduated from Rice University. In the fall, she will be exchanging her English major undergraduate status for that of Theatre & Performance Studies graduate student.
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