Playwrights and Power: The Making of the Dramatists Guild

The Drama Book Shop is pleased to welcome author Thom Walsh for a discussion and signing of his new book Playwrights and Power: The Making of the Dramatists Guild. The Thursday, May 11th, 5:00 event is free and open to the public.

In this new and insightful history of the Dramatists Guild of America, historian Thomas J. Walsh reveals for the first time the people, the passion,and the pocketbook issues that led to the creation of what many call the strongest writers organization in the world. Based on extensive research, Walsh delves into the evolution of playwrights’ authorship rights in America, including: George Henry Boker’s efforts in the mid-nineteenth century to extend copyright protection for dramatic writing to include royalties for productions; Bronson Howard’s creation of the Dramatist Club to combat the powerful Theatrical Trusts of the late-nineteenth century; Arthur Train and the creation of the Authors League to defend an author’s ownership of his or her copyright; and George Middleton and Arthur Richman’s effort to organize the American playwrights of the 1920s (including such authors as Eugene O’Neill and Rachel Crothers) together to protect their right over the production of their work with adoption of the first Minimum Basic Agreement between playwrights and theatrical managers.  In this illuminating and detailed history, Walsh concentrates his study on the contracts, characters, and conflicts that produce the that produced the founding of the Dramatists Guild and its growth and challenges through the end of the twentieth century. His work is an exciting new look at what has been called “the playwrights’ century” in America and how the Dramatists Guild encouraged, supported, and fought for its member authors.

Thomas J. Walsh is a Professor of Theatre History at Texas Christian University and the Founding Artistic Director of the Trinity Shakespeare Festival, a professional equity theatre housed on the campus of TCU. His research interests are in the history and theory of authorship. He has a BA in Journalism from San Diego State University and an MFA in Playwriting and a PhD. in Theatre History and Criticism from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with Oscar Brockett. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter: @walshworkThe Tony Award-winning Drama Book Shop, now in its 100th Anniversary Year, is located at 250 West 40th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Events are free and open to the public. To learn more, please visit 

Event date: 

Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 5:00pm

Event address: 

Playwrights and Power: The Making of the Dramatists Guild Cover Image
ISBN: 9781575259031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Smith & Kraus - October 12th, 2016