The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (DLDF) has released a new toolkit for those producing theatre in educational contexts, Dramatic Changes: A Guide to Producing Live Stage Works on College Campuses in Turbulent Times.
The toolkit details how students, educators, and administrators can address tensions between the rights of free expression and the need to advance values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access when producing shows on college campuses. It is designed to empower theatre makers to address any potential controversies that might arise at any stage of a production.
“We began to see an increase in attempts (some successful, some not) to shut down stage productions on college campuses. These attempts differed from such incidents in the past, not only in number, but in kind—in the complex and nuanced issues which they raised,” says DLDF President John Weidman. “Our ambition was to make a useful, balanced, and informed contribution to what are certain to be the ongoing debates around these college cancellations going forward. The DLDF’s Dramatic Changes toolkit is the result of our efforts.”
The resource was developed with a cohort of educators, activists, non-profit organizations, and dramatists. The group spent more than two years examining case studies to see how and why cancellations occurred, what the key moments were in the process that had caused them, and to identify similarities between cases. The toolkit provides legal context in which productions are produced and canceled, in addition to guidance for every step of a theatrical production, as well as providing a list of additional resources.
Visit TheDLDF.org to download the toolkit.