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Dramaturgy: Home

Looking for all editions of a play in all available languages? Need more info about the plays context, the playwright or when it was performed? This information and more can be found within these pages. Just click the tabs on the top of the page.

Use the tabs at the top of the page and click or the subject librarian link if you need help.

What is Dramaturgy?

Practice of Dramaturgy

"Dramaturgy is a comprehensive exploration of the context in which the play resides. The dramaturg is the resident expert on the physical, social, political, and economic milieus in which the action takes place, the psychological underpinnings of the characters, the various metaphorical expressions in the play of thematic concerns; as well as on the technical consideration of the play as a piece of writing: structure, rhythm, flow, even individual word choices.  

Institutional dramaturg's may participate in many phases of play production including casting of the play, offering inhouse criticism of productions-in-progress, and informing the director, the cast and the audience about a play’s past history and its current importance. They may files of materials about a plays history or social context, prepare program notes, lead postproduction discussions, write study guides for schools and groups. These actions can assist a director in integrating textual and acting criticism, performance theory, and historical research into a production before it opens."

Cardullo, Bert. What is Dramaturgy? New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2005



Here are some verbs that may describe the responsibility of the dramaturg: researching, studying, summarizing, focusing, articulating, writing, communicating, questioning, guarding and/or protecting.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) widely considered by theatre historians to be the first dramaturg.

Description: Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786, links) im Tischgespräch mit Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781, rechts) Source: Kupferstich nach einem Gemälde von Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (1800-1882)To my knowledge is the person on the right Johann Kaspar Lavater. This Swiss theologist tries to convert Moses Mendelssohn to Christianity as you can see him pointing at the text on a bookpage. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing is standing in the back, near the chessboard, his favourite game. Him being rather vain and fond of dressing to the latest mode as you can see.

Some other Libguides that may guide you in your research

Avery Fisher Center

Literary managers and & Dramaturgs of the Americas

New Books