On July 29, 2019, the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. will hold its annual Awards Night in the Penthouse Lounge at the American Airlines Theater in New York City. An award from the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund will be presented to Svetlana Mintcheva, NCAC’s Director of Programs, for NCAC’s fierce commitment to protecting and advocating for the First Amendment.
The Defender Award is given in recognition of an individual or company’s efforts in support of free expression in the dramatic arts. This award is selected annually by the board of the DLDF and is presented at the Guild’s Awards Night. This year, the award will be presented by DLDF Executive Director, Ralph Sevush.
Director of Programs, Svetlana Mintcheva, has been with NCAC for over a decade and has regularly collaborated with the DLDF and the Guild during that time to intervene when theater productions are threatened with cancellation. Recent cases include the withdrawal of public funds from a production of Calendar Girls in Georgia due to a perceived “implication” of nudity (though there is no nudity in the play), and the cancellation of a Wisconsin high school’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird due to the iconic work’s inclusion of a racial epithet in the context of challenging racism. The NCAC has also worked with the DLDF to create a resource for students and educators facing censorship in their schools, called The Show Must Go On: A Toolkit for Organizing Against Theater Censorship in Public Schools.
The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization created by the Guild to advocate for free expression in the dramatic arts and a vibrant public domain for all, and to educate the public about the industry standards surrounding theatrical production and about the protections afforded dramatists under copyright law.
The Dramatists Guild of America was established a century ago and is the professional trade association for playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists writing for the stage. The Guild has over 8,000 members nationwide and around the world, from beginning writers to the most prominent authors represented on Broadway. The current officers of the Guild are Doug Wright (president), Lisa Kron (vice-president), Lynn Nottage (secretary), and Julia Jordan (treasurer).