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A dramaturge or dramaturg is a literary adviser or editor in a theatre, opera, or film company who researches, selects, adapts, edits, and interprets scripts, libretti, texts, and printed programmes (or helps others with these tasks), consults with authors, and does public relations work.[1][2][3] Its modern-day function was originated by the innovations of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, an 18th-century German playwright, philosopher, and theatre theorist.[4]


One of the dramaturg(e)'s contributions is to categorise and discuss the various types of plays or operas, their interconnectedness and their styles. The responsibilities of a dramaturg(e) vary from one theatre or opera company to the next. They might include the hiring of actors, the development of a season of plays or operas with a sense of coherence among them, assistance with and editing of new plays or operas by resident or guest playwrights or composers/librettists, the creation of programmes or accompanying educational services, helping the director with rehearsals, and serving as elucidator of history or spokesperson for deceased or otherwise absent playwrights or composers. At larger theatres or opera houses, the dramaturg(e) works on the historical and cultural research into the play or opera and its setting.

In theatre companies, a dramaturg(e) will create a workbook for the director and actors (usually these are different) and work extensively with the director prior to the first rehearsal.[5]

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  1. ^ Company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. "The American Heritage Dictionary entry: dramaturge". Ahdictionary.com. Retrieved 23 August 2018. 
  2. ^ "Dramaturge definition and meaning - Collins English Dictionary". Collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 23 August 2018. 
  3. ^ "dramaturge - Definition of dramaturge in US English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries - English. Retrieved 23 August 2018. 
  4. ^ Schecter, Joel (1995). Cardullo, Bert, ed. What is Dramaturgy?. American University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-8204-2177-3. While at the Hamburg National Theatre, Lessing wrote Hamburg Dramaturgy, a collection of essays on theatre which popularised dramaturgy as both a word and a practice. Today Lessing's successors — resident theatre critics throughout Germany and Austria — are called dramaturg(e)s. 
  5. ^ Proehl, Geoffrey S (2008). Toward a Dramaturgical Sensibility:landscape and journey. Associated University Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8386-4112-5. dramaturgy is the name given to that set of elements necessary to the working of a play at any moment in its passage from imagination to embodiment... 

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