Here are some of the founding ideas of from 14 years ago that led us to expand the portal today:

For over 25 years, The United Stage has served as a worldwide consortium for over 25,000 international Theatre professionals and amateurs who vehemently believe Playwrights must direct the original production of their plays in order for their vision to be wholly realized on stage.  There are no dues or membership fees to join.  No one makes any money off this site or off the idea or implementation of this entity.  We ask only for your support as Citizens of what we consider to be the paramount Playwright’s Project in the world.  United We Write & Direct.  Divided We Write.

The United Stage’s purpose is to force playwrights into taking responsibility for the entire vision of their plays by demanding they direct what they write in the initial production of their work. Good Playwrights see the play in their minds already… they set the lights… colors… sets… sounds and actors all within the pages of their scripts. The difficult part of that process is that it only begins once the play is written. To completely realize the play, the Playwright must take the written page and translate that vision into being on a live stage. It’s a great challenge and a great joy to bring the written word to life!

Who directed Shakespeare’s plays? Shakespeare directed Shakespeare! Who directed Moliere’s plays? Moliere directed Moliere! Playwrights started directing (and acting) in their own plays because they had to… there were no directors around to employ.
“Directors” are an invention in the last 100 years and they’ve become an unfortunate crutch that many untrained Playwrights are forced to lean upon.

Columbia University in the City of New York

During the late 80’s and early 90’s, the Directing head of Columbia University’s Oscar Hammerstein II Center for Theatre Studies had this open philosophy concerning the direction of new plays on the graduate school level: “Directors must place their thumbprints in the eye of each production they direct.” That directing style was hammered into the Columbia graduate directing students to the ultimate detriment of the graduate Playwrights. Beware that “director’s thumbprint” philosophy is not unique to Columbia. That harbinger against serving the playwright’s intent in favor of the director’s thumb led to the creation of The United Stage.

(Note: The United Stage was not, is not and shall not be associated or sponsored by Columbia University and vice-versa.)

Internationally renowned directors (some were hired to teach directing at Columbia) subscribe to that “thumbprint philosophy” as well. That ideal is even pursued by directors working on new plays! The United Stage believes Playwrights must NOT allow their plays to be manipulated by directors who seek to place their footprints in the sands of time at the expense of the Play’s original intent, desire and structure.

(Note: There are directors who are quite willing to collaborate and work with Playwrights and to assist in the full realization of the vision of the play without taking the “thumbprint attack” to skew new plays. We welcome that aesthetic as Citizens of The United Stage.)


  1. David,
    The desire to have my play only directed by me is one thing that has held it back for so long — well, more like my own inaction on getting it produced so I can direct it! I love the philosophy and idea of the United Stage and want to make it come alive when I direct my play! 🙂

  2. Strength, Gordon! You will do a great job directing your own play. You might need some technical help, but that’s what designers and assistant directors are for in every way! Finding an empty space can be the hardest part of putting on any live performance.

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