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Meet You in the #WikiTurgy Commons!


You might have heard that a band of roving dramaturgs—Jules Odendahl-James, Catherine María Rodríguez, and Russell M. Dembin—is overseeing a worldwide, Internet-wide Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on Tuesday, February 17. We’ll be adding to, editing, and creating entries for theatre artists, plays, companies, journalists/critics, and scholars from underrepresented groups. The call to contribute ranges far and welcomes edits in languages other than English.

The event will take place exactly one year after #TheSummit event that sparked nationwide discussion on the topic of gender parity, which folded into ongoing discussions about diversity and inclusion in U.S. theatre. By contributing to this project, you’ll actively support efforts toward a more inclusive and visible theatre community.

Our previous post offered a to-do list of preparations toward maximizing this event’s success and, we hope, starting a bi-annual or yearly tradition. Again, we call on Wikipedia-experienced contributors and others who might be interested in hosting in-person gatherings across the Americas to send an email with information or questions to [email protected]. Those who want to add their public support in other ways should also reach out—this is the Commons after all, and we’d love to hear and help realize your ideas.

I’m on board! How and where can I participate?
You can join us on your own via any computer with web access, or join/organize an editing session near you. Just remember to use #WikiTurgy on social media!

Here are some locations where you can edit alongside other participants on the 17th (make sure to RSVP if you’d like to participate):

  • New York, New York
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • College Park, Maryland
    • University of Maryland, College Park’s Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
    • 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Evening hours are possible depending on level of interest.)
    • Contact Megan Pagado: [email protected]. Facebook event here.
    • Research assistance is available from Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library librarians. Learn more about what resources are available at MSPAL.
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    • Chapel Hill Public Library
    • 2-5 p.m.
    • Coordinated by Jules Odendahl-James ([email protected]) and Jacqueline E. Lawton.
  • Austin, Texas
    • Coordinated by the University of Texas at Austin’s Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism
    • Contact Russell M. Dembin: [email protected].

If you don’t see a location in your area, don’t worry! It’s not too late to voice your interest in meeting up with other individuals or to organize a co-working session. It can be as simple as a regular gathering that you just turn into an Edit-a-Thon, a casual meet-up at a local coffee shop with good Wi-Fi, or it can be a larger public invite. Send an email to [email protected], and we’ll match you with other interested parties in your area. This online event is happening everywhere there’s Internet, so feel free to join in remotely.

We’ll be adding to, editing, and creating entries for theatre artists, plays, companies, journalists/critics, and scholars from underrepresented groups. The call to contribute ranges far and welcomes edits in languages other than English.

Wikipedia is huge! How do I start? And what should I try to edit or create?
"It’s probably good to get yourself set up as an editor by creating a Wikipedia account and by reviewing this handy guide to creating Wikipedia articles, “Your First Article.”

If you’re wondering where you might start with your preparations, maybe begin with the lists below, particularly if you have expertise regarding these artists’ work. Think of an entry as the kind of writing you’d do for a program note, whether the playwright’s biography or a historical overview of the author’s output—organizing the arc in a way that’s easy for the reader (and editor) to follow, without including original research.

Folks have noticed that there are no entries for the following playwrights:

Nastaran Ahmadi, Jonathan Caren, Alexander Collier, Migdalia Cruz, Michael Elyanow, Sarah Gancher, Madeleine George, Chisa Hutchinson, Mike Lew, Kenneth Lin, Dominique Morisseau, KJ Sanchez, Milcha Sanchez Scott, Jenny Schwartz, Crystal Skillman, and Martin Zimmerman.

A group of dramaturgy students at Carnegie Mellon would love support in editing entries they plan to create for the following:

  • The Kwagh-hir Theater of the Tiv people of Nigeria (only referenced in the entry about Gboko)
  • Playwright Sarah Gubbins
  • Epic Theatre Ensemble in New York City
  • Mu Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and his play Neighbors (among others)
  • Playwright Christina Anderson
  • Suzan-Lori Parks’ play Venus
  • Playwright Octavio Solis (there is a very confusing blended entry for Solis that needs work)
  • Playwright Kristoffer Diaz and his play The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (The play has an entry. The playwright does not.)

An incomplete list of existing playwrights’ pages that could use improvement, whether adding category labels or fact-checking:

Of course, this project isn’t limited to dramatists. Fundamentally, almost all of Wikipedia’s theatre-related entries could use rigorous editing, and that goes a thousand fold for artists already underrepresented in the main.

Do you have an entry or topic that you want to see expanded? Fill out this form, even if you can’t participate on the 17th.

New to Wikipedia? Some Do’s and Don’t’s:

  • Visit this page to review how to request and review articles that need to be created.
  • Cite reputable sources, like academic books, articles from peer-reviewed journals and fact-checked magazines, and websites of public media outlets such as PBS.org and NPR.org.
    • There are some great books that discuss and/or interview multiple established and emerging artists. Their bibliographies are also wonderful sources that you can trace back to other materials to cite.
  • Do not include original research.
  • Within the text, cross-reference (via hyperlink) other Wikipedia entries.
  • Double-check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Follow Wikipedia’s five rules of copy editing: make sure your writing is “clear, correct, concise, comprehensible, and consistent.”
  • Suggestion: Once you’ve found all of your sources, draft your entry in a word processing program such as Word or Pages (with minimal formatting of footnotes) and then cut and paste your text into the Wiki page; adjust formatting within Wikipedia separately.
  • For further questions, consult Wikipedia’s content guidelines.

We look forward to “seeing” you on the 17th! We’re excited to work together to make the virtual theatre world a more inclusive place.


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