The recent trend among American theaters towards the appointment of literary managers or "Dramaturgs" has, I believe, awakened interest in this function, which, in most countries of Europe with established companies, is regarded as being as essential to the smooth running of their operation as the work of directors and designers. The function of Dramaturg is organically linked to the existence of theaters with long-term artistic policies, permanent companies, and a planned repertoire. The absence of the Dramaturg, until relatively recent times, in the theater of the English-speaking world, was intimately connected with a commercial system which precluded the development of a long-term repertoire policy, as each production was planned as a separate commercial venture unconnected to any previous ones except, perhaps, by the personality of the producer.
In the original Greek meaning of the term, a Dramaturg is simply a playwright. He was, originally, in the theatrical companies of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the resident playwright who wrote his own plays for the actors in the troupe, or found foreign plays which he translated, say, from the French or Italian, or produced cut versions of classical plays that required a cast too large for the restricted number of actors available to his particular troupe.
From this function there developed the contemporary job of the Dramaturg, most clearly defined today in the German theater. The German pattern of theatre is dominated by the existence of highly subsidized permanent companies in all cities of above, roughly, fifty thousand inhabitants. There are some 120 such theaters. These theatres, National, State, or Municipal, all have a system of genuine repertoire. In other words, a visitor