A playwright is a person who writes a play to be produced and performed by members of a theatre.
The history of the playwright dates all the way back to the Greek era of theatre around 500 B.C.. In that era, playwriting was often a form of competition between writers who were seeking praise from the their gods . Notably through time, playwrights have been responsible for the ever-changing subject matter of plays and also influencing great changes in theatre such as stagecraft and the use of special effects. Some famous modern playwrights include William Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Oscar Wilde .
A playwright is responsible for writing a play, which includes but isn’t limited to spoken words, actions, and staging notes. Sometimes, the job ends there but often times a playwright desires to be more involved in production other than just writing the script. Often a playwright will go on to be involved with scenic development, involved with marketing the play, or even perform as an actor in the play . Some other common terms used to describe a playwright are dramatist, writer, librettist, and scripter  . Playwrights might write a play on their own or through a commission. Playwrights also might write an adaption of a novel or other literary work to be performed on the theatre stage .
Creating a Play
Writing a play may create the need for extensive research on the era of the desired time period of the play. Such research topics may be socio-economic status, social norms, and typical accents or speech patterns of an area. A playwright might also work closely with other members of the production, such as director, music composer, scenic designer, and sound designers, for help in realizing ideas that would work best while actually composing the play .
There are several organizations available to help develop and further the careers of playwrights. Some examples include
The Theatre Communications Group, in particular, provides career development and also many opportunities for playwrights to travel worldwide and collaborate with international theaters and productions. Many larger cities, such as Chicago, Boston, and New York, also have regional organizations to promote playwright opportunities within their respective areas.
- Think Quest: http://library.thinkquest.org/21722/literature%20and%20history.html
- History Orb: http://www.historyorb.com/literature/playwright/anton-chekhov
- Wise Geek: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-a-playwright-do.htm
- Thesaurus.com: http://thesaurus.com/browse/playwright
- Playwrights Horizons: http://www.playwrightshorizons.org/
- The ATHE: http://www.athe.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=70