When I moved to Alabama, I figured out that this was no longer going to work for me. Quite simply, I could no longer afford to send plays out to companies who charged submission fees. I could no longer pay for my own productions. I had been bled dry.(This is why I recoil when theaters ask theater artists for money to "stay alive." It's an upside paradigm. It's as if I had to pay money to work. Can you imagine giving your job money so you could work? I don't mind helping with funding nonprofits, like lending my time for grant writing. But don't ask me for money, especially when you don't pay playwrights a living wage to begin with.)So, I went out of business. This was the one of the basic reasons I quit theater. I was too ashamed at the time to admit it. It's taboo to talk about debt, especially in specific terms. I don't mind because a) I'm paying it off, b) I'm not going bankrupt like others and c) becoming honest about the situation frees others to be honest as well.
This isn't to demonize those who are affluent, but I've often wondered how much success in theater is tied to the ability to simply afford it. Sure, there's a talent factor and a connections/education factor (I'm looking at YOU Brown University MFA graduates!); but it's a perverse hardship on many writers who come from modest means to afford living in expensive cities, self-produce, have memberships to various organizations, afford mailing costs, etc.
You have to spend money to make money in almost all industries: but those industries often offer some rate of return for hard work. Even if a playwright goes into debt and does become a success, very few of us will be able to pay down the accrued debt without some other source of income. If you're going into debt for law school, the expectation is you're about to become a lawyer, after all.