jakub | April 3, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | PlayPenn Announces New Initiatives for Playwrights


Associate artistic director Susan Dalian, artistic director Che'Rae Adams, and associate artistic director/director of education Santiago Iacinti. (Photo by James Kern Photography)

PHILADELPHIA: PlayPenn has announced the creation of two new programs to expand the organization’s support for playwrights. The Playwrights Cohort at PlayPenn, offered in partnership with the Dramatists Guild, will be a year-long professional development program open to emerging Philadelphia playwrights and will focus on navigating the industry. An existing program called The Foundry will continue to center on the playwright’s artistic growth, while the new Cohort will empower freelance writers to grow as entrepreneurs capable of making savvy business decisions.

“Understanding your craft is important,” said Dramatists Guild executive director of creative affairs Emmanuel Wilson in a statement, “but craft without building the necessary skills to understand commerce and self-advocacy breeds far too many situations where a writer can be taken advantage of. Philadelphia writers are craving community spaces to better understand their place in the industry, and no one is better suited to create these spaces than PlayPenn and the Dramatists Guild.”

Every month, field experts will engage the cohort on subjects such as entertainment law, building a portfolio, finding representation, having agency in the rehearsal room, managing personal finances, and more. The Cohort will operate on a hybrid model, holding monthly meetings in person and online. Applications are now available on the PlayPenn website and will be accepted through April 4.

Videologues: A PlayPenn Speaker Series is a new program helmed by PlayPenn’s associate artistic director and director of education, Santiago Iacinti, which will offer a series of interviews with creative luminaries in the new-play development field. Each session will be filmed and available online to stream on demand.

This year’s programming, which along with these new initiatives includes a series of Foundry readings and independent workshops in July, will enable PlayPenn to support more playwrights in 2023 than the number of writers historically selected for the conference. “The leadership team knows and honors what the conference means to the community, and now we are interested in what more PlayPenn can offer,” said PlayPenn’s artistic director Che’Rae Adams in a statement.

PlayPenn also plans to present a revitalized New Play Development Conference in 2025 in celebration of their 20th anniversary.

PlayPenn is a Philadelphia artist-driven organization dedicated to the development of new plays and playwrights. PlayPenn seeks to support the needs of the writer and the demands of the play in an ever-evolving process within which playwrights can engage in risk taking, boundary-pushing work.

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