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PlayPenn Continues Rebuilding By Adding Two NewAssociate Artistic Directors To Its Own Playbill: 2022 Brings New Leadership, The Return of Its Annual New Play Development Conference, Organizational Evolution, And More

 

PlayPenn announced the addition of two new Associate Artistic Directors: Susan Dalian (she/her) and Santiago Iacinti (they/them), who join the nationally acclaimed artist-driven organization dedicated to the development of new plays and playwrights. Collectively, the newly-hired leaders have decades of experience bringing plays to life—on- and off-stage—directing, developing scripts, writing, and production.

Associate Artistic Directors Dalian and Iacinti join PlayPenn at a critical moment for the organization, months before the return of its highly regarded annual New Play Development Conference, for which, this year PlayPenn accepted original scripts exclusively from Philadelphia playwrights. The Conference will present workshops and readings of six plays, additional readings of up to three works-in-progress, forums for artists, and a symposium or special programming on new play development issues or current events.

“PlayPenn fosters playwrights that are reflective of the community we live in,” said Artistic Director Che’Rae Adams, who assumed her position in January 2022. “The plays we develop—at the Conference and year-round—are an expression of the concerns of the present time. The appointments of Susan and Santi—with their extensive professional portfolios and personal life experiences—bring additional perspectives and approaches to PlayPenn and will help inform our work.”

“It’s a new day for American theatre—one that’s long overdue—and I believe that PlayPenn is rising to the occasion,” said Susan Dalian. “I was drawn to this leadership role because it presents the opportunity to really dig into the producing side of the art. As a Black female who has worked in this space for many years, rarely seeing myself reflected in these types of roles, I am excited to help shape PlayPenn’s future.”

“I feel a great sense of pride to be perhaps the first, if not only, Associate Artistic Director that is nonbinary, a DACA recipient, and a person of color,” said Santiago Iacinti. “But at the same time, this job is not about me and my personal gain, it is about making space for others. I want to center the artist and their creative process, and foster future artistic leaders from underrepresented communities.”

This year, PlayPenn received more than 120 original scripts from Philadelphia-based playwrights. Calls-for-submissions had historically been open to playwrights from across the country, but this year, an emphasis was put on the local community to support the talent and foster relationships with writers where the national nonprofit is based.

“It has been a homecoming of sorts for PlayPenn, going back to the basics of nurturing the thriving talent in Philadelphia which is a rich and vibrant artistic community,” said Adams, who relocated to Philadelphia from Los Angeles, while associates Dalian and Iacinti settle into PlayPenn.


Susan Dalian (she/her)

is a director based in Los Angeles. She has an extensive background in directing staged readings, working closely with playwrights as they develop their work. Recently, Dalian worked with Ricardo Pérez González to direct a virtual reading of his play Mother of God at Echo Theater Company’s Playwrights LAB 2022, and she directed several staged virtual readings in 2021, including Iseult et Tristan by Pia Wilson, (La Mama, NY/IAMA, LA), How To Raise a Freeman by Zakiyyah Alexander (AMMO Theatre), Breaking Barriers by Katrina D. RiChard (USC’sNew Works Festival), and Villains by Marq Ewing (LA Writer’s Center).

Susan was Resident Director at Sierra Classic Theatre from 2014 to 2018, directing unique concept stagings of several Shakespeare plays. She has also acted in many plays, films, and television shows. Susan has been a guest artist for the past four years teaching Storytelling through Improv with Burbank Unified School District. She is a graduate of Boston University’s B.F.A program.

Santiago Iacinti (they/them)

is a director and educator based in New York City. Their background is primarily in new work, including numerous World and American Premiere Productions in the U.S. Their work includes plays by contemporary playwrights Basil Kreimendahl, Kimber Lee, Winter Miller, Nick Gandiello, Mat Smart, Andrew Bovell, Rajiv Joseph, Guadalís Del Carmen, Andres Osorio, and Jordan Ramirez Puckett. Mentors include May Adrales and Eric Keen-Louie. Before being named Associate Artistic Director and Education Associate at PlayPenn, Santi was an inaugural member of the Roundabout Directors Group. They worked as a casting associate at X Casting NYC, a sexual harassment prevention trainer at ART/NY, in arts engagement at The Old Globe, and as a directing resident at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Their training includes Sarah Lawrence College (MFA), University of San Diego (BA), Directors Lab West, and the Meisner Chekhov Integrated Studio.

Their work aims to use identity consciousness to create new futures both on- and off-stage, for queer artists of color. Santi identifies as gay femme nonbinary. They were born in Mexico. They are a Dreamer and DACA recipient. Also, an activist, Santi’s story has been featured by SDC as well as Lyft. They are bilingual and speak Spanish fluently.

Employment

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Equal Opportunity Employment

PlayPenn hires on the basis of employment equity. We believe supporting each other’s individual stories is essential to our work.  The more inclusive we are, the more impactful our collective story will be.

PlayPenn recognizes that given structural inequities there is no level playing field with regards to people’s experiences and job qualifications. We seek collaboration with those who bring a range of perspectives, skills and experiences to the work of advancing new plays and playwrights. We welcome candidates to include all relevant skills and knowledge in their application, regardless of whether these abilities were developed through paid work, volunteer work or personal experience.

Opportunities

There are no open positions at PlayPenn at this time. Please check back for further details!

Foundry Reading @ Plays and Players: Kevin Esmond

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Join PlayPenn @ Plays & Players in the 3rd Floor Skinner Studio for free work in progress readings by current members of The Foundry. Quig’s will be open before, during, and after each reading. No reservations needed.

Do-Gooders

by Kevin Esmond

When:
February 20, 2020
Time: 7:30pm

Where:
Upstairs at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA

The Play:

Mack Abbott is sort of like a superhero, but more like someone who patrols the suburbs of late-stage capitalism awkwardly trying to make the world better.  This play tells of their legendary adventures, featuring fender benders, stolen Adderall, and a nemesis with a gun.

Questions? Contact Quinn D. Eli at: quinndestaleli@gmail.com

UNBECOMING by Emma Watkins

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Playwright Emma Watkins.

PlayPenn Education is pleased to host a public reading of a new play, UNBECOMING, by Emma Watkins.

When and Where:
February 24th, 2020 at 7:00PM, The Horan Studio at the Hamilton Family Arts Center (62 North Second Street, Philadelphia, PA)
Please note there will be no late seating at this performance.

The Play:

UNBECOMING is a play about motherhood, metamorphosis and myth.

Charlotte Guest is a Victorian housewife and the mother of seven. Much to her husband’s dismay, she also aspires to be the first to translate into English an ancient collection of Celtic myths called the Mabinogion. In this endeavor, Charlotte encounters the story of a woman conjured from flowers to become a bride. But when the strictures of motherhood come into conflict with Charlotte’s
writing, she considers abandoning her translation.

While giving birth to her eighth child, Charlotte tumbles into a fevered dream. There, she watches the Woman of Flowers retell the Mabinogion. After learning the truth behind the myth, Charlotte must confront the feminine role that she both endures and perpetuates.

Readings are free and open to the public.

Tickets will be available up until 3pm the day of the reading. After 3pm, tickets will be available at the door.

Questions? Contact mail@playpenn.org

Emma Watkins is a playwright, scholar, and dramaturg. With the support of a Fulbright Award, she spent the past year in Wales, studying performance adaptations of myth and medieval literature. Her MA in Welsh and Celtic Studies at Cardiff University culminated with the writing of a new play, Unbecoming. Emma’s plays have been presented at the McCarter Theatre Lab, Chapter Arts Centre (Wales, UK), and at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Emma graduated from Princeton in 2018 and is currently the Literary Apprentice at McCarter Theatre.
emmacwatkins.com

Foundry Reading @ Plays and Players: Devin Randall

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Join PlayPenn @ Plays & Players in the 3rd Floor Skinner Studio for free work in progress readings by current members of The Foundry. Quig’s will be open before, during, and after each reading. No reservations needed.

Cookies & Creamed

by Devin Randall

When:
January 9, 2020
Time: 7:30pm

Where:
Upstairs at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA

 

Watch Damian run. From Grindr trade, scary dates, and his own right mind, he is a hamster on a wheel of sex addiction. But can a nostalgic trip with a haunting figure and a studio stuffed with queer men change his ways? Or, will he be lost forever?

Questions? Contact Quinn D. Eli at: quinndestaleli@gmail.com

Foundry Reading @ Plays and Players: Paige Zubel

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Join PlayPenn @ Plays & Players in the 3rd Floor Skinner Studio for free work in progress readings by current members of The Foundry. Quig’s will be open before, during, and after each reading. No reservations needed.

Dead Meat

by Paige Zubel

When:
December 10, 2019
Time: 7:30pm

Where:
Upstairs at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA

 

It’s the end of the world. A once-promising medication goes awry, mutating 51% of the world’s population into shells of human beings, with only the basic motor functions left to chase, bite, and kill. (Yep. They’re zombies.) Three men–seemingly alone in the apocalypse–are honestly pretty all right with it. Until Alex, an intersex woman, distorts the dichotomies in which these men view their black and white world.

Paige Zubel
Questions? Contact Quinn D. Eli at: quinndestaleli@gmail.com

Foundry Reading @ Plays and Players: Lisa VillaMil

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Join PlayPenn @ Plays and Players in the 3rd Floor Skinner Studio for a free work in progress readings by current members of The Foundry. Quig’s will be open before, during, and after each reading. No reservations needed.

Siren

by Lisa VillaMil

When:
November 12, 2019
Time: 7:30pm

Where:
Upstairs at Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA

 

A sparse, intense, lyrical story about the tricky nature of grief, Siren is part of an occasional, informal series of readings hosted on the top floor of Plays & Players Theater featuring works-in-progress by emerging local playwrights affiliated with PlayPenn’s new plays initiative, The Foundry. After the reading, a brief discussion of the play will be moderated by Foundry co-founder Quinn Eli.

Questions? Contact Quinn D. Eli at: quinndestaleli@gmail.com

I LIVE YOU [AUTOCORRECT] by Douglas Williams

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Playwright Douglas Williams.

PlayPenn is pleased to host two public readings of a new play, I LIVE YOU [AUTOCORRECT], by Douglas Williams. These readings are the culmination of a week long developmental workshop.

When and Where:
October 21st, 2019 at 7:00PM, The Bluver Theatre (302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA)
October 23rd, 2019 at 7:00PM, Theatre Horizon (401 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA)
Please note there will be no late seating at these performances.

I LIVE YOU [AUTOCORRECT]

By Douglas Williams
Director: Matthew S. Decker
Dramaturg: Michele Volansky

Cast: Caroline Dooner, Dave Johnson, Leigha Kato, and Garrick Vaughan

Most days, Sara’s only in-depth conversation is with the Google Home that sits next to her bed. Drowning in technology and overworked at her job at Zipcar, Sara travels to a remote location in Upstate New York for the soft opening of a new, mysterious digital detox retreat.

Readings are free and open to the public.

Tickets will be available up until 3pm the day of the reading. After 3pm, tickets will be available at the door.

Questions? Contact mail@playpenn.org

Doug Williams‘ plays have been produced and developed at PlayPenn, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Azuka Theatre, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, The Foundry & The Painted Bride, among others.

He is the Playwright-In-Residence at Azuka Theatre who has produced three of his plays, including the upcoming SHIP.

His play Shitheads was recommended for the Harold & Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and was the winner of 4 Philadelphia Critics’ Awards including Best New Play & Best Overall Production.

Foundry Readings @ Plays and Players

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Join PlayPenn @ Plays and Players in the 3rd Floor Skinner Studio for a series of free work in progress readings by current members of The Foundry. Quig’s will be open before, during, and after each reading. No reservations needed.

My Grandma Said It Was Gonna Rain

by Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters

When:
June 25, 2019
Time: 7pm

Where:
Upstairs at Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA

 

Emmy’s parents died this summer. Between selling the family farm and painting houses with the town medium, Emmy is juggling her new role as caretaker of her eccentric grandma. Family, duty, and pickling form a new trinity in this exploration of the small town girl.

Battman and Jesus

by Teresa Miller

When:
July 9, 2019
Time: 7pm

Where:
Upstairs at Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA

 

Cholley Johnson joined the army to escape the trauma of his preacher father only to be discharged from the Vietnam war and forced to confront his past.

Stray Cats and Pecan Pie

by Julie Zaffarano

When:
July 23, 2019
Time: 7pm

Where:
Upstairs at Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA

 

Olivia, a college freshman, is “super excited” to find her birth mother, Darlene, who is significantly less enthralled. When Olivia pushes Darlene for information about her birth father, Darlene reluctantly reveals far more than Olivia expects.  Can these two find their way to acceptance?

Better to Have Never Been

by Jenny Ruymann

When:
July 30, 2019
Time: 7pm

Where:
Upstairs at Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA

 

Based on anti-natalist philosopher David Benatar’s book of a nearly identical title, this new work is about the question of whether living brings each of us a far greater pain than we even know, and whether it is even “worth it” to ask such questions. Better to Have Never Been is about the infant babies and old-age babies, and how we gauge the quality of what happens in between.

Questions? Contact Foundry Leader Quinn D. Eli at: quinndestaleli@gmail.com

HOW A BOY FALLS by Steven Dietz

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Playwright Steven Dietz. Photo by John Ullman.

PlayPenn is pleased to host a public reading of a new play, How a Boy Falls, by Steven Dietz.

When: June 3, 2019 at 7:00PM
Please note there will be no late seating at this performance.

Where: The Bob and Selma Horan Studio Theatre at the Arden’s Hamilton Family Center, located at 62 N. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

How a Boy Falls

By Steven Dietz

Director: Anne Marie Cammarato

Dramaturgs: Michele Volansky and Paul Meshejian

 

The loss of a young boy casts suspicion on his newly-hired au pair, as well as on the wealthy parents who have hired her.  As the parents seek revenge upon one another, the young au pair is hatching a plot of her own.  How a Boy Falls is a psychological thriller about the way in which past events can be weaponized to shape the present.

 

This reading is free and open to the public.  

 

Tickets will be available up until 4pm the day of the reading. After 4pm, tickets will be available at the door.

Questions? Contact mail@playpenn.org

Steven Dietz‘s thirty-plus plays and adaptations have been seen at over one hundred regional theatres in the United States, as well as Off-Broadway. International productions have been seen in over twenty countries, including recently in Brazil, Thailand, South Africa, Estonia and Iran. His work has been translated into a dozen languages. Recent world premieres include Bloomsday (Steinberg New Play Award Citation); This Random World (Humana Festival of New American Plays); Rancho Mirage (Edgerton New Play Award), and On Clover Road (NNPN “rolling world premiere”). His interlocking plays for adult and youth audiences (The Great Beyond and The Ghost of Splinter Cove) recently premiered in Charlotte, NC. A two-time winner of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award (Fiction, Still Life with Iris), Dietz is also a two-time finalist for the American Theatre Critic’s Steinberg New Play Award (Last of the Boys, Becky’s New Car). He received the PEN USA West Award in Drama for Lonely Planet, and the Edgar Award® for Drama for Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. Currently a Dramatists Guild “Traveling Master”, Dietz teaches workshops in playwriting and story-making across the U.S. He and his wife, playwright Allison Gregory, divide their time between Seattle and Austin.