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.


    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

    June 25, 2019
    Time: 7pm

    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

    July 9, 2019
    Time: 7pm

    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

    July 23, 2019
    Time: 7pm

    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

    July 30, 2019
    Time: 7pm

    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.

    HOMERIDAE by Alexandra Espinoza

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    Twice a year PlayPenn provides a free, professional public reading for a currently enrolled studentHomeridae by Alexandra Espinoza is the recipient of our spring semester play selection.

    May 13, 2019
    Time: 7pm

    The Proscenium Theater at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA


    Mac, an adjunct lecturer, and Nessa, a freshman, have a lot in common. They’re slightly awkward, deeply passionate about Homer’s The Odyssey, and are both African-Americans in a very white department at a very white school. They stumble upon the discovery that Homer himself came from Africa and must figure out how best to honor this in the face of conservative administrators, overbearing older siblings, the Internet, and Homer himself. HOMERIDAE is a play about stories, language, knowledge, and loss; and about finding your voice when it seems like no one is listening.


    This reading is free and open to the public.  


    Reservations end at 4pm the day of the reading. Seats will be available at the door.


    Questions? Contact mail@playpenn.org

    Alexandra Espinoza is a Philadelphia based theatre artist whose work aims to connect creative power to community voices. Performance credits include work with Orbiter 3 and Azuka Theatre. As a playwright, she is a first-year member of the Foundry at PlayPenn, and her plays have received productions and readings with Juniper Productions. Alexandra practices dramaturgy as community engagement and serves as the inaugural “communiturg” at Simpatico Theatre. Additional dramaturgy and directing credits include work with Azuka Theatre, Inis Nua Theatre, and PlayPenn. She is a resident teaching artist at Philadelphia Young Playwrights and has facilitated the creative work of people aged seven to seventy. M.A. in Theatre, Villanova University.

    Botanicals, or Giving it to God by Keenya Jackson

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    Twice a year PlayPenn provides a free, professional public reading for a currently enrolled studentBotanicals, or Giving it to God by Keenya Jackson is the recipient of our fall semester play selection.

    February 11, 2019
    Time: 7pm

    The Proscenium Theater at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA


    Joe appears to be a crotchety old man who likes to talk to his plants and pretty much no one else. After calling the police on his neighbors, Joe is no longer able to keep his head stuck in the dirt. He’s forced to deal with his neighbors, his family—and himself.


    This reading is free and open to the public.  


    Reservations end at 4pm the day of the reading. Seats will be available at the door.


    Questions? Contact mail@playpenn.org

    Keenya Jackson is a Philadelphia playwright. She has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Arcadia University. In 2015, she became an active member of the Philadelphia Dramatist Center (PDC), now serving as the board secretary. Keenya continues to grow as a playwright and in theatre by studying at PlayPenn in Philadelphia and the National Symposium in Cape May, NJ. Her latest produced play was The Return of the Shogun, which was produced in 2018 by Revamp Collective’s Brief (physical) Encounters.

    THE HAUNTED LIFE by Sean Daniels

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    Playwright Sean Daniels

    PlayPenn is pleased to host a public reading of a new adaptation of the lost Kerouac novel, The Haunted Life, adapted by Sean Daniels

    When: December 17, 2018 at 7:30PM
    Please note there will be no late seating at this performance.

    Where: The Proscenium Theatre at The Drake located at 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

    The Haunted Life

    By Sean Daniels

    Based on the book by Jack Kerouac

    Director: Christopher Oscar Peña

    Dramaturg: Michele Volansky


    A new adaptation of a lost novel by Jack Kerouac, The Haunted Life is a deeply-felt family drama that follows the coming of age story of college student Peter Martin and his relationship with his conservative father. Taking place during America’s last golden summer before entering WWII, it chronicles the cost of war on a small town.


    This reading is free and open to the public.  


    Currently all seats have been reserved, however we encourage you to sign up for the waitlist and arrive 15 minutes beforehand. We expect to be able to accommodate those who show up for released seats.

    Questions? Contact mail@playpenn.org

    Sean Daniels is the current Artistic Director at Merrimack Repertory Theatre . Before joining MRT, he was the Artist-At-Large at the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York, where he received national attention for the Cohort Club, a program designed to better engage audience members with the work on stage.

    Sean was named “One of the top fifteen up & coming artists in the U.S., whose work will be transforming America’s stages for decades to come.” and “One Of 7 People Reshaping And Revitalizing The American Musical” by American Theatre Magazine.

    Sean previously spent four years at the Tony Award-winning Actors Theatre of Louisville as the theater’s Associate Artistic Director (where he directed 17 productions including 5 Humana Festivals). He was also Associate Artistic Director/Resident Director of the California Shakespeare Theater and before that spent a decade as the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Dad’s Garage Theater Company in Atlanta.

    2018 Conference Event Calendar

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    Events by Date

    Tuesday, July 17
    5:00pmThe Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle
    8:00pm Tha Chink-Mart by Ray Yamanouchi


    Wednesday, July 18
    5:00pm Bruise & Thorn by J. Julian Christopher
    8:00pm You, the Fire, and Me by Sevan K. Greene


    Thursday, July 19
    5:00pmKids Drop (Off) by Dominic Taylor
    8:00pm Dimenticar by Mattie J. Hawkinson


    Monday, July 23
    7:30pm – Foundry Reading:  Down in the Holler by Val Dunn (additional reading)


    Tuesday, July 24
    7:30pmJoan by Stephen Belber (additional reading)


    Thursday, July 26
    8:00pmThe Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle


    Friday, July 27
    8:00pmTha Chink-Mart by Ray Yamanouchi


    Saturday, July 28
    2:00pm – Intern Playwright Ten-Minute Plays
    4:00pm You, the Fire, and Me by Sevan K. Greene
    8:00pmBruise & Thorn by J. Julian Christopher


    Sunday, July 29
    2:00pmDimenticar by Mattie J. Hawkinson
    5:00pmKids Drop (Off) by Dominic Taylor

    Events by Play

    Bruise & Thorn
    by J. Julian Christopher

    Wednesday, July 18th – 5:00pm
    Saturday, July 28th – 8:00pm

    Bruise and Thorn work at a busted-up old laundromat in Jamaica, Queens. Bruise dreams of becoming a chef. Thorn dreams of changing the face of Hip Hop with his unabashed Queerness. When finances become strained, they get caught up in an illegal cockfighting ring led by their boss, Mrs. Gallo, sending them on a magical ride to make their dreams come true and get the hell out of Jamaica. Bruise & Thorn is an authentic look at a Nuyorican street family, not through bloodline, but rather the social and economic indicators that naturally selects them to one another.

    You, the Fire, and Me
    by Sevan K. Greene

    Wednesday, July 18th – 8:00pm
    Saturday, July 28th – 4:00pm

    Tommy, Jules, and Omer are tired of their worlds, their countries, their governments, and their families. They’re tired of being invisible. They’re tired of being disenfranchised. They’re tired of being no one. They’ve found a supportive family with one another and found the solution to their problems: Joining a terrorist organization. A coming-of-age story for a new generation, You, the Fire, and Me asks how far you would go to have your voice heard and to finally be seen as someone rather than just anyone.

    by Maddie J. Hawkinson

    Thursday, July 19 – 8:00pm
    Saturday, July 29 – 2:00pm

    A loving father of three daughters has gone missing on his way to work. His car is found at the bottom of the river and the circumstances of his death don’t add up. The local police think he ran away, but nobody knows why. People crack under pressure all the time, but sometimes they do it in the most remarkable ways. This play asks, “Why would you ever leave your family? And if you did dare to leave home, what would bring you back again?”

    The Garbologists
    by Lindsay Joelle

    Tuesday, July 17 – 5:00pm
    Thursday, July 26 – 8:00pm

    Danny’s a white, conservative, proud union member of the DSNY. Marlowe’s the Black, liberal, ivy-educated newbie who just joined his sanitation route. When they find something on the curb too valuable to throw away, they’ll be forced to reevaluate in each other what they mistook for trash.

    Kids Drop (Off)
    by Dominic Taylor

    Thursday, July 19th – 5:00pm
    Sunday, July 29th – 5:00pm

    A group of parents have a collective “staycation” while their first graders are on a field trip. They get together because all parents need a moment of tension release. This day of relief is broken when Ado, the mother of a child that died a month ago, arrives. This play asks; how we can take care of ourselves and each other at the same time?

    Tha Chink-Mart
    by Ray Yamanouchi

    Tuesday, July 17th – 8:00pm
    Friday, July 27th – 8:00pm

    In a small, suburban town in Long Island, New York, five Asian American teenage friends battle through high school—where they’re marked as Asians—and their ethnic home fronts—where they’re too American. Finding solace only among each other, they attempt to define for themselves what it means to be an Asian in America… for better or for worse.

    Additional Reading: Joan
    by Stephen Belber

    Tuesday, July 24 – 7:30pm

    Joan is a play about the entire life of a woman named Joan.

    Foundry Reading: Down in the Holler
    by Val Dunn

    Monday, July 23 – 7:30pm

    Deep in a holler of the Shenandoah Valley, Juniper prepares to spend a perfect life in a perfect cabin with her perfect partner, Blake. Until Maeve appears. Telling tall tales and crooning high lonesomes, Maeve beguiles Juniper return to Gin – a past self who once lived and loved in this here house. As Juniper attempts to exorcise her pursuit of passion and maintain the stable life she’s created with Blake, Down in the Holler witnesses a collision of class and queerness, ultimately asking how we reconcile who we were and who we thought we would become.

    Intern Playwright Ten-Minute Plays

    Saturday, July 28 – 2:00pm

    Celebrate our six Conference interns as they share plays they’ve created under the tutelage of PlayPenn’s Education Director.

    SALT PEPPER KETCHUP by Josh Wilder

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    Playwright Josh Wilder

    PlayPenn is pleased to host a public reading of a new work by Philadelphia playwright, Josh Wilder.


    Monday, June 4th at 7pm


    The Drake Proscenium Theatre, 302 S Hicks St, Philadelphia, PA 19102


    Salt Pepper Ketchup

    by Josh Wilder

    Director: Jerrell L. Henderson

    Dramaturg: Michele Volansky

    Stage Manager: Tom Shotkin


    A layer of bulletproof glass won’t protect Superstar Chinese Take-Out owners from the gentrification consuming the Point Breeze neighborhood in South Philly. When a trendy food co-op opens nearby, the Wu’s and their customers initially see it as a hipster annoyance, but as tensions mount they begin to recognize the intrusion as an act of war. Tinged with genuine humor and pathos, Wilder’s play examines the very human consequences of neighborhood redevelopment — who benefits and who gets chewed up and spit out?


    This reading is free and open to the public.  


    Questions? Contact email@playpenn.org

    Josh Wilder is a playwright from Philadelphia. His work has been developed at various theaters and festivals across the country including The Fire This Time Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, The Drama League, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2015 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and Milwaukee Rep. His play LEFTOVERS was the recipient of the Holland New Voices Award at The Great Plains Theatre Conference, and will be premiering this season at Company One Theatre in Boston. Recent commissions include, LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST for Play On! at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and SHE A GEM for The Kennedy Center. Josh is a former Jerome Fellow and Many Voices Fellow at The Playwrights’ Center; has been in residence at The Royal Court Theatre; Sundance at UCross; and currently serves as Co-Artistic Director at The Yale Cabaret. Josh is a graduating MFA candidate in Playwriting at Yale School of Drama.

    Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea by Stephanie N. Walters

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    Stephanie wrote and revised this play in our Education classes and now it’s getting a free professional public reading at PlayPenn!

    May 14, 2018
    Time: 7pm

    The Bluver Theater at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA

    Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea
    by Stephanie N. Walters

    Are You My Father … is a comedy exploring love and coming of age in one of the world’s most mysterious nations. Meet North Korean elite Min-Jun as she struggles with understanding freedom, disappointing family, and dreaming about Kim Il-Sung. Min-Jun’s world is rocked when she is magically spirited away to South Korea and a new life.

    This reading is free and open to the public.  

    Reservations end at 3pm the day of the reading. Seats will be available at the door.

    Questions? Contact email@playpenn.org

    Stephanie N. Walters is an emerging playwright in Philadelphia. She’s a first year member of The Foundry and studies with PlayPenn. Her most recent work, “Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea”, received a workshop with HBMG Foundation’s National Writers Retreat and a residency with Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists/Asian Arts Initiative. Additional plays have been produced and developed with Dragon’s Eye Theatre, Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, Asian Arts Initiative, Revamp Collective, and Philadelphia’s Future is Female Festival. Stephanie is also a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, a Barrymore Nominated actress, and a teaching artist. She is a graduate of Bucknell University, the London Dramatic Academy, and CAP21. Stephanie’s work gives new life to Korean mothers, evil dictators, lost lovers, bright children, dying Chinatowns, dating apps, and punk rock goddesses. Her whimsical, comedic, curious, and AZN plays can be found on NPX.

    2018 Conference Intern Application

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    2017 Conference Interns.

    PlayPenn is looking for six individuals who have an interest in playwriting/ dramaturgy/ directing to take part in our 2018 Conference, between July 8th and July 30th, 2018.  This is a wonderful opportunity for motivated young theater artists to work alongside experienced professionals in a concentrated and fulfilling environment.  

    Each intern will assist a collaborative team in the development of one of six plays invited to the conference chosen in a national search.  Interns will also assist, as needed, in the administrative, front of house and public relations responsibilities of the conference.

    Interns will also be given the opportunity to participate in a playwriting workshop culminating in the public presentation of their own written work performed by conference artists.

    Each intern will receive a $300 stipend for their work at the conference.

    Unfortunately, PlayPenn cannot provide housing, though we are willing to assist out of town interns in finding housing options in the city for the duration of the conference

    The deadline to apply is March 15, 2018.


    If filling out the application on your mobile device, click here.

    Questions? Contact production@playpenn.org