Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon 2022 Dramaturg

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Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, PhD (Cultural Anthropology), M.A. (Anthropology), MFA (Theater), Graduate Certificate) Women’s Studies, B.A. (Journalism); is an Associate Professor of Urban Theater and Community Engagement and President of the Faculty Senate at Temple University. Author of Through Smiles and Tears: The History of African American Theater (From Kemet to the Americas) (Lambert Academic Publishing, 2011); The Secret Messages in African American Theater: Hidden Meaning Embedded in Public Discourse” (Edwin Mellen Publishing, 2006), she has had over 34 productions of her plays, her stage credits include over 20 productions, 8 one-woman shows and she has performed poetry in over 120 national and international venues. A contributing poet to 44 anthologies, 11 books of poetry, 9 book chapters, 10 journal articles and 2 books on African American Theater.

Gina Pisasale 2022 Dramaturg

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Gina Pisasale (she/her) is a dramaturg, educator, and mother. She recently became the Director of Equity and Organizational Culture at McCarter Theater Center. Previously, she was the Resident Dramaturg at People’s Light, and has committed acts of dramaturgy at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, GoKash Productions, PlayPenn, the Arden, Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival, and A&E Biographies. She has taught courses at the University of the Arts and the University of Maryland, and guest lectured at the University of Puget Sound, Villanova, and Temple. Her areas of research include Asian American performance, American dramaturgy, and representations of race within the American Theater. As an EDI Facilitator, she has designed and run workshops at People’s Light, OSF, West Chester University, and Drexel University.

Gilberto Vega 2022 Dramaturg

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Gilberto Vega is a queer Costa Rican-American creator, educator, and administrator for music and theatre. He currently serves as the Director of External Relations for Theatre Horizon in Norristown. Originally hailing from Lancaster, PA, his recent credits include: Director for Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Penn Singers Light Opera Company); Dramaturg for Twelfth Night, O Lo Que Quieras (Del Shakes); The Agitators and Town (Theatre Horizon). Gilberto serves on the Board of Directors of Theatre Philadelphia and the Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia. Gilberto is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a recipient of the Wallace Award through Platt Student Performing Arts Houses. For Beto, Gladys, and Marcus.

Autumn Blalock 2022 Dramaturg

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Autumn Blalock (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist and Theater for Health (TfH) researcher originally from Capitol Heights, MD. A published playwright and scholar, her most recent works examine the way that Black people are visually interpreted onstage. Her work in theatre scholarship has been recognized by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) among others. When she is not contributing to the literature, Autumn is an administrator and dramaturg. She holds an MA in Theatre & Nonprofit Management from Villanova University.

Alix Rosenfeld 2022 Dramaturg

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Alix Rosenfeld (she/her) is a writer and multi-hyphenate theatre artist specializing in dramaturgy, playwriting, and performance. Theatre includes: Regional and international work with such companies as the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. Select dramaturgy credits: Hold These Truths, Shakespeare In Love (People’s Light), Box Clever (Inis Nua Theatre Company), and The Merchant of Venice (Delaware Shakespeare). She is a contributing writer to HuffPostAmerican TheatreHowlRound, The Flashpaper, and Broad Street Review and is a proud staff member of Theatre Horizon. Training: B.A. in Drama from Vassar College, M.A. in Theatre from Villanova University, M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University (anticipated graduation 2023). www.alixrosenfeldwriter.com

News Release

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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.


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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.


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.


by Kevin Esmond

February 20, 2020
Time: 7:30pm

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.

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

January 9, 2020
Time: 7:30pm

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