Our Ongoing Work

What We Believe

Our Acknowledgment

We want to state this clearly and plainly:


PlayPenn is committed to serving the needs of playwrights. 


We recognize and acknowledge that we have not always fulfilled this mission and for that we sincerely apologize.
We also recognize and acknowledge that the land on which we do our work, is the traditional homeland of the Lenape, known as “Lenapehoking.” These are the people who made the colony of Pennsylvania possible. Despite forced removals from their homelands and decimating disease, the Lenape are still here today. 


We acknowledge that slavery also existed on this land. Enslaved people helped build this city and its culture; yet racism, xenophobia and antiblackness still exist today. We acknowledge the continuum of historical damage that has been done to these and other communities.


We are here, doing the work of growing into a better PlayPenn, mindful of the right we all have to work in an environment that is completely free of harassment and discriminatory conduct. 


We are inspired by theatre artists from Philadelphia and around the country who embrace authenticity, community, and collaboration.  We are committed to upholding this model of creative partnership. 


The values we share today signal our commitment to an intentionally equitable and anti-racist organization. This emphasis allows for a culturally diverse and inclusive future. We are grateful that you continue to push us into a deeper awareness.


Together, we move forward to become more resilient and impactful in our unwavering support of new plays and playwrights.

Our Process

Step one was welcoming new leadership throughout the organization. 


We broadened our understanding through the addition of remarkable hearts and minds to PlayPenn’s core leadership. PlayPenn then began the process of exploring and interrogating our organizational values, clarifying and affirming who we are now, and who we commit to be in the future.


This process-oriented work of refreshing our values began in early 2021 with a small group of board members meeting regularly throughout the winter. The group was comprised of artists, academics, and professionals from varied disciplines and represented multiple perspectives and viewpoints including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+ people, and parent artists.  


Our aim was to craft a restorative spine of organizational values that are intentional, aspirational, impactful, and measurable.  These values will guide PlayPenn’s artistic and administrative choices now, and as we move into our future together.  


We know that empathy is a developing skill and that organizations, like people, are “inprocess.”


Through continued conversation with our community, organizational introspection, and a critical eye on the impact of our choices, PlayPenn will honor the artists we serve as an empathetic leader in new play development.


We offer this affirmation of our values for your public comment and review, and we are grateful to you for engaging with us.

Our Values

Fairness and Belonging

PlayPenn believes in a free, fair, and transparent process that is welcoming to all. PlayPenn strives to remove all inequitable barriers that prevent people from fully engaging in the process.


Authenticity and Respect

PlayPenn believes everyone should be treated with dignity.  PlayPenn respects diversity in voice, theatricality, language, style, class, culture, tradition, and identity.


Empathy and Flexibility

PlayPenn believes in continually challenging our assumptions and biases, evaluating the impact of our choices on others, and acting with flexibility, timeliness and care, when change is needed.


Curiosity and Dialogue

PlayPenn believes in active curiosity and inclusive discussions. We strive to work against the destructive ramifications of silence, “groupthink,” and the centering of whiteness over diverse voices.


Community and Collaboration

PlayPenn values the multiplicity of voices in our community and believes that the collaborative process of storytelling deepens connections and communal understanding, in ways that enrich us all.


Sense of Play and Trust

PlayPenn believes there is joy in being a part of creation. When artists trust the organization’s values and processes they can more fully explore the boundaries of their work.


Expectation and Accountability

PlayPenn believes we all bring our best self to every interaction. PlayPenn will hold itself accountable for any breach of these values, either within the organization, or from those who engage with us.

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

"It’s a good name, PlayPenn. What the theater folks at PlayPenn do is play, with plays. It’s a workshop that pulls in high-profile theater people from all over the country to help playwrights make plays better."

-The Philadelphia Inquirer