How do we evaluate and choose plays to invite to our annual Conference?
Application: August – September
Each year we receive 700-800 new plays from playwrights around the country. Our application is free and open to anyone who wants to apply. It is important to note that all applications are blind: throughout the evaluation process, no reader or no staff member knows the identity of the writer behind the play they are reading and evaluating.
Blind Review by Philadelphia Readers: October – February
Once the application window has closed, we engage 8 first round readers (a diverse group of theater artists in Philadelphia) to read 10-20 pages of each play and make a judgment about which plays go forward. It’s worth noting that because we are an organization that was originally founded to increase the number of new plays on Philadelphia stages and to encourage an environment that would attract playwrights to live and work in Philadelphia, we have committed to engaging local artists to the greatest extent possible. Each of these first-round readers are given the freedom to move approximately 15 plays forward to the second round of evaluation.
After the initial round of readers has done their job, we usually have a list of 125 plays. We engage another diverse group of approximately 70 readers, a group that is made up of local actors, directors, dramaturgs and designers. Each play is read and evaluated using a rigorous assessment protocol by at least two readers.
When that process has been completed, the Artistic Director and Associate Artistic Director each read all 125 plays and their evaluations and narrow the field to 30 plays by mutual agreement.