Our Process

How we select our Haas Fellows

Thank you for your interest in PlayPenn’s New Play Development Conference. We have not yet set the application deadline for our upcoming 2021 Conference, and will post the revised deadline as soon as we are able to do so.  Thank you for your interest in PlayPenn and for your patience at this time.


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.

"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