The Conference

Our flagship program brings together theatre artists to celebrate the creation of new plays.

PlayPenn’s annual conference includes workshops and readings of new plays, forums for artists, seminars, and classes, all centered around fostering artists by providing as many resources possible.

About the Conference

PlayPenn’s annual conference takes place over a two-and-a-half-week period each July at The Drake Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. The conference includes 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. All public readings are free and open to the public.  

About the Process

Playwrights are invited to work with a director, dramaturg, and designers to develop a specific play, which will be chosen through a rigorous selection process. A three-day pre-conference retreat for playwrights, dramaturgs, directors, and designers begins the festivities. Following the retreat, the playwrights then develop their plays through in-depth workshops with directors, dramaturgs, designers, and professional actors. Each of the plays is given two free public readings, one at the conference midpoint and the other at the end of the development period.

Application, Review, and Selection

Before they are selected to come to the Conference, our playwrights pass through a rigorous process that moves from a blind application, through a review by local readers, to a selection panel composed of leading producers and dramaturgs from across the nation.


"My life is divided into Before Playpenn and After PlayPenn. Before PlayPenn I never had my work discussed and examined with such clarity, insight and care. After PlayPenn I write with a greater sense of purpose and responsibility."

-Jonathan Norton, Playwright