PlayPenn New Play Conference Now In Full Swing

Eight artists will present readings of new works at Drexel.

PlayPenn Crop

Philadelphia is a “new work” playground, so to speak, for theater. This isn’t news given that, back in the mid- to late-20th century, many Broadway producers would set up out-of-town tryouts right here in the City of Brotherly love before feeding their shows to the sharks of New York City. However, what we’re seeing lately is Philly as an incubator of sorts for new plays, and the annual PlayPenn Festival is yet another indication of how predominately the city is placed as a creative nest for artists.

The festival features works by Philly native Genne Murphy, PlayPenn alumni Eric Preffinger, internationally known writer JT Rogers, Omaha-based Ellen Struve, Barrymore-winner James Ijames, Kennedy Center winner David Jacobi, Brian Grace-Duff from People’s Light, and Rutgers teacher Richard Dresser. PlayPenn prides itself as giving artists “a relaxed tension within which playwrights can engage in risk-taking, boundary-pushing work free from the pressures of commercial consideration.”

The artists will present free readings of their work through July 26th at Drexel’s URBN Black Box Theatre at 3401 Filbert Street. Although the readings are free, registration is required, and many of the plays already have waitlists established (in short: if you’re interested, sign up pronto). In addition to the readings, the festival will present “Cultural Currency: Are Artists Owed a Living Wage?,” a symposium moderated by Kittson O’Neill on July 23rd at 6 pm. For more information on PlayPenn, visit their website.