Six Playwrights Announced for PlayPenn Conference in Philly; Readings Are July 24-27

News   Six Playwrights Announced for PlayPenn Conference in Philly; Readings Are July 24-27 The organizers of PlayPenn, Philadelphia's professional new play development organization, announced writers and titles for its fourth annual New Play Development Conference, running July 13-July 27 and culminating in public readings of plays.

The conference will feature two weeks of intensive work on six works-in-progress by Peter Bonilla (A Human Equation), Jennifer Haley (Breadcrumbs) Lila Rose Kaplan (Wildflower), James McLindon (Saving Grace), Gregory S. Moss (House of Gold) and Silva Semerciyan (Another Man's Son).

The chosen playwrights will bring their works-in-progress to Philadelphia for two weeks of work with a professional director of their choice, dramaturgical assistance and professional actors from the Philadelphia theatre community. Playwrights will rehearse for 29 hours with a team of artists devoted to the progress of their work, culminating in public staged readings between July 24-27 at both the Adrienne Theater and the Playground (2030 Sansom Street) in Philadelphia.

Paul Meshejian, artistic director of PlayPenn, said in a statement, "I am very grateful to the more than 80 readers, all professionals in every part of the Philadelphia professional theatre community, who were part of the evaluation process in selecting these plays. They have all expressed excitement in taking part in assessing what they believe will be the next important plays to be seen on stages in Philadelphia and across the country. PlayPenn is raising the flag of 'the new' in the interest of embracing, engaging and challenging audiences that we believe wait, with hunger, for what the next generations of writers have to offer."

Conference writers were chosen from a field of over 150 playwright submissions. The six conference playwrights were culled from a group of 12 semi-finalists, also including James Christy (A Great War), Megan Gogerty (Pandas), David Rush (Ten Best-Loved Hymns), Deborah Stein (Wallflower), Enrique Ureta (Forever Never Comes) and John Yearly (Fellow Traveler).

PlayPenn "is committed to the development of new plays, the advancement of new voices in the theatre both locally and nationally, and the cross-fertilization of writers, directors, dramaturgs, and actors." For more information about PlayPenn call (610) 827-2251.

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Here are the 2008 PlayPenn writers at a glance:


  • Peter Bonilla was literary manager at InterAct Theatre Company from August 2005 to April 2008, serving as dramaturg of the company's world premiere productions of Thomas Gibbons' A House With No Walls and Seth Rozin's Black Gold, among others. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in theater arts and economics from the University of Pennsylvania, he is a 2008 recipient of a playwriting fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. A Human Equation is his first play.
  • Jennifer Haley is a Los Angeles-based playwright whose plays include Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (recently produced at the Humana Festival), Dreampuffs of War and The Butcher's Daughter. Her work has been seen and developed at Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival of New American Plays, Brown/Trinity Playwrights Theatre in Providence, the Blue Theatre in Austin, and Annex Theatre in Seattle. Haley earned an M.F.A. in playwriting at Brown University, where she won the Weston Award for Drama and the Joelson Prize in Creative Writing. She is a 2008 resident of the MacDowell Colony and the Millay Colony for the Arts.
  • Lila Rose Kaplan's plays have been seen and developed at Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Mixed Blood, Manhattan Rep, La Jolla Playhouse and The Culture Project among others. After receiving her MFA in Playwriting from University of California, San Diego this June, she will be the Shank Playwriting Fellow at Cornerstone Theatre Company in Los Angeles.
  • James McLindon has had three full-length and six one-act plays produced in theatre across America in 2008, eight of them world premieres. Distant Music, a finalist for the Kaufman and Hart Prize for New American Comedy, enjoyed four productions in 2007. His plays have been developed and/or produced at the Abingdon Theatre, hotINK Festival, Irish Repertory, Penguin Repertory, and HRC Showcase Theatre in New York; Victory Gardens, Prop Thtr, and Stage Left in Chicago; Theatricum Botanicum, Grove Theatre Center, and Circus Theatricals in Los Angeles; the Ashland New Plays Festival in Oregon; and the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference in Idaho.
  • Gregory S. Moss, a playwright, performer and director, has written The Argument, The Amazon, sixsixsix and punkplay. His work has been developed with or produced by Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, The A.R.T., The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, The Empty Space, Theatre Limina and Electric Pear Productions and New York Theatre Workshop. Moss is the recipient of a 2006-2007 Lucille Lortel Playwriting Fellowship, and a 2008 Millay Colony Residency.
  • Silva Semerciyan is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Her plays include Playthings, Filibuster and Down the Packhorse. Reality, a musical for which she wrote the book and lyrics, premiered in the United Kingdom at Bristol's Olympus Theatre. She currently teaches singing and drama in South West England.