PlayPenn New Play Development Conference Moves Online For 2020 to Benefit Theatre Philadelphia's Emergency Relief Fund
PlayPenn, Philadelphia's new play development organization, is re-thinking what it means to gather and support artists during the COVID-19 crisis. Their acclaimed New Play Development Conference, scheduled for July 2020, will now be moved into a virtual format, offering artists the ability to nurture and develop new works during this time of social distancing. Additionally, their popular reading series of plays in development will be moved to a digital platform and be presented as a benefit for Theatre Philadelphia's Emergency Relief Fund. Audience members will be able to support Philadelphia's vast theatre community by taking part in the readings.
The Conference plays written by this year's 6 Haas Fellows and two additional playwrights, previously announced in April, will be developed through online workshops. The online conference will employ approximately 80 regional artists and actors, in addition to the entire PlayPenn staff. This ensures that these dedicated individuals receive much needed compensation throughout this uncertain time.
Additionally, PlayPenn has teamed up with Theatre Philadelphia, an organization that unites, celebrates, and promotes the Philadelphia region's diverse and growing theatre community, to offer online benefit readings of the new plays in development. Support from the readings will benefit Theatre Philadelphia's Emergency Relief Fund, which awards micro-grants of $300 to individuals who live in the Philadelphia region, work in theatre, and whose theatre income has been impacted by COVID-19.
"This natural partnership with one of the nation's most renowned play development programs is an excellent way to showcase one of Philadelphia's greatest cultural strengths," says Theatre Philadelphia board president Jason Lindner. "That is, Philly's substantial commitment to the development of new and burgeoning theatre artists. The ability to utilize the prestige of PlayPenn as a resource toward helping the theatre community as a whole is truly a remarkable gift." PlayPenn Artistic Director Paul Meshejian, adds "We feel such a great responsibility to every member of the Philadelphia theater community and can't think of a better way, at this challenging moment, to make our support become concrete. None of us are whole without the depth and breadth of this remarkable community of theater workers."
Audience members who are interested in registering for the online reading of plays will be able to do so via playpenn.org later this summer. After registering, they will receive a link to a digital streaming platform where they will be able to watch the online readings. Unlike previous years of the conference, the readings will only occur once. Information on the 2020 New Play Development plays and Haas Fellows is below. Please stay tuned to playpenn.org for updates on registration and viewing. Haas Fellows are underwritten thanks to meaningful support from the Wyncote Foundation.