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PlayPenn @ Drexel

July 8, 2015

The decade-old PlayPenn Conference for play development will take place at Westphal this year, bringing the Philadelphia theatre community together for two-and-a-half weeks to produce original new plays that entertain, excite and provoke. Six playwrights are invited to the Conference to work with a director, dramaturg, and designers to develop plays chosen through a rigorous selection process. The Conference includes workshops and readings of the plays, an artists’ forum and a symposium on the development of new plays. This summer, Theatre professor Bill Fennelly will direct Prince Max’s Trewly Awful Trip to the Desolat Interior by Ellen Struve, an Omaha-based playwright and Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellow.

Set in 1832, Struve’s play centers on a naturalist and watercolorist who set out to observe life along the Missouri River but end up delving deeper than they intended into the desolate, interior heart of America. Director Bill Fennelly’s award-winning work has been seen on Broadway, Off Broadway and regionally and he’ll be joined by dramaturg Rebecca Wright. Performances will take place in the URBN Annex Black Box Theater (3401 Filbert Street) on Wednesday, July 15 at 5:00pm and Saturday, July 25 at 4:00pm. Click here to reserve seats, and click here [PDF] to see the full brochure of the six plays, all of which will be presented in the Black Box Theater.

During the Conference playwrights develop their works through workshops with professionals from the local theatre community and in-depth rehearsals. Rehearsal time is interspersed with significant amounts of time for re-writing and for meetings, both formal and informal, between the writers and their creative teams. Each of the six plays is given two free public readings, one at the conference mid-point and the other at the end of the development period.

PlayPenn is an artist-driven organization dedicated to improving the way in which new plays are developed. Employing an ever-evolving process, PlayPenn creates a relaxed tension within which playwrights can engage in risk-taking, boundary-pushing work free from the pressures of commercial consideration.