2015 PlayPenn conference writers nab awards for further development

Dramaturg Michele Volansky works with playwright James Ijames. Photo by John Flak.

Plays by two participants in the 2015 PlayPenn conference have won awards. Eric Pfeffinger’s Human Error, described as a comedy about tribalism, comfort zones, and in vitro technology, will be part of the Lark Theatre’s Playwrights’ Week in New York City. James Ijames’s White, about an artist who hires an aspiring actress to impersonate him in order to get his work accepted at a museum, was awarded the Terrence McNally New Play Award for development at Philadelphia Theatre Company.

At PlayPenn’s annual conference, six plays are chosen from a pool of over 750 submissions. The authors of the six plays chosen work intensively with a director, a dramaturg, and professional actors during the conference. Each play gets two public readings, one midway through the three-week conference and the other at the end.

Over the 11 years that PlayPenn’s annual conference has been held, 85 plays have been developed, 63 percent of which have gotten professional productions. 

“PlayPenn exists to give playwrights the much needed time, space, and resources to develop plays in their infancy,” says Paul Meshejian, Artistic Director. “We are thrilled and honored to see our talented playwrights and their important new works advance in their development and to be shared with audiences across the country.”

Applications are being accepted now for the free and anonymous submission process for the 2016 conference. Any work that has not received a production or extensive development is eligible. Details are available at PlayPenn.org, but hurry — the deadline for applications is September 30, 2015.