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Community Matters 2015

Community Matters is a series of free events presented in partnership between People’s Light and numerous local organizations to spark dialogue about vital issues in our community. Performed readings of new plays are the centerpiece of each evening. They are followed by a discussion with the artists, community partners, and special guests. Join us for the play. Participate in the conversation. All events are free!

Our 2015 series will feature the first drafts of new plays written as part of our New Play Frontiers program. New Play Frontiers is an initiative that brings leading American playwrights to People's Light to write new work that explores our American identity through stories of deep meaning to nearby populations.

New Play Frontiers is supported by the Barra Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and was launched in 2012 with a grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

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By Kathryn Petersen
Directed by Ed Sobel

Monday, August 17, 2015, 7pm
Steinbright Stage
Reserve Tickets

"I worked at two food pantries that received donations from The Chester County Food Bank, which led me to a Saturday drop point for fresh produce at the local community garden. This led me to other community gardens. The ethnically and economically diverse backgrounds of the individuals cultivating their raised beds as well as the history of the landscape of the Great Valley drew me in. I spoke with many gardeners and invested observers. I also visited when no one was around and walked the paths and looked at the plots and imagined. I peered through fences. I thought of insiders and outsiders. I thought of what challenges arise, what dirt gets uncovered, when people try to create a paradise." -- Kathryn Petersen


By Karen Hartman
Directed by Chay Yew

Monday, August 10, 2015, 7pm
Steinbright Stage

"I started with the idea of the Underground Railroad. I wanted to know how a person transitions from legal property to a free human being. What happens in a safe house? As a contemporary equivalent, I met with the founders of Dawn's Place, a home for survivors of the commercial sex trade. This led me to the Project Dawn Court, which serves women with prostitution convictions. Project Dawn differs from a conventional court by offering mandated therapy and trauma counseling, consistency of parole officers and other supervisory staff, and the assistance with survival needs, but operates within the court system. If a woman completes the year long program, her charges are dropped. If she fails, she does time. I sat in on that monthly court all year. I spoke with participants and with staff members. It was a humbling, deeply moving, sometimes excruciating line of inquiry, with surprisingly frequent comic moments. In this play seven actresses play double roles, each as a participant and a staff member of the court. Seven faces, fourteen women, navigating safety, connection, confinement, and freedom." -- Karen Hartman

Karen Hartman’s PROJECT DAWN includes adult situations, including references to human-trafficking, violence and overt drug use. We recommend that audience members be at least 16 years old.


By Eisa Davis
Directed by Seema Sueko

Saturday, August 8, 2015, 2pm
Steinbright Stage

"This play centers on Latino life in and around Kennett Square. It is an examination of relationships between a wide variety of characters dreaming of their futures and trying to repair harms from their very recent past." -- Eisa Davis

Please note that this play includes explicit language, sexual situations, and violence. We recommend that audiences be at least 18 years old. If you need to make any changes to your reservation, please call the box office at 610-644-3500.

A staged reading of


A new play by the award-winning playwright and actor Colman Domingo
Directed by James Ijames

Monday, May 4, 2015, 7pm
Leonard C. Haas Stage

"I did not know what to expect. Descending from an adrenaline-high of New York City usually took a few hours. It finally clicked when I attended an open mic at Steel City Coffee House. After scouring the different communities surrounding People's Light, I was transported by the simplicity of an open mic in this small town of Phoenixville, PA. My interest was piqued even further about this small town that that had been resurrected in recent years. A thriving bustling community that came back from a crippling depression with a defunct steel mill, theaters and establishments that used to fill the city. Yet this town bounced back, heralded by the locals and big city folks that wanted to go back to a small town, create families, create businesses and the American dream. Watching the people at the open mic from the young girl performing for the first time to the old hand who read poetry from his notebook, I got a glimpse of these wonderful people and their beautiful wants and dreams. I would go back to Phoenixville and sit in cafes, walk around, go into bookstores and meet with my new pal Henrik, who established the Firebird Festival in this town, and 'make the connection' with folk. I am writing this play about the struggle of the people of an adjacent town dying a slow death. By taking characters that I have met and taking what I know about them, I get to put them together in a small depressed town and asking the questions of how people create a new vision for their community. It is my belief that at the heart of the community, it is its people. It is the heart of the people that gets to shine through in its tenacity to establish a thriving place to call home." -- Colman Domingo

Discussion Panelists: Mary Foote, Executive Director, Association for the Colonial Theatre; Henrik Stubbe Teglbjaerg, Firebird Festival Organizer

More about Colman Domingo at

This performance contains strong language and may not be suitable for children.