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New Play Frontiers

People’s Light’s Groundbreaking Residency & Commission Program

New Play Frontiers conceives, develops, and produces new plays that explore our American identity through stories of deep meaning to specific populations in the five-county region around our theatre. NPF invests in playwrights who possess two distinct abilities: to interact with local communities and receive inspiration from the experiences and heritage of those communities; and to connect their work to larger, national conversations about essential issues.

NPF First Round Writers Eisa Davis, Colman Domingo, Kate Fodor, Karen Hartman, Dominique Morisseau, and Kathryn Petersen, engaged in 21-day residencies that featured extensive community interaction and research. Each writer participated in multiple community events to share their areas of focus, their processes, and their early writings. Then each writer received a commission, a play development workshop in-community and at People’s Light, and at least one public reading.

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Their NPF First Round plays focus on a wide range of subjects, including the legacy of the civil rights movement in West Chester, PA; restorative justice and the migrant Mexican community in Kennett Square, PA; sex trafficking in Philadelphia; food equity and community gardening; urban renewal; and orphans during the Civil War. People’s Light will stage the first NPF production, Karen Hartman’s Project Dawn, following further developmental workshops over the course of 2016 and 2017. A second round of NPF residencies and commissions commences in Spring 2017.


To learn more about the origins and discoveries of New Play Frontiers, read
Producing Director Zak Berkman’s BEING REGIONAL FOR A REASON series on HOWLROUND.

Part One: PLAYWRIGHTS AS COMMUNITY BUILDERS
Part Two: THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE SUBSIDIZED
Part Three: MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER
Part Four: SHAKE IT UP
Part Five: GOOD NEWS! GOOD NEWS!


“I am so honored to be a commissioned artist for New Play Frontiers. There is such a rich and vast community surrounding People's Light. I truly believe it is an expansive mirror into the heart and soul of our country at large.” Colman Domingo, commissioned playwright

The six commissions are supported by The Barra Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Initial funding for the residency program was provided by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.