People's Light & Theatre Company's New Play Frontiers was the first play development program in the company's 37-year history. The project brought playwrights from across the country to the theater's campus to develop new work inspired by the region's diverse communities. The process was overseen by a cross-departmental committee, made up of artistic programming, education, development, and marketing staff members. This committee established partnerships with local cultural, civic, religious, and academic institutions with a willingness to help unearth stories of significance. The committee selected writers for the residency program who demonstrated interest in local histories.
Six playwrights were selected for the Frontiers Residencies: Eisa Davis (Bulrusher, Pulitzer finalist), Colman Domingo (Wild With Happy), Kate Fodor (Hannah and Martin), Karen Hartman (Gum), Dominique Morisseau (Detroit '67), and Kathryn Petersen (Cinderella: A Musical Panto, Barrymore nominated). With additional support from the Mellon and Barra Foundations, People's Light subsequently commissioned all six to complete the plays launched by the residencies. Zak Berkman, the program director, wrote about the project for HowlRound, the Theater Commons blog.[footnote Management grants, through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, were awarded through 2013 following which a new funding category, Advancement grants, was introduced to support substantial long-term organizational development. Learn more>>.]