The Arden Theatre Company launched The Writers' Room, a playwright residency program to give audiences behind-the-scenes access to the creative process of a theater production. Initial playwrights invited to the program, Wendy McLeod and Rachel Bonds, received monetary support, as well as six weeks of writing time toward a new play, followed by four weeks of development and rehearsal and a two-week production at the Arden. The Arden offered patrons access to each phase of the residency: attendance at a script reading, an observation of the rehearsal process, and conversations with the playwright and producer. These opportunities to engage with the playwrights were meant to cultivate greater interest among Arden patrons in the production of new plays and instill an overall sense of ownership among general audiences in the work. The new residency program also inspired open exchange within the company, as the Arden's artistic, marketing, and development departments worked together at each stage of the process, toward the common goal of promoting the project.
Michael Hollinger is the Arden's third playwright-in-residence. A play he develops during his residency will premiere in the Arden's 2014/15 season.[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>>.]