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PAPA's Playwright's Project culminates annually with a New Play Reading Festival. This year, 7 emerging playwrights of Asian descent will present developmental readings of their work featuring local actors, directors, and dramaturgs. From Australian wildlife sanctuaries to inside your Xbox to on the set of the hottest new sitcom to in the basement of a fancy pants law school, the readings you'll see will take you to worlds that are both familiar and fresh. We hope you can join us!


Playwrights Project (PAPAPP)

Raises up the voices of emerging Asian and Asian American playwrights in our city with Lead Artist, Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters [see below]. We hope the PAPA Playwrights Project will make Philadelphia's Asian and Asian American voices and stories increasingly visible on the stage.

Over the course of a 2 year residency, our playwrights hone their craft through workshops, readings, professional development opportunities, and guidance from a lead artist. PAPA Playwrights meet monthly to share drafts, work with local dramaturgs, and discuss local and national theatre. They engage with the new play development process and culminate with a reading of their work.

Playwrights Project: Programs
Playwrights Project: Image


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Marjorie is Dead by Priyanka Shetty

Sunday March 12 at 7pm

Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake (302 S. Hicks Street)

Step back in time to 1900s Britain in this infectiously funny farce, MARJORIE IS DEAD. Inspired by Fry & Laurie and the works of P.G. Wodehouse, this play follows the outbreak of a deadly "coroner's virus" in the unsuspecting Tilbury family, whose lives are as convoluted as they are in peril. As the virus spreads and claims the life of young Marjorie, the family's primary antagonist becomes the only thing that may unite them. Watch as the doctor, the Colonel, the solicitor, and a roguish ne’er-do-well run circles around each other in a hilarious whirlwind of mixed-up identities, flaming passions, overheard conversations, and misunderstandings. With impossible dreams, a union that could never be, and a deadly virus on the loose, danger lurks around every corner.
MARJORIE IS DEAD was a semifinalist at the 2022 Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights conference. According to MD Theatre Guide, "Shetty's intriguing and impressive command of the seemingly lost art of farce makes MARJORIE IS DEAD funny, subversive, current, and yet somehow a throwback at the same time." Don't miss your chance to experience this side-splitting tribute to the incomparable comedic style of P.G. Wodehouse.

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Abandonware by Joseph Ahmed

Tuesday March 21 at 7pm
Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake (302 S. Hicks Street)

Ava's been streaming herself playing retro video games online and people are starting to tune in. As her online community grows, she’s shaken by the discovery that her (estranged) and (dead) father used to make video games when he was her age. And she’s…in one of them? Of course she’s going to play it. Just once. Okay, maybe just one more time.

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Pure White by Lexi Thammavong

Monday April 3 at 7pm
Proscenium Theatre at the Drake (302 S. Hicks Street)

Luna and Ethan don’t remember what happened last night. When they wake in their messy Miami apartment, there’s nothing around but the usual Xanax and cocaine. That is until an unexpected (and unwelcome) guest arrives, and soon discovers that none of them can leave. Can our unlikely trio escape the darkness, or will it consume them?

Content Warning: Pure White explores topics of addiction, death, and mental illness. The characters abuse prescription as well as illicit substances. The play also mentions Sex Work and features a non-sexual romantic relationship with a large age gap (18 & 63). Nothing physical occurs between the two characters. There is a brief allusion to sexual assault.April 3 at 7pm


Mock Trial by Claris Park

Sunday April 23 at 7pm
Maas Building (1325 Randolph Street)

Being part of a trial advocacy team is important, not just for a law student's resume, but for networking. It's where the best and brightest in law school gather, put all their brain cells together, and dazzle competition judges with their next-level legal reasoning and courtroom presence. To be a part of TrialAd, you have to be special - very special - and right - very, very right. No one (not their mom, any higher power, and definitely not their coach) is more right than a TrialAd competitor. This usually works just fine when dealing with TrialAd hypotheticals. But when life and law school shenanigans and politics spill over into the practice room, can someone be more "right" than someone else who is also technically "right"?April 23 at 7pm7 hours between April 9-April 23Maas Building

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Years of the Chicken by Daniel Kim

Monday April 24 at 7pm
Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake (302 S. Hicks Street)

The play tells the story of Korean American television sitcom writer and producer, Donald Lee, who is the creator of the hit sitcom "Year of the Chicken," based on Donald's experiences in high school in 1981. The timeline leaps through a series of Years of the Chicken (i.e., Year of the Rooster), starting in 1945, which is the year that Donald's father flees his North Korean village for the South.

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Cole Face by Jacinta Yelland

Sunday Feb 26 at 7pm
Maas Building (1325 Randolph Street)

Cole Face is an interactive solo show witnessing the current climate crisis through the eyes of a baby koala and two coal miners. Cole, a talking infant koala, is recovering from severe burns at a wildlife sanctuary in the fire-ravaged Australian outback. As bushfires encroach she embarks on a quest to rescue her best friend, a 1000-year-old eucalyptus tree. In a parallel narrative, thousands of meters underground a gas explosion collapses an active coal mine trapping two miners and igniting a fire. Flames spread along the labyrinth of tunnels towards the miners who contemplate their imminent death caused by the hole they drilled. The show, inspired by the 2019 Australian bushfires and Australia’s economic dependence on fossil fuels, moves the audience from laughter to tears by following two isolated yet intertwined experiences of climate change — the stories of animals and trees that perished in the 2019 bushfires and of people whose livelihoods depend on environmental destruction. Cole Face uses documentary theatre, clown, audience interaction, manipulation of light, and magic to immerse the audience in the destruction of nature, history, story, home, and community with the hope of shedding light on the ramifications of our current way of life and provoking change.

Content Warnings - climate disaster, disfigurement, being trapped in a small, confined space.


Sbaotage by Cinder Kuss

Sunday Feb 26 at 8pm
Maas Building (1325 Randolph Street)

Cinder has made a robot to help with their depression. Will it?

Playwrights Project: Our Team

Learn more about our newest PAPAPPs!

LEXI THAMMAVONG (she/they) is a Philly-based performing artist and writer. A recent graduate of The University of the Arts, they obtained their BFA in Musical Theatre with a minor in Creative Writing and was a Student Valedictory Speaker. Lexi loves to experiment with various genres and styles, investigating new, authentic approaches to material— whether classical or new work. No matter the medium, they strive to create art that is specific, nuanced, and rooted in decolonization. She believes that the work she creates has an intrinsic connection and responsibility to the many communities who influence it— she is eternally grateful for the collective power of working folk and citizen artists.

DANIEL KIM (is an actor and standup comedian who has appeared across the country. While in Los Angeles, he played the villainous Judge Turpin in the award-winning production of Sweeney Todd at East West Players, the nation's oldest Asian American theater. Dan also played family friend Stan on Margaret Cho's sitcom All American Girl. In Philadelphia, Dan was a founding member of the performance group Asians Misbehavin' (NY & Philly Fringe Festivals, WYBE-TV), as well as the Edge of the World ensemble (NAATCO, LaMama). In addition, Dan appeared in Tiger Style, the inaugural production of Philadelphia Asian Performance Artists (PAPA). At the South Camden Theatre (NJ), Dan played the role of Wong in both the premiere and revival of Fortune Cookies. Dan has performed stand-up comedy at clubs in Chicago (Zanies, Comedy Cottage), New York (Improv, Gotham Comedy Club), and Philadelphia (Comedy Cabaret). In addition, Dan was a member of the Warner Bros. Comedy Writing Workshop. Love to Doris, Melody, Maple, and Lolly!

JACINTA YELLAND is an Australian theatre performer, creator and teacher based in Philadelphia. Jacinta has collaborated with companies across Australia and America including David Gordon, Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Tribe of Fools, Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, and Visual Expressions. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Devised Performance from University of the Arts led by award-winning Pig Iron Theatre
Company, a Bachelor of Creative Industries: Drama from Queensland University of Technology, and was supported by Arts Queensland to study at École Philippe Gaulier, Paris. Jacinta is co-artistic director of inFLUX Theatre Collective, whose debut show, The Choice, won the Philly Fringies Award for Theatre at the 2021 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Jacinta is an adjunct professor at Temple University and the theatre instructor at Circadium School of Contemporary Circus. Her projects have been supported by Australia Council for the Arts, Network of Ensemble Theaters, City of Philadelphia, and American Australian Association.

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Playwrights Project: About Us

Cohort 1 2020/2022

October 2020 marks the second year of this residency. They will be spending the next two years convening monthly to share work, workshop writing, and prepare for some inevitably fantastic showcasing!


Chantal Vorobei Thieves


Cinder Kuss

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Crys Clemente

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Joseph Ahmed

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Nimisha Ladva

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Priyanka Shetty

Playwrights Project: Clients

Cohort 0 2019/2019

This was the first year that PAPAPP premiered, with a culminating reading series in 2019.

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Amy Boehly


Arthur Robinson 

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Claris Park


Pratima Agrawal

Playwrights Project: Clients
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About the Lead Artist:

Stephanie Kyung-Sun Walters

Stephanie Kyung-Sun Walters is a Barrymore nominated actor, playwright, and teaching artist in Philadelphia. She’s an InterAct Theatre Core Playwright, a  graduate of The Foundry at PlayPenn, and the Lead Artist for the Philly Asian Performing Artists’ Playwrights Project. She is a two-time finalist for Unicorn Theatre’s In-Progress New Play Reading Series. She was a semi-finalist for Nashville Repertory Theater's Ingram New Works and received a nomination for the NNPN Smith Prize for Political Theatre. As Lead Artist of the Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists Playwrights Project, she led a two-weekend festival of plays written by local emerging Asian-American playwrights. She has taught playwriting at Bucknell University, PlayPenn, Arden Theatre, and Theatre Exile. Stephanie is a proud graduate of Bucknell University and is currently earning her MFA in Writing for Screen and Stage from Point Park University.

Her play, "Esther Choi and the Fish that Drowned", was presented at the PlayPenn Conference. Esther Choi… will have a world premiere production with Simpatico Theatre Company in 2020 (postponed due to COVID-19). "Keep Me Posted" received a staged reading at the 2018 Philly Asian American Film Festival. Her play, "Are You My Father or the dream ballet of north korea", received a workshop and reading with PlayPenn, as well as a residency with Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists/Asian Arts Initiative.  Additional plays have been produced and developed with Dragon’s Eye Theatre, Revamp Collective, Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, and Philadelphia’s Future is Female Festival. Her plays can be found on NPX.

Playwrights Project: Programs
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