EAR (Emerging Artists in Residence)

Produced with PDC and sponsored in part by the Melissa Lynch Foundation.

Apply for the 2014-15 EAR Residency – Applications due July 21!

The EAR (Emerging Artists in Residence) program is open to playwrights and actors in the Greater Philadelphia area. This year the Melissa Lynch Memorial Acting Residency will be open to two actors and the PDC @ Plays & Players Playwrights Residency will be open to two playwrights. This 8-month residency, which will run from October 2014 to June 2015, is an exclusive opportunity for actors and playwrights to work on artistic development at one of Philadelphia’s oldest and most respected theaters.

About EAR

The aim of the EAR Residency is to develop theater artists’ work towards goals that they have articulated for themselves. The focus of this program is artist development, not the development of a specific performance or project. Emerging can mean many things to many people, and the applying artists are encouraged to decide for themselves if that is an appropriate label. Most importantly, we request that the artist decide if this is a year where they would want to prioritize the opportunity to step back, ask big questions, examine why they are making the artistic choices they make and to try to find out what kind of artist they want to be.

The residency provides activities designed to inspire, encourages experimentation, offers support and guidance from artistic leaders, and the structure and discipline to really focus on the journey and seek results. While the residency is an educational opportunity by nature, we are happy to offer the opportunity for absolutely free.

Details of EAR

Residents are members of Plays & Players, and the PDC @ Plays & Players Playwrights Residents, if not already PDC members, become members of that organization (www.pdc1.org for more information.) The residency is designed to accompany a full time career, and requires 15 hours commitment per month. Residents are also required to volunteer for 5-10 hours per month at Plays & Players.

The residency breaks down into four topics:

1. Play Another Part (playwrights become actors, actors become playwrights) – October/November

2. Change Your Medium (try on another style, method, or art form you’ve never tried before) – December/January

3. Fight Your Fear (face the thing that scares you most in your artistic journey) – February/March

4. What Is Theater (attempt to figure out who is the theater artist you want to be) – April/May

Each topic involves five activities over the two month period: two individual meetings, two “group shares”, and tech/performance of EAR Fuzz. Once a month, residency leaders lend an “ear” to check-in with the residents and/or arrange private meetings/workshops with other people of inspiration.  Also monthly, all the residents gather for field trips to spark creativity followed by “group shares,” all based off of the goals defined on an individual and group basis. Past field trips have included a class at the Philadelphia Circus School, a puppet making workshop with Robert Smythe, a discussion with Isaiah Zagar in his private Philadelphia Magic Gardens studio, a tour of Laurel Hill Cemetery, observing a rehearsal from Headlong Dance Theatre, and meetings with couples therapists, dentists, interpreters, and more. In March specifically, residents take a 24 hour artists retreat as their field trip. This work culminates in an open rehearsal of work conceived on the theme of the period, called EAR Fuzz, sharing the growth that unfolds on stage with an audience of fellow members and the general public. Each EAR Fuzz ends with a “communal ritual” with the audience in celebration of the growth, and an opportunity for audience to share their inspiration from the evening on an arts & crafts style feedback board and casual merriment at Quig’s Pub at P & P.


Playwrights – Joy Cutler, Quinn D. Eli, Greg Romero.


Playwrights – Jeremy Gable, Brian Grace-Duff, Jeff Stanley.


Actors – Amanda Atkinson, Marci Chamberlain, Jenna Horton. Playwrights – Alisha Adams, Tommy Butler, Robin Rodriguez.



Andrew Carroll is filled to the brim with love and excitement to be a part of this residency. Plays & Players has served as Andrew’s artistic home for over a year now. You may recognize him as the stoic butler Bennett from Travesties, and you’ll see him again as a part of Greg Romero’s beautiful and animal filled children’s show in the Spring. A recent graduate of UArts and a native of Los Angeles, Andrew is thrilled to call Philadelphia his artistic home, and can’t wait to get down to work with people he trusts and admires this year.

A sample of Andrew’s statement of purpose for EAR:

With the information I’ve had over this past year, I’ve refined my goal for the residency. I’d love to create a case study of sorts for collaboration. “Collaboration” is a word that gets thrown around whenever more than one artist is in the room. I’d like to get a little closer to nature of collaboration and a formula of sorts to make it sustainable. I’d like to learn how much of each of the collaborative languages is more conducive to creation (Leading, Listening, Talking, Doing).  I’d love to create a blog to document my findings for any artist who seeks to do the same (we were avid readers before we were theatre artists, so this seems like a good resource to build).

Sarah Schol is a Philadelphia-based actor and creator. She has worked locally with the Walnut Street Theatre, Brat Productions, EgoPo Classic Theater, Luna Theater Company, the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, PDC, Passage Theater Company, and the One Minute Play Festival at InterAct Theatre Company, as well as with independent artists in the Fringe Festival, including playwright Jackie Goldfinger and director David O’Connor, MJ/JT, and installation artist Mick Queer. In New York, Sarah studied under performance artist Roberto Sifuentes at La MaMa E.T.C and performed with artist activist Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hamilton College in 2006. And for something completely different, you can also see her as Betsy Ross at the Betsy Ross House in Olde City. Sarah is thrilled to join the EAR Program at Plays & Players, and is excited to get started.

A sample of Sarah’s statement of purpose for EAR:

I constantly write ideas down throughout the day- musings on SEPTA, thoughts about work, and ideas I have for future projects. I want to explore the holiness of objects, and how we imbue meaning on them. I want to use my experience as Betsy Ross to create a piece about women in Philadelphia. I am very interested in exploring non-verbal work, and want to use the residency to explore dance and other movement-based performance forms. I have found myself becoming stifled by seeing my job as an actor to simply audition for established work. The life of an actor can feel daunting, and when roles for women are few and far between, at times it can feel impossible. As an artist, I want to rediscover that sense of possibility.

PDC Playwrights-In-Residence

Greg Nanni has recently graduated from the George Washington University with a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science with a focus in fiction. After graduation and a period of reflection, he decided to switch forms and to pursue playwriting. Raised in Bucks County, he has always had a deep relationship with the Philadelphia area, and has moved back after five years of residence in Washington, D.C. Since then, he has been focusing on the craft of playwriting while working as an administrative intern at the Azuka Theatre. Through Plays & Players, Greg looks to hone in on his craft for the stage, learn more of the intricacies of the theatre world, expand his network, and progress as an artist in both career and spirit. He is very grateful for this opportunity.

A sample of Greg’s statement of purpose for EAR:

I will strive to discover things about acting— of which I have done very little in the past—that will make me a stronger writer. This will include getting a feel of how much stage direction is required in script, and the opposite: how much body language can say in the place of dialogue. Both of these will allow me to judge more accurately the importance of lines in the play. I intend to throw myself into a musical. I have never done music in a work before, and to be honest I have been afraid of it. My greatest fear is to really go through a life with a character until she is real. If I am accepted, I want to field trips to psychological lectures, learn more about psychology and the hardships of others, and finally attempt record this imagining from the character’s birth until she says “stop.”

Charly Evon Simpson is a Philadelphia based writer who originally hails from New Jersey. Her plays include In the Beginning and or what she will, which debuted at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival. She is both the writer and the actor in her latest project, The Women in Me, a one-woman show debuting in September 2013 as a part of FringeArts in Philadelphia. Her credits as an actor and director include work as an actor in the 2006 Hangar Theatre Lab Company, the director of References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot at Production Workshop, and the assistant director ofboom at the Brown/Trinity Playwright’s Repertory. Charly received her B.A. in Theatre Arts and Literary Arts from Brown University and has a master’s in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford, New College. For more information, visit her website: www.charlyevonsimpson.com.

A sample of Charly’s statement of purpose for EAR:

When others have read my plays, many have noted that there is a cinematic quality to it. Many have asked why my play needs to be a play versus a screenplay. The second topic, “Change Your Medium”, excites me because I may have the chance to play around with medium and method, to dive into the question: how can film influence or enhance the plays I write? In addition, my love of writing started with poetry and poetry is always creeping into my work. I wonder how my work would change if I made poetry the focus in my playworld. I feel as though I am on the cusp of really figuring out what kind of theater artist I would like to be. Each time I sit down to work, I feel as though I am getting closer, but I haven’t pushed myself far enough to get down to the nitty-gritty and truly answer the question of what type of artist I want to be.

For more information on our playwright residency partner, PDC, please go to www.pdc1.org.