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"Young Playwright For Life"
by Manna-Symone Middlebrooks
GENNE MURPHY was confident that she would become a professional writer even as a student at Central High School. However, what she hadn’t discovered yet was her voice as a playwright. Her first play, A Perfect Mother, was a winner in the 1999 Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival. Outside of the work she’d done in class with teaching artist Ed Shockley, this was Genne’s first experience with theatre. She fell in love with the collaborative nature of theatre and the multiple ways in which it communicates with audiences and other artists. That love for collaborative art aided her decision to study playwriting and theatre in college, at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
In 2005, after college, Genne came back to Philadelphia and worked her way up from Office Manager to General Program Manager at Young Playwrights. During her time on staff, Genne learned about the function of a nonprofit arts organization and how to facilitate the learning and discussions centered around student voices that are at the core of PYP. In this time, her relationship with Glen Knapp developed and he became her mentor; that lead to Genne briefly serving as a guest Executive Director in 2014. Since then Genne has continued to establish herself as an artist and nonprofit arts professional.
She has not only been accepted into Yale University’s M.F.A. playwriting program, but her play Giantess was selected as one of the pieces in the 2015 PlayPenn Conference. This highly selective conference invites only six playwrights each year to develop a piece through an in-depth series of workshops with a local director, dramaturge, designers, and actors.
After the excitement of seeing the reading of Giantess, the PYPAC caught up with Genne to talk about the PlayPenn process and how much she has grown since beginning with PYP in 1999.