Vichet Chum, Donja R. Love, and Ro Reddick visit Phoenixville during their May 2024 residency.

We’re thrilled to introduce our first Queerways, PA (QPA) playwright cohort: Vichet Chum, Donja R. Love, Ro Reddick, and Harrison David Rivers!

QPA is dedicated to amplifying a broad spectrum of voices and narratives. This extension of our esteemed New Play Frontiers (NPF) program brings together nationally recognized playwrights to create new works that celebrate the rich intersection of Southeastern Pennsylvania's LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities. Through the residency and commission program, distinguished writers immerse themselves in our area, drawing inspiration from local stories and experiences to craft compelling, original plays. Each playwright brings a unique perspective to this work, promising new theatre that reflects and honors the diverse experiences of our region.

Harrison David Rivers (L) with NPF Playwrights Lisa Ramirez (center) and Guadalís Del Carmen (right) during a concurrent QPA/NPF residency in February 2024.

For over a decade, New Play Frontiers (NPF) has been a cornerstone of People’s Light, inviting playwrights to delve into the histories and current concerns of our area. NPF residencies foster deep connections between artists and a wide range of community partners, resulting in plays that not only premiere at People’s Light but also find life on stages across the country. Building on this success, Queerways, PA focuses specifically on queer and BIPOC experiences, aiming to elevate these voices and stories.

Andrew Watring, Community Programs Creative Director, explains the process of helping playwrights from across the country find inspiring connections in southeastern PA: “The residency is broken down into two spheres. One is community interaction, and the other is development. The community interaction part involves orientation and follow-up visits where playwrights engage directly with local organizations and community members. On the development side, we have workshops where writers write, have readings, and get feedback from artistic staff and community members. This approach ensures that the playwrights' works are deeply informed by and connected to the communities they portray, resulting in plays that resonate with authenticity and depth.”

Harrison David Rivers was the first QPA playwright to visit the area for a residency, and participated in The Kiln, our annual new work incubator, to develop and share an early draft of his project. In May, Vichet, Donja, and Ro arrived for their immersive orientation week. The playwrights spent time talking with community leaders – like West Chester activist-historian Ms. Penny Washington and Sabriaya Shipley, Executive Director of Theatre Philadelphia – as well as visiting various organizations and pillars of local communities including the LGBT Equality Alliance, Alianzas de Phoenixville, Camp Dreamcatcher, Gateway HorseWorks, and Arrive Therapy. Throughout the program, these playwrights will continue to participate in activities including interviews, small group gatherings, story circles, and collaborative events with community partners.

By integrating community engagement with script development, QPA offers a unique, holistic approach to new play creation. Our team at People’s Light, including Director of New Works Deepa Purohit and Producing Artistic Director Zak Berkman, guides the playwrights throughout the process and ensure their projects are nurtured from conception to stage. We’re proud to continue to champion innovative and inclusive theatre that reflects and responds to the dynamic communities we serve, and can’t wait to see the impactful works that will come from Queerways, PA.


Meet the Playwrights

VICHET CHUM (he/him) is a New York based writer from Dallas, Texas. His plays have been workshopped/produced at Steppenwolf Theatre, the Alley Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Ars Nova, Page 73 Productions, Cleveland Play House, the Magic Theater, the UCROSS Foundation, Fault Line Theatre, Crowded Outlet, Second Generation Productions, Weston Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, All For One Theater, Amios, Florida State University, South Carolina New Play Festival and the New Harmony Project. He received the 2023 Lucille Bulger Service Award, 2018 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting with New Dramatists, the 2021 Laurents/Hatcher Award and a 2021 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for the world premiere of his play Bald Sisters which premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2022 and a special state citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives for his play KNYUM at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in 2018. He is currently a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, a Sun Valley Writers’ Conference Fellow, a curator for Space on Ryder Farm, a board member for the New Harmony Project, and a steering committee member for the Obie Award and Tony Award-winning organization, AAPAC (The Asian American Performers Action Coalition). Vichet's debut YA novel "Kween" was released this last fall with Quill Tree Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Donja R. Love is an Afro-Queer playwright, poet, and filmmaker from Philadelphia. He writes specifically about Black and Queer folx, for Black and Queer folx. He's the recipient of the 2018 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, the 2017 Princess Grace Playwriting Award. He’s the Lark's 2016 Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellow, The Playwrights Realm’s 2016/2017 Writing Fellow, and the 2011 Philadelphia Adult Grand Slam Poetry Champion. His work has been developed at Manhattan Theatre Club, Rising Circle Theatre, The Lark, and The Playwrights Realm. He's the cohost of OffBook, theater's only Black podcast; and he’s the co-founder of The Each-Other Project, an organization that helps build community and provide visibility, through art and advocacy, for LGBTQ People of Color. Select stage plays include: The Love* Plays, and soft.

Ro Reddick (she/her) is a queer Black playwright, songwriter, and educator. She is a third year MFA Playwriting candidate at Brown University where she is the Adele Kellenberg Seaver Fellow. Ro writes off-kilter, dark comedies, the theme songs to your late capitalist nightmares. They include: Throwback Island (O’ Neill Finalist), Cold War Choir Practice (Writing is Live/Brown University), ROBAMA (O’ Neill Semifinalist), Miss Black Syracuse (The Duplex), and The History of Black People Making White People Better People (co-writer Daryl Lathon). She is currently developing an untitled corporate satire about a bunch of dykes in the luxury notebook industry. Readings + Development Labs: The Ground Floor (Berkeley Rep), Bushwick Starr Reading Series, and Williamstown Theatre Festival (NYC Reading). Fellowships, Residencies + Grants: Venturous Fellowship Nomination, Lambda Literary Fellow in Playwriting, Adele Kellenberg Seaver Fellow in Creative Writing, La Mama Umbria International Playwright Retreat, Miranda Theatre Company Playwright Grant. Performance + Songwriting: As an actor, Ro has performed at theaters including Hartford Stage, McCarter Theatre Center, Long Wharf, and KC Rep; off-Broadway in “Silence! The Musical”; and on screen in The Americans, Louie, and SATC 2. As a singer she has performed in several development workshops of new musicals, and co-wrote and performed songs for a country, rock, and blues band. She also creates original songs for her own plays and is a member of the Brown Arts Institute Songwriting Workshop. Ro has a BFA in Acting from Ithaca College and an MBA from NYU (which she has no intention of using).

Harrison David Rivers is an award-winning playwright, librettist and television writer based in St. Paul, Minnesota. His works include The Salvagers (Yale Rep), we are continuous (Uptown Players, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Geva Theatre Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival), the bandaged place (Roundabout, NYSF), This Bitter Earth (Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, White Bear Theatre, Seattle Public, TheatreWorks Hartford, InterAct, The Road, Richmond Triangle Players, Theater Alliance, About Face, Penumbra, NCTC), among others, and the musicals We Shall Someday with Ted Shen and I Put a Spell on You with Nubya Garcia. His television credits include One of Us Is Lying (Peacock), The Nevers (HBO) and Wytches (Amazon). Harrison is a recipient of McKnight, Jerome and Van Lier Fellowships, residencies with the Siena Art Institute, NYTW, Williamstown, Geva and Duke University, and commissions from Roundabout, Transport Group, Penumbra, Geva, La Jolla Playhouse and Minnesota Opera. He sits on the Board of Directors of The Movement Theatre Company and the Playwrights’ Center. MFA: Columbia University.

The transformative potential of Queerways, PA would not be possible without the generous support of the William Penn Foundation. A major grant from the Foundation enables us to deeply engage with our community, support the artistic development of our playwrights, and bring their new works to life.