Performing Arts

Drama Program

Community theater enriches the lives of all involved

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Drama at Phillips' Mill

Phillips’ Mill brings community-driven theater to Bucks County, hosts workshops for youth and supports the aspirations of emerging playwrights.
Its current programs include:

Emerging Playwright Competition

This juried annual competition of short plays encourages the development of original theatrical work. Cash prizes and the opportunity for public readings by actors on the Mill stage are awarded. A public reading of the six chosen short plays, with talkbacks with the audience, is the highlight of the competition.

Premiere Showcase

The Premiere Showcase is the nascent production of an original, fully developed, never-before-performed play produced on the Mill stage by an up-and-coming playwright. The play is chosen by members of the Drama Committee. Director and cast are chosen by the playwright.

Play with Words

The Play with Words Playwriting Challenge for student writers invites aspiring writers to submit their work for review and the chance for it to be read on the stage at Phillips’ Mill.  This juried one-act playwriting challenge is for students in grades 7 to 12.

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Spring Musicals

Phillips’ Mill Drama presents original works with live music each spring. These musical comedies delight audiences with their creativity, passion and collaboration by combining song, dance and dialogue to tell a story. The audience, seated cabaret style, is supportive and part of the collaboration.

Come to the cabaret this May for "The Mill’s Guide to the Best Vacation Ever!!" for a toe-tapping, hilarious evening of music and comedic plays.  

Phillips' Mill Salon

These impromptu literary salons provide participants the oppotunity to explore their creative voices through poetry, storytelling, monologues, short plays and more, and to find their authentic written and performance styles. Participants are invited to share their work with other creatives or simply be part of the audience.  

Love theater? Support Phillips’ Mill Drama

There are many ways to show your support for our wonderful community theater program. We welcome new members and volunteers who share our passion for the stage. If you are interested in joining our committee, contact us at

Learn more about joining the Phillips’ Mill Community Association by clicking on the link below.

Member Benefits


Drama and Theater at Phillips' Mill

It’s been a hundred years, maybe more, since Anton Chekhov’s “The Proposal” was performed at Phillips’ Mill. Early records indicate that it was the first play performed at the quaint location in Bucks County, Pa. It was the start of a long tradition of bringing live, community-driven theater to an emerging arts community. From original musical comedies to rousing cabarets, short plays to impromptu poetry readings, Phillips’ Mill Drama has presented a variety of quality entertainment and supported the aspirations of emerging writers, actors, musicians and other artists.

The Stage Was Set for a Long-Standing Tradition

In 1900, when Phillips’ Mill was no longer functioning as a grist mill, owner Dr. George Morley Marshall and his artist friends (The New Hope Impressionists) took down a few trees and built a stage. He wanted the communal intellectual and artistic traditions that had been fostered on the grounds of the Mill under his watch to continue.

Nearly three decades later—and with Dr. Marshall’s enthusiastic encouragement—the Mill was purchased by its community members. The first president of the Mill Community Association was his artist friend William Langson Lathrop, whose wife Annie was a talented promoter of theatrics. They staged many theatricals, a tradition that has continued since that time.

Theatrical Productions at Phillips’ Mill

Theatrical Productions & Cabaret Events at Phillips' Mill - New Hope, Pa

Over the years, a number of well-known plays and dramas were staged at the Mill by such directors as Ann Melby Shenkle and Nandas Metcalfe Case. Yet, the main staple of the Mill’s products was amateur comedic musicals written by a succession of writers including Dorothy Slesinger (and right-hand person Eleanor Miller), Emily Leith-Ross, Mary Stetson, Jackie Clark, Bette Benedict, Lori Rosolowsky, Kevin Nalty and Valerie Eastburn. Many of the musicals were choreographed by Betty Benton. Talented musicians enhanced the production with live music.

Phillips’ Mill Drama Today

Phillips’ Mill Drama continues to bring wonderful, community-based productions of original works to the Mill, featuring live music and original works by area talent.

Stay up to date on all of our productions and programs by signing up for the Phillips’ Mill Grist newsletter and other email updates.

Please consider becoming a valued sponsor of our Emerging Playwright Competition (EPC). Every donation, however small, helps make it possible for us to continue to offer this meaningful program. We are deeply grateful for your support.

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Upcoming Drama Events

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The Phillips' Mill Community Association supports programming in the visual and performing arts, and hosts social and educational events. It is the broadest-ranging venue for artistic expression in Bucks County.

Sherri Andrews “Paths of Life”
Barry Good "Thoughts of Those Passed"

Youth Programs

Amanda Penecale “Cliffs in Autumn- Ottsville Pa”

Art Talk

Joe Gyurcsak “Opening Night”



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Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus