The Grist - November 2023

November 6, 2023

2023 Emerging Playwright Competition Reading of Winning Plays
Saturday, November 18, 7 pm

We are excited to be bringing the six winning short plays of the 2023 Emerging Playwright Competition to the stage of the historic Phillips’ Mill. Following the readings of the plays by local actors, there will be a wine reception for sponsors, actors, playwrights, jurors and audience members. As in years past, there will be a moderated talkback/Q&A between the audience and the playwrights—always a highlight of the evening!

You can expect to hear some very interesting plays read, relays Glenn Steinberg, one of three jurors for this year’s competition and a professor at The College of New Jersey. He has been teaching courses in the history of the English language, classical studies, and medieval and Renaissance literature at TCNJ since 1998. “In short plays, it’s generally best to explore a particular moment, an incredibly important moment. You don’t want the story to get too big.”

Steinberg, a first-time juror for Phillips’ Mill, notes that competitions such as this one provide aspiring writers with the opportunity to get valuable audience feedback. “Writing is such a solitary thing; you spend so much time by yourself. Writers need opportunities like this to get feedback and be rewarded and reassured.”

The public is invited to attend. There is no admission fee. Donations are welcome. Registration required.

2023 EPC Winning Playwrights

Peter Langman for “Hebrew Holy Man”
Peter Langman’s plays have received recognition in 12 national competitions, and monologues from his plays have appeared in anthologies published by Meriwether and Smith & Kraus. He is also a poet and a psychologist whose research on school shooters has received international recognition.

Patricia Lynn for “An Honest Lesson in Self-Defense”
Patricia Lynn fancies herself to be a gothic feminist playwright; she writes vivid, witty plays inspired by themes and tropes associated with gothic literature. Her most recent full-length play, “The Maid & the Mesmerizer,” will be performed off-off-Broadway at the A.R.T./N.Y. Theatre Spaces in Manhattan in March 2024.

Jennifer O’Grady for “We Were Happy”
Jennifer O’Grady is an award-winning playwright whose work has been performed nationally and internationally, and published in “The Best Ten-Minute Plays,” “Best New Ten-Minute Plays,” “Best Women’s Stage Monologues” and other anthologies. She is also an award-winning and widely published poet and the author of two poetry books.

Adam Richter for “Clips”
Adam Richter has written more than 50 plays, ranging in length from one minute to 100 pages. His play “Eye Contact” won the Phillips’ Mill Emerging Playwright Award in 2021, and his one-act play “Everybody Hates This Place” has been produced by Barley Sheaf Players and the Reading Theater Project.

Domenick Scudera for “Broken Vessel”
Domenick Scudera is Professor of Theater at Ursinus College, where he has been teaching acting, directing and theater history since 1997. Professionally, he has directed at theaters such as the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater, Delaware Theater Company, the Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center, and Historic Philadelphia Inc. New Hope audiences may recognize Domenick by his drag alter ego, Summer Clearance. ‍

Julie Zaffarano for “France Is Bacon”
Julie Zaffarano is a nationally produced playwright whose work spans multiple genres and forms, and comes alive with varied characters. She is the founder of the Media Arts Council Play Reading Series. Her recent recognitions include: Finalist, Terrence McNally Award; Two-Time Semi-Finalist, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference; Finalist, Veterans Repertory Theatre; Best Production, Pittsburgh New Work Festival; Winner, Best New Work, What If Productions.

Congratulations to Jane M. Lee, who received honorable mention for “Trite and True.” Her work has been performed across the United States, as well as in Canada and Hong Kong. Her short play “Family Emergency” was praised for “fus[ing] the hostility of a Jerry Springer program with the warmth and irony of an O. Henry story.”

An Afternoon of Dramatic Monologues at the Mill
Sunday, November 19, 3 pm

Our Literary Salon series continues with an afternoon of dramatic monologues. The event is open to anyone who wants to perform a two- to three-minute monologue, and will also feature a selection of local actors performing monologues. These events are designed to bring creative people together to stimulate discussion, spark ideas and network. Audience discussion is encouraged.

“We had very enthusiastic feedback from the audience when we did a monologue-themed salon last year, so we decided to do it again,” says author John McDonnell, who runs the Literary Salon for the Mill.

The audience can bring food and drinks, and mingling is welcome. Admission is free, but a donation of $5 per person is appreciated.

Anyone interested in attending or performing a monologue should contact John McDonnell at, or sign up on our website at the link below.

Teachers and Parents:
Do You Know a Teen Who Loves to Write?

“Play with Words,” our juried one-act playwriting challenge for students in grades 7 to 12, is accepting submissions through January 15, 2024.

The second annual juried “Play with Words” playwriting contest for students is open for submissions. “I encourage all teachers and parents to tell young aspiring playwrights about this competition,” says Valerie Eastburn, chair of Phillips’ Mill Drama. “It’s a good opportunity to have your work reviewed, and best of all, winners get to see their plays directed and read on the stage of the historic Phillips’ Mill. Winners also receive a cash prize of $100.”

The winning short plays will be read on March 3, 2024. All are invited to attend.

Campaign to Upgrade Our Stage with New Lights and Sound

The historic theater at the Phillips’ Mill has hosted hundreds of plays and events since Dr. George Morley Marshall transformed the old mill into an arts venue in 1910. While the mill has gone through many significant improvements since that time (including heating in the 1940s and AC in the 1990s!), it is time to bring lighting and sound up to the 21st century.

We have researched the cost of renovating lighting and sound and are reaching out to you to help us do this much-needed upgrade, hoping to raise $30K to $40K. All lights will be LED (no heat to actors, thousands of colors, and much lower power consumption), and the sound will be piped to four speakers in the auditorium (instead of two) and to two additional monitor speakers backstage for the benefit of the actors.

To make this fundraising event more exciting, three “angels” have offered to match, dollar for dollar, each of the tax-deductible donations that you make. All donations are greatly appreciated.

Visual Arts

Thank you to the artists, volunteers, patrons and visitors for another successful and inspiring show!

The 94th Juried Art Show at Phillips’ Mill came to a close on Sunday, October 29, marking another success for the Phillips’ Mill Community Association and the more than 70 volunteers responsible for organizing and implementing the show. This includes accepting and managing the art, greeting visitors, advertising and marketing the show, promoting the artwork on-site and online, covering the sales desk, producing a fabulous opening preview reception, fundraising to enable the production of the show, and spending hours behind the scenes on electronic execution.

Area artists presented their finest works to a jury of five practicing artists who are also academic professors and museum consultants with significant national and international recognition. They curated a show of over 300 works of art in a host of styles, media and expression. During the opening weekend of the show, over $55,000 in art sales was recorded. We had nearly 1,000 visitors, who frequently commented on the quality of the hanging and display of the artwork.

Though it rained at the beginning and end of the show, the flow of visitors was consistent throughout the weeks. In fact, many people were waiting at the door for the show to open.

We thank our artists, our visitors, our volunteers and “Butterscotch” (the cat) for making the 94th juried show one for the books. We look forward to welcoming you back for a celebratory 95th next year!

Exciting News:
Two New Shows Coming in 2024

Mill Members Art Show & Sale
March 16 & 17, March 23 & 24

All Mill members will be invited to submit their work to this unjuried show. We are reaching out to members for help in the planning of this exciting, new event. Please let us know if you’d like to join the committee by emailing Shawn Campbell at

Also, for planning purposes, we’d love to get an idea of how many artists are interested in entering their work. Please email us at to let us know if you are a member planning to submit your work, or if you plan to become a member so that you can participate.

Naturally golden silk yarn, made by hand in Thailand. ©️ Laura Womack

Textile Art Show
Coming Summer 2024

Phillips’ Mill is working on its first-ever textile art show for early next summer. Watch this space for updates. To get involved, contact us at

ArtTalk - Conversations with Artists at Phillips' Mill - New Hope, Pa.

ArtTalk with Kirby Fredendall

Wednesday, November 15, 7 pm
Zoom Webinar

Kirby Fredendall is an award-winning landscape artist who has exhibited widely in the region, including at Phillips’ Mill. Her paintings are a visual record of her experience in nature. They are not about how the landscape looks as much as about how the landscape can make one feel.

Deborah Kostianovsky from InLiquid said of Kirby’s work, “It’s almost as if the artist was able to capture that elusive space between the physical landscape and the mental manifestations of being there; she packages up that tenuous space and serves it to us on canvas.”

Member News
2nd Annual Holiday Soirée at Phillips' Mill - New Hope Pa.

Phillips’ Mill Drama to Host 2nd Annual Holiday Soirée
Friday, December 1, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Kick off the holiday season and spread good cheer with your friends at the Mill!

Enjoy music by Barry and The Fog, wonderful food and wine, Cecily’s wicked holiday punch, Betty & Friends’ Turkey Lurkey, possibly a Norwegian Blue Parrot and more surprise fun entertainment provided by Drama.

In the spirit of the season, A Giving Tree to benefit a local charity will be featured for all who wish to participate in sharing good fortune.

Members: free. Guests: $10. Invitations will be arriving via email soon.

In Case You Missed It — Mill Members Mixer

Members of the Mill and their guests gathered on Friday, October 20, for a lovely wine and cheese social hosted by the Special Events Committee. This year, as in years past, it was a wonderful opportunity to socialize with other Mill members while enjoying the beautiful artwork at the Phillips’ Mill Annual Juried Art Show.

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

― Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades

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Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus