Marquee Dinner Spotlight on Zak Berkman | Theatre Philadelphia
Home Theatre News Marquee Dinner Spotlight on Zak Berkman

Marquee Dinner Spotlight on Zak Berkman

Feb 1, 2018

On February 5th, we will host the Marquee Dinner, honoring the Independence Foundation and celebrating new plays and playwrights in Philadelphia. This spotlight shares some background on the key artists that make our region a hotbed for new theatrical work.

I'm Zak Berkman, local playwright of "The Harassment of Iris Malloy.” I am the Producing Director at People’s Light where I lead new play initiatives such as The Harmony Lab (funded by The Independence Foundation) and New Play Frontiers Residency & Commission program.

I moved to the Philadelphia region in part because of the Independence Foundation. I first became engaged with People’s Light as one of the playwrights selected to be part of a New Play Program established in partnership with Longwood Gardens funded by The Independence Foundation. It was through this initiative that I learned about and became excited by People’s Light and the region as a whole.

I chose this city as my artistic home because there is a diversity of environments, populations, and creative opportunities in the Philadelphia region. This place possesses such a rich history of art-making and nation-building, the intersection of the personal and the political is profound. This inspires me to ask big questions about the way human beings envision our place in the world, how we connect with one another in intimate and epic ways.

I am currently collaborating with Mary Tuomanen, Stuart Carden, and Jessie Fisher on Such Things As Vampires, a feminist punk-folk concert-meets-passion play inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We are interested in the nature of an inoculation, and how we might prevent ourselves from the fears that are currently eating up our country.

​Other artists have had the greatest impact on my life and growth as an artist. The empathy, the bravery, the insight, the struggle and sweat. Among these is my wife who has been transformative in my understanding who I can be as an artist and care-taker of the arts.

​Many, many, many writers and creators here in Philadelphia inspire me today. But I’ll roll with a few with whom I’m currently working: David Bradley, Jorge Cousineau, Bill Fennelly, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Suli Holum, James Ijames, and Mary Tuomanen.  

Hear more stories like Zak's and share a meal alongside creators of new work at the Marquee Dinner on February 5th at Panorama Restaurant!