People’s Light Appoints Esteemed Playwright Deepa Purohit as New Director of New Works

People's LightPhoto by Bryan Sheffield

MALVERN, PAPeople’s Light, the renowned theatre company in Malvern, PA, has announced playwright Deepa Purohit as the new Director of New Works. The appointment, effective from November 17, sees Purohit succeed Lisa Portes and assume leadership of Queerways, PA and New Play Frontiers (NPF), the theatre’s Residency and Commission Programs.

In her new role, Purohit will guide nationally acclaimed playwrights in creating new works inspired by the Southeastern Pennsylvania region. “I’m utterly thrilled to take on the role of Director of New Works at People’s Light,” said Purohit. She expressed her excitement about supporting a new cohort of playwrights to discover and write the rich stories of the many diverse communities and people of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Deepa Purohit brings over 30 years of experience as a theater artist, educator, and communications coach. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College, a BA in History & African Studies from Northwestern University, and an MPH from Columbia University. Purohit co-founded and ran Rising Circle Theater Collective in New York City, producing the collective’s annual INKtank Writers Lab and PlayRISE Festival.

Purohit’s collaboration with People’s Light began with her participation in the 2017 cohort for People’s Light New Play Frontiers commission. Together with actor, director, and playwright Sanjit De Silva, she co-wrote and developed the immersive audio play, Crushed Earth. The play, which is currently being streamed for free by People’s Light, Theater Horizon, and Hedgerow Theatre Company, follows several characters from Eastern Pennsylvanians caught in a mysterious winter storm searching for a way home.

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In addition to her work with People’s Light, Purohit has achieved significant recognition in the theatre world. Her 2023 play Elyria premiered Off-Broadway at The Atlantic Theater Company and was nominated for a 2023 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Play. She also received the 2023 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for Excellence in Playwriting and a 2022-30 Edgerton Foundation Award for Elyria.

“We are thrilled to have Deepa Purohit join us in this new capacity,” said Zak Berkman, Producing Artistic Director at People’s Light. “Deepa has long been a champion of playwrights as well as new methodologies for the development of new work.”

With Purohit’s appointment, People’s Light aims to continue its commitment to developing and presenting stories by ambitious, curious, and empathetic theatremakers from across the country.

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