Philadelphia Young Playwrights has a new executive director
LaNeshe Miller-White officially stepped into the role at the starting of May.
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Earlier this month, Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ Board of Directors announced the hiring of LaNeshe Miller-White as its new executive director.
Miller-White brings more than 15 years of experience in the Philadelphia arts and culture scene to her newest role.
An advocate for increasing diversity and representation in the arts and theater industry, Miller-White is the co-founder and executive director of Theatre in the X, a theater company dedicated to breaking down barriers to theater by providing access for Black audiences and providing opportunities for Black artists.
Most recently, she served as executive director of Theatre Philadelphia for nearly three years.
Miller-White takes the reins as Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ new leader after Lisa Nelson-Haynes stepped down earlier this year to accept a national role as Interim Chief of Programming at StoryCorps.
"LaNeshe is uniquely suited to increase the visibility of PYP's impact in Philadelphia and the region,” said PYP Board President Peter Mastriano in a statement. “She has a unique set of artistic and leadership skills, along with deep connections for our community. She has a proven track record of raising up Philadelphia's creative voices - and she brings with her a passion for making a difference and getting things done.”
The new executive director is no stranger to the organization.
In 2004 — the year she came to Philadelphia as a Temple University undergrad student — she had her first theater gig in an acting role in a PYP showcase.
“Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of being an in-classroom actor, participating in a Saturday playwriting retreat, and the 2nd Annual Pep Rally. I have always been extremely touched and inspired by the scenes and plays the students participating in PYP programs have written,” said Miller-White in a statement.
“I am so honored to be able to join PYP in the capacity of Executive Director and lead the organization in bringing the transformative power of playwriting into classrooms,” she continued.
As the organization's new Executive Director, Miller-White will help Philadelphia Young Playwrights champion and celebrate student voices through the art of playwriting, in both schools and in communities.
Current programs include in-school programs, an annual playwriting festival, resident playwrights, playwriting workshops and classes, and community-based programs, and are designed to provide students with creative experiences that build community, inspire change and transform lives.
"Philadelphia Young Playwrights is such a stellar opportunity to introduce students to the power of playwriting and using creative writing to express ourselves and connect with one another,” Miller-White added. “As a big advocate for keeping arts experiences in schools I am so excited to join PYP as Executive Director and be a part of enabling arts education for Philadelphia area youth."
Miller-White’s first orders of business in her new role has been continuing to execute and measure benchmarks for PYP’s new strategic plan, and meeting with donors, community partners and education leaders.
According to Mastriano, one of PYP’s biggest ongoing challenges is a lack of visibility and awareness among regional individual donors.
“One assignment of the new ED will the to bolster broader awareness of PYP and reconnect with the students we have touched over the decades now that they are adults,” he noted. “We have all the confidence in the world Miller-White can lead this important work as we head into the future."
Founded in 1987, Philadelphia Young Playwrights has worked diligently to bring the transformative power of playwriting into classrooms and community settings across the Greater Philadelphia region.