“Written by Phillis” Open Rehearsal and Show and Tell

Date / Time

  • April 30, 2023
    2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

This program is supported by Liza and Jonathan Seltzer


  • Admission is $50. 50% off for Rosenbach members, free for the Delancey Society. Not a member? Learn more.
  • This is an in-person program at The Rosenbach Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation. If you have questions, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].
  • Registration opens for Delancey Society members on March 2, for members on March 9, and for the general public on March 16.



Join the Rosenbach Museum and Library in collaboration with Quintessence Theatre for a behind the scenes first look at Written by Phillis, an original play that brings to life the remarkable history of Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved American who was the first Black poet to be published in America. You’ll get to watch how a cast and crew work together to put together the cohesive, engaging and fluid story you see when you attend a theatre performance. Afterward you’ll get the chance to ask the cast and crew about the process of adapting a more than 250-year-old historical figure to a character for a 21st century stage.  

The Rosenbach Museum and Library holds a first edition of Phillis Wheatley’s After Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral published in London in 1773. Before the open rehearsal starts get up close and personal with this jewel of the collection and other items in our collection connected to the story of Wheatley and contemporaries who appear in in the play Written by Phillis, like Charles Ignatius Sancho and George Washington. 

All attendees will receive a 25% off discount to purchase tickets to see the full performance of Written by Phillis at Quintessence Theatre. The play runs May 10 – June 4. More information here: https://www.quintessencetheatre.org/phillis.

About the Play

Phillis is a world-premiere, original play that brings to life the remarkable history of Phillis Wheatley, enslaved American and beloved poet. After Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral was published in London in 1773, she became “the most famous woman of African descent in the World” admired by Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and King George III, among countless others. Conceived and created as part of our collaboration with Chicago’s New Classics Collective—Paul Oakley Stovall (Artistic Director/Playwright), Marilyn Campbell-Lowe (Playwright), and Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Director)–this new biographical dramatization puts Wheatley’s poetry front and center, reconsiders her important role in America’s founding and ideals, and celebrates her life and legacy, one that inspired an African-American literary tradition that has lasted over two and a half centuries.