JBumke headshot2Julia is a Philadelphia-based new work dramaturg who is passionate about fostering composers, librettists, and playwrights at all stages of their careers. Her recent work includes premieres and workshops with Opera Philadelphia, Curtis Institute of Music, PEAK Performances at Montclair State University, Music-Theatre Group, the American Repertory Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and the John Duffy Institute for New Opera.

Julia is the Director of Education at PlayPenn, a new play development organization, where she curates playwriting courses for adult writers at all levels. She is a proud member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), and serves as their Regional Representative for the Greater Philadelphia area. She has served as a reader for the O’Neill’s National Playwrights Conference, SPACE on Ryder Farm, the A.R.T., and Williamstown Theater Festival, among others.

Julia received her A.B. from Princeton in History, with Theater and American Studies; and her M.F.A. in Dramaturgy from A.R.T.’s Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard. Her musical background stems from a degree in French horn performance from The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division.

When she’s not creating new work, Julia can usually be found upside down. She teaches yoga and meditation classes at Sanctuary Yoga and Mindfulness, an alignment-driven studio in Philadelphia, where she completed her RYT-200 training with with Kilkenny Tremblay and Andrea Barberio. 

Artistic Statement

Julia at the Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium in June 2018.

I believe in bringing creative artists back to their original intention for a piece: why this project now, and what sparked this curiosity in the first place? As a creator prepares for a world premiere, any number of financial and artistic decisions can compromise this founding impetus. By keeping their intention at the forefront of our conversations, I help artists create rigorous projects that are true to their core reason for being, leading to pieces that are as thorough as they are inventive.

I love working on projects that defy genres and push against form constraints to make something new. I’ve dramaturged everything from an opera with six trumpets, an eight-man chorus, and a tenor who plays both a lighthouse-keeper and the wife who haunts him; to a Yiddish-Cuban opera-musical-drama mash-up; to a project where the lead mezzo-soprano uses AutoTune and a vocoder to explore where humans end and robots begin. I’ve worked in museum galleries, cramped windowless studios, outdoor theaters, and 1,000-seat proscenium opera halls alike. Through them all, I find new work dramaturgy exhilarating because of its sheer lack of a road map. It lets me connect deeply with artists at their most vulnerable moments of creation, getting to the heart of each project and teasing out its singular path to success.

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