JBumke headshot2Julia is a Philadelphia-based new work dramaturg who is passionate about fostering playwrights, librettists, and composers at all stages of their careers. She is the Director of Education at PlayPenn, a new play development organization, where she curates playwriting courses for adult writers at all levels. Julia’s recent work includes premieres and workshops with Opera Philadelphia, 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 a proud member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), and serves as their Regional Representative for the Greater Philadelphia area. Julia mentors emerging playwrights at PlayPenn’s writers lab The Foundry, and 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 is also a nonprofit strategist who specializes in institution-building, collaborating with a wide range of organizations nationwide.

She 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. She completed the National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center in 2017, where she studied critical writing with Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune.

Artistic Statement

Julia at the Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium in June 2018.

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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