Emma Goidel is a Philadelphia-based playwright. 

In 2014 she co-founded Orbiter 3, Philly's critically acclaimed producing playwrights collective .

Her plays include A Knee That Can Bend (Orbiter 3, finalist for seven 2016 Barrymore Awards including Outstanding New Play/Musical, ACTA/Steinberg Award nomination), Local Girls (Azuka Theatre, 2015 Kilroys List Honorable Mention), We Can All Agree To Pretend This Never Happened (Ensemble Studio Theatre, Òran Mór in Glasgow, InterAct Theatre Company/Tiny Dynamite), and The Gap (development: Ars Nova, Labyrinth Theater Co., InterAct Theatre Co.; 2016 Kilroys List Honorable Mention).

Emma is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group, and has received fellowships from the Playwrights Realm, InterAct Theatre Company, the Playwrights’ Center, and New York Stage & Film/Powerhouse Theater.

Her work was recognized 8 times at the 2016 Barrymore Awards, where Emma was one of four finalists for the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist--the largest award given to an individual artist by Theatre Philadelphia.



Local Girls

High school chemistry genius Diskit needs some friends who aren't her dad. High school burnout Riley needs a new screamer for her metal band. The Zombie Fuel Energy Drink Wreak Ruckus Battle of the Bands could transform them both from losers into rock gods. But will that be enough to get them out of Tucker, Georgia? A comedy with live music about searching for big-time glory in a small-time town.


Azuka Theatre World Premiere, dir. Allison Heishman, Spring 2016
Playwrights Realm workshops & staged reading, dir. Knud Adams, 2015
The Playwrights' Center staged reading, dir. Jessica Finney, June 2014


2015 Kilroys List, Honorable Mention
2015 Princess Grace Award, Finalist
2016 Arnold L. Weissberger Award, Nominee



In enlisting Orbiter 3 and Ars Nova Play Group standout Emma Goidel, [Azuka has] got a charmer on their hands with the playwright’s pseudo-musical drama. It’s a little snot-nosed and a little philosophical, like any good punk band ought to be.

... Portrays the punk-rock shtick charmingly, compellingly, and dynamically ...

One of the smartest things that’s happening in Philadelphia right now.
— Philadelphia Inquirer, Review: Azuka Theatre Company Production
Fun, big-hearted, so-serious-it’s-silly ... A delightful daffy romp that leaves a lingering happy glow.
— Broad Street Review, Review: Azuka Theatre Company Production
Among Philadelphia playwrights, Emma Goidel is a rising rock star. ... Goidel, obviously a gifted writer, makes something of the familiar story. She has a good sense of structure — also an ear for flavorful dialogue ... Local Girls definitely has an edge.
— Philadelphia Magazine, Review: Azuka Theatre Company Production

Other press


A Knee That Can Bend

When American sociology student Kate stumbles into an underground circle of queers in Sénégal, her semester abroad transforms into an intimate tour of Dakar's hidden gay nightlife. What Kate learns from Aicha, Néné, and their friends could get her into grad school. That is, if she can convince them to consent to being studied. 

A Knee That Can Bend explodes into the ethical sand-traps of Americans telling African stories, falling in love far from home, and searching for people like you in a country that doesn’t believe you exist.

Production & Development

Orbiter 3 (Philly) World Premiere, dir. Kittson O'Neill, December 2015
InterAct Theatre Company (Philly) staged reading, dir. Kate Galvin, June 2014
New York Stage & Film staged reading, dir. Erin Ortman, June 2012


2016 Independence Foundation Award for Outstanding New Play/Musical, Finalist (current)
2016 Virginia Brown Marin Philadelphia Award, Finalist (current)
2016 ACTA/Steinberg Award, Nominee



There are few works currently playing in Philadelphia that are as thought-provoking and engaging... Deeply moving, emotionally gripping, and beautifully performed... Utterly intelligent writing... A must-see.
— Philadelphia Magazine, Review: Orbiter 3 Production
Understated, intense, and passionate, Emma Goidel’s play A Knee That Can Bend confronts serious issues on a personal scale. ... Even with all the great theater happening in Philadelphia right now, it’s a must-see.
— Broad Street Review, Review: Orbiter 3 Production
Thoughtful, mature and intellectually provocative work ... [Goidel] is an insightful observer and judge ... This powerful new work similarly reveals Goidel’s own promise ... She will be a bright voice ...
— Philadelphia Inquirer, Review: Orbiter 3 Production



The Gap

There’s always been this period of time I felt was missing from my life. I have a memory of terror, but it’s only a feeling. You think that’s normal?

A dark new comedy about sisters, alien abduction, and solo performance art that asks what’s ultimately worse: forgetting, or remembering?


Ars Nova workshop & staged reading, dir. Erin Ortman, April 2016

Labyrinth Theater Company staged readings, dir. Erin Ortman, 2015

InterAct Theatre Company staged reading, dir. Maura Krause, June 2015

Developed at Ars Nova with the 2015-2016 Play Group.




We Can All Agree To Pretend This Never Happened

A mischievous one-act farce about Americans scientists faking research results in a Siberian lab.


Ensemble Studio Theatre (NYC) production, dir. Abigail Zealey-Bess, 2015

Òran Mór (Glasgow) production, dir. Joe Douglas, 2015

Tiny Dynamite & InterAct Theatre Company World Premiere, dir. Kittson O'Neill, 2014

Commissioned by Tiny Dynamite, Artistic Director Emma Gibson

[A] wild farce in all its scientific nerdiness, personal infidelities, and professional misconduct with spot-on comedic timing and full-out physical humor for a fun-filled hour of laughs.
—, REVIEW: Tiny Dynamite production


Safe Space

written with Emily Acker & Douglas Williams

An interactive South Philly house play about environmental science students and their live-action, role-playing, global warming game.


Apocalypse Club, world premiere, dir. Maura Krause, 2014 FringeArts Neighborhood Fringe Festival

CityPaper Pick, "15 Must-See Fringe Shows"
Philadelphia Magazine Pick, Fringe Buzz
Uwishunu Pick, "Fringe Festival Neighborhood Performances"

Who wants another fantasy of apocalypse when we can have a play (within a play) like this? ... Safe Space keeps establishing its own artificiality while casting its spell over you. This is great theater in the deep sense of that word.
— CityPaper, REVIEW: Apocalypse Club production

Other short plays have been produced and presented at:

Philadelphia Theatre Company
Horizon Theater (Atlanta)
Playwrights Realm
University of Pennsylvania



Fellowships & Residencies

Ars Nova Play Group, 2015 - 2017

Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow, 2014 - 2015

InterAct Theatre Company Core Playwright, 2013 - 2015

The Playwrights' Center Core Apprentice, 2013 - 2014

The Foundry (Philly playwrights lab) Member Playwright, 2012 - 2015

New York Stage & Film/Powerhouse Theater Dasha Epstein Playwriting Fellow, 2012



Sundance Theater Lab Semi-Finalist for The Gap, 2016

New Harmony Project Finalist for The Gap, 2016

Harold & Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award Nominee for A Knee That Can Bend, 2016

L. Arnold Weissberger Award Nominee for A Knee That Can Bend, 2016

Princess Grace Award Finalist for Local Girls, 2015

L. Arnold Weissberger Award Nominee for Local Girls, 2015

Kilroys "The List" Honorable Mention for Local Girls, 2015

National New Play Network Smith Prize Nominated by PlayPenn, 2015

Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist for A Knee That Can Bend, 2015

Tiny Dynamite/A Play, A Pie & A Pint Commissions, 2014 & 2015

Horizon Theatre New South Young Playwrights Contest Winner, 2012



Barnard College BA with honors in Theatre (playwriting + dramaturgy), Phi Beta Kappa, 2012

Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts coursework in dramaturgy (NYC) & contemporary French theater (Paris), 2010

School for International Training: Dakar, Senegal study abroad, 2011

Master Classes Erik Ehn, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Lisa Krohn, J.T. Rogers, Paula Vogel



emmagoidel [at]

represented by

Jonathan Mills, Paradigm Talent Agency
212.897.6400 / jmills [at]