ABOUT OPC

 

OPC’s mission is to develop unproduced plays of artistic excellence from diverse writers both emerging and established, and to nurture a new generation of playwrights.

 

 

 
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A Statement by Robert Egan

OPC Artistic Director / Producer

The Ojai Playwrights Conference is unique in its process of developing new plays for the American theatre by offering a safe, productive, rigorous haven for socially committed writers. This is key to our vision.

OPC is passionate about developing playwrights and plays that address the burning, divisive issues confronting us today about the values and beliefs that impact the sociopolitical experiment that is America. 

We seek playwrights who question and challenge the dominant values, beliefs and discourses of our social moment. This questioning and challenging can come from any part of the political spectrum. Plays and playwrights that make us think, re-consider and propel us beyond the polarizing limitations of civil strife, discrimination, economic disparity, religious intolerance, political myth-making, sexual bigotry – these are the writers we welcome to come to the community at Ojai.

Ethnic, cultural and sexual diversity are major factors in our selection process. We seek this diversity in order to accurately reflect and refract the many faces of the contemporary American experience. This diversity is evident in the writers, the acting community and core developmental artists. Generational/career diversity is also central to the OPC experience, so we have structured a developmental process with a healthy mix of early career, mid-career, and highly seasoned writers.

What makes OPC unique and effective also has very much to do with its retreat setting – a remote natural setting. Our artists live and work together in a secluded, soulful environment where the primary concentration is on the work and on building a rare moment of intimate community, free of commercial competition and rich in artistic collaboration. Every artist who comes to OPC celebrates the highly collaborative, non-competitive process that fosters creativity, exploration and experimentation.

Our primary goal is to fulfill the vision the playwright has for their new work. At OPC we are not encumbered by subscription demands or the business concerns of large commercialized institutions. We are motivated by developing challenging visions of who we are as a people today in an effort to bring us closer together in a respectful and loving community – that is the essence of OPC.

2019 season

New Works Festival, August 4 - 11 >> VIEW SCHEDULE

 

History of OPC

The Ojai Playwrights Conference is recognized as one of the leading new play development programs in the country.

 
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What began in 1998 as a local community effort to provide a forum for new play development has grown into a nationally acclaimed new play development program.

Each year a rigorous selection process yields a group of eight previously unproduced plays by a diverse group of writers at different stages in their careers. Each playwright is paired with a professional team comprised of a director, dramaturge and actors for an in-depth dramaturgical and rehearsal process, which culminates in OPC’s New Works Festival of public workshops for enthusiastic audiences.

OPC assembles artists from all over the country to live and work together in close proximity in a retreat environment, away from the pressures of distractions of their everyday lives. The Ojai community embraces the artists by providing housing support as well as participating in the lively exchange of ideas.

OPC also develops the next generation of artists by offering a Young Professionals Initiative (Intern Program) for college age interns, and a Youth Workshop for high school students.

OPC plays have gone on to have numerous productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at regional theatres across the U.S., and some have been nominated for and won prestigious awards including the Pulitzer Prize (Fun Home, Other Desert Cities) and Tony Awards (Fun Home, Eclipsed, The Motherf**ker with the Hat).

 
 
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"What is unique about OPC that sets it apart from all the rest is the spirit, energy and zeal that is evident in everyone there. There is a palpable force that binds everyone together in a spirit of creation, and in that spirit people seem to commune and create without ego."

– Steve Connell

 
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Board of Directors


 
 

Board of Directors 2019

Carl Thelander
President

Judy Ovitz
Vice President

Sam Hamann
Secretary

Mark Helm
Treasurer

Patrick J. Adams

Jon Robin Baitz

Laurie Bernhard

Eric M. Brooks

Jane Deknatel

Dana Delany

Jose Delgado

Robert Egan

Kerry English

Helene Gordon

Debra Breslow Grace

Susan Grode

Danai Gurira

Michael Hollingsworth

Freya Ivener

Will Knox

Hawk Koch

Kim Maxwell

Jim Preminger

Nancy Seltzer

Peter Tompkins

Gary Ungar

Patricia Waltcher

Laurie Ziegler

Advisory Board 2019

Stephen Belber

Bret Bradigan

Arvin Brown

Carleen Cappelletti

Roy Conli

Greg Copeland

Demetri Corbin

Sasha Emerson

Lisa Harrison

Michelle Joyner

David Mangone

Arla Manson

Mary McCormack

Pam Melone

Michael Morris

Michael Peretzian

Zachary Quinto

Sarah Treem

Vito Zingarelli

 
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Staff

 
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Robert Egan

Artistic Director/Producer

Robert has served as the Artistic Director/Producer of OPC since 2002. He is also the Founder and President of RHEgan Productions, LLC where he conceives, writes, produces and directs major live events and media projects celebrating non-profits like Cure Autism Now, Operation Smile, LA Team Mentoring, Global Green USA and Homeboy Industries. 

Prior to OPC, Robert served as the Producing Artistic Director for twenty years at the Mark Taper Forum where he was Director of New Play Development and the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of its prestigious New Work Festival. He was also the Associate Artistic Director of the Seattle Repertory Theatre. Robert has produced, directed, and dramaturged hundreds of new plays in the United States and Europe.


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Mark Seldis

Managing Director

Mark is a longtime member of the Los Angeles theatre community, as a producer and director.  He is the Producing Director of The Ghost Road Company and has directed for Moving Arts, Playwrights Arena, and Theatre of NOTE, among others. He was the Managing Director for The Actors' Gang for 10 years and worked in Education and Programming at The Music Center for 16 years. He is a recipient of the Lee Melville Award for Excellence in Los Angeles Theater.  


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Ruth Ballin

Marketing Director

Ruth has been on the OPC management team since 2010, overseeing marketing, ticketing and customer relations for the annual Gala and summer New Works Festival. As the owner/creative director of Ballin Marketing & Public Relations since 1999, Ruth has provided marketing support and creative services for numerous arts organizations, tourism destinations, downtown districts, music festivals and farmers markets in both California and Oregon.


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Tomas J. Benitez

Grant Writer

Tomas has been an arts advocate and cultural worker for over forty years. He is the Development officer for Plaza de la Raza and LA Stage Alliance. He is the former Executive Director of Self Help Graphics & Art, and is a former member of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Currently, he's the Chairman of the Board of Latino Arts Network of California, and is a board member of The Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates. 


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Christopher Breyer

Literary Director/Resident Dramaturge

Chris is a Los Angeles based writer and consultant on writing, performance, and production for theatre, film, and television. He has been the resident dramaturge for OPC since 2005, and previously worked on new play development at Center Theatre Group and several Off-Broadway theatres. He has worked with many studios, networks, and production companies, among them Warner Brothers Films (NY), HBO-Showcase Films (NY), Disney-Touchstone Pictures, and the Disney/ABC Writing Program.


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Hal Brooks

Associate Artistic Director

Hal has been directing at OPC since 2006. He directed the Obie Award-Winning No Child by Nilaja Sun and the Pulitzer finalist Thom Pain (based on nothing) by Will Eno. His work has been seen at regional theaters throughout the country, and he was a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors. Hal is also the artistic director of the Cape Cod Theatre Project and former artistic director of the Pearl Theatre Company, which recently received an Obie for "artistic achievement and commitment to excellence in theatre."


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MADELEINE DAHM

Development Director

Madeleine is a theatre director, choreographer, dramaturge and arts activist from the UK. She is a resident artist at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Artistic Director of the Wallis Studio Ensemble, and Co-Artistic Director and Choreographer of Italian theatre company BÄMSEMBLE. Madeleine has created socially conscious, experimental theatre on three continents for the past thirty years. She has a Post-Graduate from Trinity Laban Conservatory in London.


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Jose Delgado

Producing Director

With OPC since 2012, Jose brings 46 years of experience in theater and artist management as a General Manager, Tour Manager, Administrator, Producer and Business Manager to OPC. As owner of Pleiades Management, he manages Mariachi Sol de Mexico and Mariachi Reina de Los Angeles. He is currently on El Teatro Campesino's Board of Directors.


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Sasha Emerson

Associate Artistic Producer

Sasha has been with OPC for over 12 years, as a member of the reading committee, advisory board, production dramaturge and artist, and as a 2016 OPC Gala honoree. She is a graduate of Brown University, and the Yale School of Drama (MFA, Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism), where she has served on the leadership board for over a decade. Sasha's professional life includes two long-term careers as a senior studio executive for HBO and New Line Cinema, and as a residential designer. She is currently in her second term as AMC Networks theatrical consultant, connecting writers, directors and projects to their networks' teams. Sasha is particularly proud of her work as OPC dramaturg on PEERLESS, DRYLAND, BLKS. and HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF.


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Kim Maxwell

Youth Workshop Program Director

A co-founder of the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Kim has served on its board for 21 years. A producer, director, writer and teacher, Kim is the creator of The Townies Podcast® and founder/principal of Kim Maxwell Studio. A devoted community activist and arts advocate, Kim was honored with a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from the City of Ojai. .


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Tiffany Moon

Artistic Associate

Tiffany is a producer and dramaturge who has worked in both Los Angeles and New York. She is the Producing Director of Greenway Court Theatre, and has worked with Center Theatre Group, South Coast Rep, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and Arielle Tepper Madover's Summer Play Festival. Tiffany is an MFA/MBA in Theatre Management candidate at CSULB, holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Chapman University and a Certificate in Musical Theatre Performance from Circle in the Square Theatre School. Tiffany has been a staff member of OPC since 2012, serving in various roles.


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CASEY STANGL

Associate Artistic Director

Casey has directed for theaters across the country including South Coast Repertory, American Conservatory Theater, The Guthrie Theater, Arizona Theater Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Jungle Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Portland Stage and Cleveland Playhouse. Casey is a frequent collaborator in the creation of new plays and has directed at the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Humana Festival, Pacific Playwrights Festival, PlayPenn, Berkeley Rep’s GroundFloor and this summer will direct Anna Zielger’s Antigones at the O’Neill. For her work as the founding artistic director of Eye of the Storm Theatre in Minneapolis, she was named Minnesota Artist of the Year. Casey serves on the Executive Board of of SDC, the national labor union for stage directors and choreographers.


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Alice Tuan

Artistic Associate / Intern Workshop Director

Alice is a teacher, performer and internationally-produced playwright whose work includes Last of the Suns, Secret History of the Lower East Side, HIT, Ajax (por norbody) and A Humbling in St. Paul. She developed Cocks Crow at OPC in 2018, and facilitated the Almasi African Playwrights Conference, an OPC-style new play development program in Zimbabwe, both in 2018 and 2019.


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Ian-Julian Williams

Artistic Associate

Ian is a director and producer \who develops new work and creates ensemble-generated, interdisciplinary performance. Previous directing credits include WOLVES by Steve Yockey, HEARTLESS: A CONCERT, a funk music mash-up of Ibsen’s HEDDA GABLER, FOOL FOR LOVE by Sam Shepard, and FALSETTOS by William Finn and James Lapine. New play development credits include STICK FIGURES by Josh Ginsburg, SISTERS OF TRANSFORMATION by Jeremy Frazier, and #BADSEXUNDERTHEOLDTREE by Megan Morrison. As producer, Ian bridges the work of institutional and intimate theaters as the program coordinator for the BLOCK PARTY program at Center Theatre Group, presents work nationally with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, and develops project proposals for site-specific, community-based events as an arts associate with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. MFA: Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, Directing.  


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Suzy Yaako

Literary Associate

Suzy has been an integral part of OPC for six years, as Literary Associate and a member of the Reading Committee. She is a graduate of the New Actors Workshop, where she studied with Mike Nichols, Paul Sills and George Morrison in NY. Suzy is the associate producer to veteran Hollywood film and theatre producer Paula Wagner, who is currently on Broadway with Pretty Woman: The Musical. Suzy is also developing her first action feature film TOW, to be filmed in Australia. Born in Beirut, Suzy grew up in Sydney, lived in NY, and currently resides in LA.  


 

OPC STAFF/assocIATES…CONTINUED

Corwin Evans, Sound Designer

Meg Fister, Casting Director

David Mauer, Operations Director

Phyllis Moberly, Publicist

Kelly Musgrove, General Manager

Peggy Ryan, Social Media Manager

Vickie J. Scott, Production Coordinator/Lighting Designer

 

OPC READING COMMITTEE 2019

Christopher Breyer

Hal Brooks

Hannah Cox

Robert Egan

Sasha Emerson

Debra Breslow Grace

J Holtham

Kurt Kanazawa

Israel Lopez

Arla Manson

Ramiz Monsef

Tiffany Moon

Liza Powel O'Brien

Adam O'Byrne

Rachel Rusch

Casey Stangl

Alice Tuan

Ian-Julian Williams

Suzy Yaako

 
 
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"Thank you so much for helping me to get to this exquisite place with my work. Everything feels wild surreal and I cannot be more thankful to you and the Ojai community. So wild, so good."

– Aziza Barnes

 
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Contact

 
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For general messages and inquiries, please fill out the form below

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Mail

Ojai Playwrights Conference
P.O. Box 1288
Ojai, CA 93024

 

Email

General Info:  info@ojaiplays.org
Box Office: tickets@ojaiplays.org

 

Phone

(805) 640-0400 (message only)

 

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