The Ojai Playwrights Conference has been committed to developing the works of both emerging and seasoned writers since its inaugural year in 1998.


At OPC, we believe the theater can be a vital and essential forum for the exchange of new and challenging ideas about the world in which we live. We seek out plays and playwrights who share this vision.

The 2019 OPC New Works Festival held in August featured new works by these outstanding writers:


opc Playwrights 2019

(in alphabetical order)

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Kimberly Belflower


At a small public high school in Appalachian Georgia, the junior class studies the iconic American drama, The Crucible. Meanwhile some of the girls start a feminism club. And some of the boys want to join. When sexual scandal envelops the community, the young women question both their literary ‘heroes’ and the male authority figures in town. What does it mean to inherit centuries of trauma and come of age in a world that prioritizes a man’s reputation above a woman’s experience? The line between witch and heroine blurs in this post-#MeToo examination of power, literature, and sex education. Plus there’s the music of Lorde!

BIO: Originally from a small town in Appalachian Georgia, Kimberly Belflower is a playwright, educator, and bearer of an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. Her works include Gondal, Teen Girl FANtasies (co-written with Megan Tabaque, Austin Critics Table nomination). The Sky Game, and Lost Girl, which won the 2018 Kennedy Center Darrell Ayers National Playwriting Award. Kimberly's work has been developed by We the Women Collective, Less Than Rent Theatre, Feinstein's/54 Below, Front Porch Arts Collective, as well as many colleges and universities across the country. She is a 2019-2021 Playwriting Fellow at Emory University.

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Four gifted Asian American sisters should be thriving. But Amy, a successful biologist studying the collapse of coral reefs, ignores her failing domestic world. Constance, the lone female and non-white writer on a children's cartoon series about animated sloths, compromises for every little victory against stereotypes. Mac is adrift after quitting, for personal reasons she won't discuss, a job she loved. And missing-in-action Lina, the eldest, abandons a stellar academic career to please her toxic husband. A play about fragile ecosystems and how not to go extinct. Is there hope for building resiliency and intimacy?

BIO: Sam Chanse is a former fellow at The MacDowell Colony and the Sundance Theatre Institute, current resident playwright at New Dramatists, a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and a Lark Venturous Fellow. The author of Trigger, The Opportunities of Extinction, Fruiting Bodies, The Other Instinct, What You Are Now, Lydia’s Funeral Video, and Asian American Jesus, her work has recently been produced by Ma-Yi Theater Company, Cherry Lane Mentor Project, and Leviathan Lab. She has taught writing and theater at Columbia University, NYU, and the Performing Arts Workshop.

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A decade after quitting a small arts non-profit, Penelope is approached by former colleagues who want her to join them in exposing their ex-boss’ sexual misconduct. Penelope did have a relationship with the man, but wasn't coerced. In fact, he was one of the great loves of her youth. Or was he? What really happened? What should Penelope do now? Love is a provocative exploration of relationships in which the reckoning of sex and power, accountability and accusation is murky and complex. A raw and nuanced re-investigation of a seminal love grappling with the grey area in our collectively evolving conversation around consent and coercion.

BIO: Kate Cortesi's plays include One More Less (NYFA award, Relentless Award finalist, O’Neil Conference finalist, Playwrights Horizons New Works Lab), A Patron of the Arts (Cherry Lane Theatre, KIT Italia, Rome, South Coast Rep New SCRipts Series); Great Kills (Red Dog Squadron world premiere, Princess Grace Award, Kilroys List), and Is Edward Snowden Single? (The Pool 2020, Dorset Theatre Festival). Her play Love was read in the Colt Coeur/WP Theatre Parity Plays Festival and is scheduled to have its world premiere at the Marin Theatre Company in the 2020.

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Inda Craig-Galván


In the nice Chicago suburb of Matteson, African American couple Patricia and Gerald Griffith believe they are achieving their dream of upward-mobility and the 'good life.' Tonight, they're having dinner with their new neighbors, Regina and Corey Baker, a couple from the inner-city, who have relocated to Matteson as part of Chicago's gentrification of the notorious Cabrini-Green Housing Project. But how welcoming can the newly-haves be to the newly-arrived have-nots? An intra-racial comedy about class and how we deal with the ‘other’ when the other looks just like us.

BIO: Winner of The Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and the Humanitas Play LA Award, Inda Craig-Galván is a Chicagoan who writes about Chicago but lives in Los Angeles where two of her plays recently had world premieres: Black Super Hero Magic Mama (Geffen Playhouse) and I Go Somewhere Else (Playwrights’ Arena). Inda’s plays have been developed and performed at Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Black Swan Lab, The Old Globe, San Francisco Playhouse, Skylight Theatre, Intiman and others. Honors include Kilroys List, The Mix, Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, Jeffrey Melnick New Playwright Award and Humanitas Play Prize. Inda also writes for television and is currently working on ABC's How to Get Away with Murder.

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Tambo and Bones are two characters in a minstrel show. Tambo and Bones realize that they are characters in a minstrel show -- very distressing. But -- handled right a minstrel show can get you a lot of money and a lot of money can get you a lot of power. But if money and power won't end the distress or the minstrel show, there may be only one solution: find the source of the problem and destroy it. Imaginative and provocative, Tambo & Bones is a daring theatrical exploration of the intersection of racism and capitalism.

BIO: A poet and playwright from West Philly, Dave Harris is a member of The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm and a Cave Canem Poetry Fellow. His plays include Everybody Black (Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival 2019, Kennedy Center Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award and Mark Twain Playwriting Award), Exception to the Rule (Roundabout Underground 2020), White History (Manhattan Theatre Club Reading Series, Victory Gardens Ignition Festival), Incendiary (Venturous Fellowship at The Lark, NNPN/The Kennedy Center MFA Workshop)and Watch Me (Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep).

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Kimber Lee

“untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play”

Ever felt trapped in a story people keep telling about you? A story that is pure fantasy but which people keep telling over and over and over as if it were true? Such is the outrageous déjù vu fate of the Asian American everywoman heroine of f*ck m*ss s**gon, Kimber Lee's exuberant and trenchant comic fantasia on the West's perpetual fascination with stories of tragic, self-destructive, western-idolizing Asian women who are trapped in a cycle that bleeds through time and space. Here -- they look for a way out. Welcome to the world of Asian American women.

BIO: Kimber Lee's plays include tokyo fish story (South Coast Rep, ThatreWorks/SiliconValley, The Old Globe), brownsville song (b-side for tray) (Humana Festival, LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, Long Wharf Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Seattle Rep, Moxie Theatre, Shotgun Players), and different words for the same thing (Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre). Her play to the yellow house is currently in development at Manhattan Theatre Club. She has also developed work with Lark Play Development Center, The Ground Floor/Berkeley Rep, Page 73, Hedgebrook, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, ACT Theatre/Seattle, Premiere Stages and others.


James Morrison


In this intensely personal one-man play, James Morrison recounts his beloved son's struggle with and ultimate recovery from brain cancer. It is a tale of losing a language and learning a new one, of a child teaching the parent, and the power of hope in the darkest of times. Please reveal the ending to your friends. It may save us all.

BIO: An actor for over 40 years, James Morrison has worked at many of America’s foremost theatres, as well as on London's West End. He has hundreds of TV/film credits including the roles of Warden Murphy on Twin Peaks: The Return and Bill Buchanan on 24. The Sundance Institute developed James’ first play, Idle Wheels, in 1985. His short play, Parking, was produced by the Ensemble Studio Theatre and he directed the award-winning film version which screened at over 50 festivals worldwide. James is proud to call Ojai his home.

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Christopher Gabriel Núñez


A group of young and gifted writers, artists, educators, intellectuals, and activists – all people-of-color from across America and around the world -- meet to celebrate their friendship, community, and shared progressive ideals. But one friend is missing – Piedad. She was brutally attacked on the subway months before. And as the conversation keeps returning to the morality of justice and reconciliation, it's clear the missing woman's story threatens these idealists' fundamental faith in goodness and forgiveness.

BIO: Christopher Gabriel Núñez was at OPC in 2015 with his play The Surgeon and her Daughters, which was subsequently developed by the Cherry Lane Mentor Project with Rajiv Joseph serving as mentor, a semifinalist for the Sundance MENA Theatre Lab, and a finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Christopher holds a BFA from New York University with a double major in dramatic writing and drama, and completed a two year Meisner program at Maggie Flanigan Studio as an actor. He just completed an MFA in playwriting at the Yale School of Drama, and is currently under commission from Long Warf Theatre.

OPC Writers-in-Residence 2019:

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Sandra Tsing Loh

Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer/performer whose solo shows include Aliens in America and Bad Sex with Bud Kemp (Off-Broadway/Second Stage), Sugar Plum Fairy (SCR, Geffen, Seattle Rep), I Worry (Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville) and The Bitch Is Back (Broad Stage). Her memoir, The Madwoman in the Volvo, inspired by her Atlantic Monthly Best American Essay, was one of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books; the play version premiered at South Coast Rep in 2016, enjoying subsequent runs at the Pasadena Playhouse and Berkeley Rep. Madwoman has been optioned by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. Sugar Plum Fairy will run December 2019 at East West Players. Sandra has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition, and Ira Glass’ This American Life. Her syndicated radio minute The Loh Down on Science turns 15 this year. She is a Distinguished Alumna of Caltech (B.S., physics). Photo by Madeline Peng Miller

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Thandiwe Mawungwa

A Collaboration with Almasi Arts Alliance: Danai Gurira, Executive Director

Thandiwe Mawungwa is a Zimbabwean playwright. After studying Computer Information Systems at university, she decided to answer the call of destiny and become a storyteller – with particular emphasis on playwriting. In the past 10 years, she has written, directed and produced plays for theaters, schools and organizations in Africa and Europe. Four of her plays have won multiple awards locally and regionally. Thandiwe was also script supervisor for the movie Mind Games, a Zimbabwean film that has won awards in many different countries. Thandiwe has a personal artistic vision of using storytelling in its various forms as a tool for positive socio-economic development in Zimbabwe and Africa and beyond.


Liliana Padilla

Liliana Padilla makes plays about sex, intersectional communities and what it means to heal in a violent world. Their play, How to Defend Yourself, developed at OPC in 2018, won the prestigious 2019 Yale Drama Prize and is a 2018-19 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist. It was produced in the 2019 Humana Festival and will be at Victory Gardens in 2020. Liliana's work has been developed with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Victory Gardens, INTAR, Hedgebrook, Seattle Rep, the Playwrights’ Center and San Diego Rep. A recent graduate with an MFA, UC San Diego, Liliana is currently commissioned to make new plays with National New Play Network, Colt Coeur, and South Coast Rep. They are also a director, actor and community builder who looks at theatre as a laboratory for how we might be together.

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"The beauty of Ojai is how it remains an institution I can return to time after time and know it will retain its excellent level of artistic collaboration and grounded sense of community. I am thrilled to be a part of the Ojai family and have no desire to lay my hat anywhere else when it comes to play development."

– Danai Gurira


Selection Process

OPC seeks writers with socially, politically and culturally challenging work who reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country.


OPC’s Artistic Staff solicits unproduced plays from writers, agents, theatres, other developmental programs, educational institutions, and through online submissions. A committee of fifteen diverse, highly experienced readers reviews the submitted plays and proposals. Each play receives a minimum of two reads. The top 50 plays are read by every committee member.

A concerted effort is made to ensure that selected writers reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country, as well as a healthy mix of both established and emerging artists. The eight selected playwrights are identified in late spring, and invited to participate in the two-week residency program in Ojai, California.

Playwrights not only receive full developmental support (including dramaturgy, direction, actors and audience feedback), but also benefit from meaningful community with other artists in a safe, nurturing environment focused solely on supporting the playwright in the development their work. After the conference, OPC staff continues to support the playwrights’ work by making connections with theaters that may commit to fully staged productions,


Only new, un-produced works, still needing development, are considered.

Plays are read and evaluated through a rigorous process by a 15+ member reading committee of artistic professionals in the theatrical community. The reading period generally falls between January and May, and playwrights are selected and announced in June.

Submissions for the 2020 season will be solicited/accepted between October 1 and December 31, 2019.

Submissions are generally by invitation only. However, if you do not receive a letter of solicitation, but would like to submit a script, please CLICK HERE to send an e-mail with the following information:

  • Your contact information

  • Resume

  • A short description of your play (max 200 words)

  • No more than 10 sample pages from the script (PDF format).


View the Gallery below for a glimpse of just a few of the many talented playwrights who have participated in OPC



OPC has nurtured the talents of the following playwrights since 1998, and assisted in the development of their works.



Kimberly Belflower | John Proctor is the Villain

Sam Chance | Monument, Or Four Sisters (A Sloth Play)

Kate Cortesi | Love

Inda Craig-Galván | Welcome to Matteson!

Dave Harris | Tambo & Bones

Kimber Lee | “untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play”

Sandra Tsing Loh*

James Morrison | Leave your Fears Here

Thandiwe Mawungwa* | 33 cents

Christopher Gabriel Núñez | Locusts

Liliana Padilla*



Jeff Augustin | The New Englanders

Jon Robin Baitz* | Faraway Friends

Stephen Belber | Joan

Keith Bunin | The Coast Starlight

Bill Cain* | The Patriots

Steph Del Rosso | 53% Of

Patrick Miller* | The Prophet

Lily Padilla | How to Defend Yourself


Ruby Rae Spiegel | Blue Green

Alice Tuan | Cocks Crow

Charlayne Woodard | The Garden


**Guest Artist



Will Arbery | Evanston Salt Costs Climbing

Jon Robin Baitz*  | Vicuna: The Epilogue

Jennifer Barclay | Ripe Frenzy

Bill Cain | The Last White Man

Rick Cleveland*

Robin Gerber* |  The Shot

Samuel D. Hunter | Greater Clements

JC Lee | What You Are

Sandra Tsing Loh | Blue State

Richard Montoya & Roger Guenevere Smith* | Venice is Dead

Hallie Palladino*  | Infatuation

Ren Dara Santiago | The Siblings Play

Korde Arrington Tuttle | graveyard shift



Robert Askins | Our Father

Jon Robin Baitz | Vicuña

Aziza Barnes | BLKS

Perla Batalla, David Batteau, Oliver Mayer* | Blue House

Bekah Brunstetter | The Cake

Steve Connell**

Nick Gandiello*

David Jacobi | Ready Steady Yeti Go

Kudzai Sevenzo | Born Free (aka Under the Rubble)

Kristina Wong | Attention Please

Martín Zimmerman | On the Exhale


**Guest Artist



Robert Askins*

Father Greg Boyle**

Richard Cabral**

Mike Daisey | Why We Hate Art

Ellen Fairey | Support Group for Men

Nick Gandiello | The Blameless

JC Lee | Women of a Certain Age

Gina Loring, Sunni Patterson, Jaha Zainabu | 3 Women

Christopher Gabriel Núñez | The Surgeon and her Daughters

Jiehae Park | Peerless

Alice Tuan* | Private Rivals

Gideon Jeph Wabvuta | Mbare Dreams


**Guest Artist


Robert Askins | Permission

Bill Cain | Hasty Pudding

Chankethya Chey | My Mother and I

Mike Daisey | Our Man in Havana

Nick Gandiello | Sunrise Highway

Sandra Tsing Loh | The Madwoman in the Volvo

Meow Meow**

Brendan Millburn and Valerie Vigoda**

Ruby Rae Spiegel | Dry Land

Stew and Heidi Rodewald | two zero zero one three

Alice Tuan* | California Love

Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner**


**Guest Artist



Luis Alfaro | St. Jude - Part Two

Lucy Alibar | Throw me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up (previously named Carl the Raping Goat Saves Christmas)

Richard Cabral | Fighting Shadows

Samuel D. Hunter | Rest

Sean Lewis | Dogs of Rwanda

Jiehae Park | Hannah and the Dread Gazebo

Laura Schellhardt | The Comparables

Alice Tuan*  | Cocks Crow

David Weiner | Goliath



Luis Alfaro | St. Jude

Robert Askins | Fish Display

Stephen Adly Guirgis* | Between Riverside and Crazy

Jennifer Haley | Sustainable Living

Matt Hoverman | The Glint: A Mean Little Comedy

Terrence McNally | And Away We Go

Liza Powell O’Brien | Judy Goes Shopping

Nikkole Salter* | Of Great Merit




Stephen Belber* & Adam Duritz* | Black Sun 

Father Greg Boyle** | Tattoos on the Heart 

Richard Cabral**

Bill Cain | 30.3 thirty three

Rick Cleveland | Rick & Dick

Kenneth Lin | Fallow 

Don Nguyen | Red Flamboyant 

Sarah Treem | When We Were Young & Unafraid


**Guest Artist


Jon Robin Baitz* | Other Desert Cities

Kate Fodor | Rx

Thomas Higgins | Wild Animals You Should Know

Len Jenkin | Psalm 151: Heaven Have Mercy

Mona Mansour | Urge for Going

Ben Rosenthal* | Neptune Kelly

Leslie Carrara‐Rudolph** | Wake Up Your Weird

Trieu Tran | Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam

Bess Wohl | Barcelona


**Guest Artist




Stephen Belber | Dusk Rings a Bell

Bill Cain | How to Write a New Book for the Bible

Frances Ya‐Chu Cowhig | Lidless

Stephen Adly Guirgis | Motherf***er with the Hat

Leslie Carrara‐Rudolph** | Entertaining a Thought:The Imagination Project

Lisa Kron & Jeanine Tesori* | Fun Home

David Weiner | Extraordinary Chambers


**Guest Artist


Bill Cain | Nine Circles

Dan Dietz | The Sandreckoner

Yussef El Guindi | Language Rooms

Danai Gurira | Eclipsed

Sam Hunter | I Am Montana

Terrence McNally | Unusual Acts of Devotion

Sarah Treem* | Vienna's Amazing




Bill Cain | Equivocation

Cody Henderson | The Lawn

Ben Rosenthal | Bog of Lacuna

Lloyd Suh | American Hwangap

Annie Weisman | Surf Report

Charlayne Woodard | The Night Watcher


Stephen Belber | Muscles in Our Toes

Lee Blessing | Lonesome Hollow

Sherry Kramer | When Something Wonderful Ends

T.D. Mitchell | Beyond the 17th Parallel

Ben Rosenthal | The Monkey Puzzle Tree



Luis Alfaro | Holy Road

Keith Bunin | The Busy World is Hushed

Bill Cain | The Laying On of Hands

Julia Cho | Durango

Stephen Adly Guirgis* | The Little Flower of East Orange

Rogelio Martinez | My First Radical

Sekou "The Misfit” & Steve Connell | The Word Beings



Stephen Belber | For Reele

Danai Gurira & Nikkole Salter | In the Continuum

Linda Hunt | The Little Locksmith

Julia Jordan | Dark Yellow

Susan Miller | A Map of Doubt & Rescue

Keith Bunin & Peter Parnell | White Bicycles



Jon Robin Baitz | Chinese Friends

Lee Blessing | Flag Day

Danny Hoch | Til the Break of Day

Joe Loya | The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell

Peter Morris | Pro Bono Publico

Charlayne Woodard | Flight


Luis Alfaro | No Holds Barrio

Jon Robin Baitz | The Paris Letter

Jessica Goldberg | Katzman & the Mayor

Arthur L. Kopit | The Discovery of America

Lisa Loomer | Living Out

Kelly Stuart | Mayhem



Doris Baizley | Glass Mountain

Mary Lathrop | Tales from the Salt Mines

Lynn Manning | Middle Passage

John Rafter Lee | Frankincense


Jessica Goldberg | Good Thing

David Ives | Polish Joke

Deborah Zoe Laufer | Fortune

Adam Rapp | Nocturne

Ari Roth | Love & Yearning in the Not‐For‐Profits, and other marital distractions



Neena Beber | Hard Feelings

Heather Dundas | Rules for Cheaters

John Quincy Long | Year of the Baby

Kira Obolensky | Lobster Alice

Adam Rapp | Finer Noble Gases


Neena Beber | Tomorrowland

Rick Cleveland | Danny Bouncing

Christopher Durang | Betty's Summer Vacation

Elroyce D. Jones | A Thimble of Smoke

David Lindsay‐Abaire | The Devil Inside

Bernardo Solano | Wild Life