PLAYWRIGHTS

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

 
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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. Many plays developed at the Ojai Playwrights Conference have gone on to prominent productions at theaters across United States and around the world: from LA's Mark Taper Forum to Chicago's Goodman Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and Broadway to London’s West End and theaters in Asia and Africa. 

Read what some of our OPC playwrights say about OPC. 

 

 

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2018 Playwrights

The following playwrights and artists were featured at the 2018 OPC New Works Festival.

(in alphabetical order)

 
 
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Jeff Augustin

THE NEW ENGLANDERS

The newly radicalized mixed-race daughter of an interracial gay couple yearns to break free from her small town. She longs to be a legend, like her hero, Lauryn Hill. Meanwhile, one of her dads reconnects with his high school love, as her other dad fights to preserve an idealized suburban family life that never existed. Sometimes great clarity comes when there’s nothing to see but the trees and nothing to contemplate but the stark silence.

BIO: Jeff’s play The Last Tiger in Haiti premiered in a co-production at La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Rep. His plays have also been produced at the Roundabout Underground (Little Children Dream of God) and Actors Theatre of Louisville (The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield; Cry Old KingdomThat High Lonesome Sound). Jeff was the Shank Playwright-in-Residence at Playwrights Horizons and the inaugural Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Roundabout.


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Stephen Belber

JOAN

"There are times in our lives (probably far too many) when who we are, and who we want to be, don't quite match up." Daughter, sister, lover, mother, artist, citizen – Joan is a restless, troubled soul who wants to capture the raw truth in a world in which the truth is often fleeting. A poignant and probing play about the life of a contemporary American woman.

BIO: Stephen’s plays have been produced on Broadway and in over 25 countries. He was Associate Writer on The Laramie Project, and Co-Writer on The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. He has written and directed two feature films, Management, starring Jennifer Aniston and Woody Harrelson, and Match, starring Patrick Stewart. He recently completed O.G., starring Jeffrey Wright and members of the Pendleton Correctional Facility in Indiana. Television credits include Law & Order SVU and Rescue Me.


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Keith Bunin

THE COAST STARLIGHT

A young man boards the Coast Starlight in Los Angeles. He’s got a secret, he's on the run, and he desperately needs the help of his fellow travelers to figure out a way forward. He hopes that by the time the train makes its final stop in Seattle he will know if he has made the right decision. For a thousand miles he and his fellow passengers travel the edge of America reckoning with what they have done and not done – and might do now. A smart and compassionate play about our capacity for invention and re-invention when life goes off the rails.

BIO: Keith is the author The Credeaux Canvas, The World Over, and the OPC-developed The Busy World is Hushed, which all premiered Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. His other plays include The Unbuilt City (New York Stage and Film), and Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir (La Jolla Playhouse and City Theatre).


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Steph Del Rosso

53% OF

The president is coming to town! And the ladies of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania are beside themselves planning for the big event. Their husbands drink beer, talk smack and agree a good woman needs a good man. Later, a group of 20-somethings gather in Brooklyn to plan a fundraiser... or is it a march? Or is it a ritual to absolve their own guilt? A play about the complicity and violence of the status quo that asks: What happens when we stop equating white womanhood with goodness, and ignorance with innocence?

BIO: Steph’s play Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill premiered at The Flea Theater in 2018, and will be published by Dramatists Play Service. Other plays include Machinalia (JACK), Are You There? (UCSD), and Flee (Seven Devils Playwrights Conference). Her work has been developed at Soho Rep, Clubbed Thumb, New York Stage and Film, Colt Coeur, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and SPACE on Ryder Farm.


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Lily Padilla

HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF

In the aftermath of a campus rape, seven college students gather for a DIY self-defense workshop. They learn to use their bodies as weapons. They learn to fend off attackers. They learn “not to be a victim.” It's self-defense as a channel for rage, anxiety, confusion, trauma, and desire – lots of desire. A play about what you want, how to ask for it, and the insidious ways rape culture steals one’s body and sense of belonging.

BIO: Lily just finished her MFA at UC San Diego under the mentorship of Naomi Iizuka, Deborah Stein and Allan Havis. Her selected works include (w)holeness (Finalist for the Latinx Theatre Commons' 2018 Carnaval), and And Then You Wait (La Jolla Playhouse WOW Festival). Padilla is an EmergeNYC fellow with the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. She co-founded American Nightcap at INTAR, a late-night play series which gathered artists from diverse NYC theater communities.


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Ruby Rae Spiegel

BLUE GREEN

In the midst of a turbulent drug and alcohol fueled college frat-house party, two young strangers lock themselves in the attic bathroom. He's a white college sophomore, a lacrosse player with a criminal secret. She's a brilliant, visiting African-America high school senior with a complex past and identity she wants to escape. He's convinced she can save him; she knows that saving him could crush her. And the party rages on.

BIO: Developed at OPC, Ruby’s Dry Land premiered Off-Broadway in 2014 in a sold-out, critically acclaimed run at Colt Coeur. A finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the play has gone on to be produced across the United States and in London. Her play, Carrie & Francine, premiered in the Summer Shorts Festival in 2011 at 59E59. Ruby has written for several television shows, including The OA, Purity, and Mindhunter.


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Alice Tuan

COCKS CROW

Cocks Crow is what happens when Americans try to do business with China – is it a bad internet connection or am I being surveilled? Compelled by ambition, anxiety, and diminishing options at home, three Americans attempt to do business on capitalism's wild new frontier. They find... well, that they're not in Kansas. The Middle Kingdom has its own rules, its own games, its own ambitious and longing entrepreneurs. A play about super power deflation in the new century.

BIO: Alice is a teacher, performer, and internationally-produced playwright whose work includes Last of the Suns (Berkeley Rep and Ma-Yi Theater Company), Secret History of the Lower East Side (En Garde Arts), HIT (Los Angeles Theater Center), Ajax (por nobody) (Flea Theater, Salvage Vangard, Melbourne Fringe, and Toronto’s SummerWorks) and A Humbling in St. Paul (2017 PlayLabs Playwright Center).

 


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Charlayne Woodard

THE GARDEN

In her beloved garden, an elderly African-American mother, Claire Rose, meets her middle-aged daughter, Cassandra. Through tough love and self-sacrifice, mom has raised an achiever, an overcomer, a bulldog in her own image. But she resents her daughter’s lifestyle, her life choices, and even her success – all opportunities she never had growing up in the Jim Crow south. These alpha women take us on rollercoaster ride full of humor and pain built on secret betrayals.

BIO: A Tony Nominee and two-time Obie Award Winner, Charlayne is one of America's great writer/performers. Her critically acclaimed plays include Pretty Fire, Neat, In Real Life, and two works developed at OPC, Flight and Night Watcher. Charlayne was recently awarded the 2018 OPC Award for her artistry, activism, and commitment to creating theatrical work that fosters mutual understanding.


2018 Writers in Residence

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jon robin baitz

Robbie has developed several plays at the Ojai Playwrights Conference including Vicuña, Other Desert Cities, and The Paris Letter. His other plays include The Film Society, The Substance of Fire, Three Hotels, and A Fair Country, which, along with Other Desert Cities, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and winner of Drama Desk and Drama Critics Circle Awards, as well as a multiple Tony nominee. He created the long-running ABC hit series Brothers & Sisters, and wrote and produced The Slap for NBC in 2015. Robbie will be working on Faraway Friends, a probing and poignant  journey through the social, cultural turmoil of America between 2003 and 2007.

Scenes from Robbie's new play, Faraway Friends, were performed during IGNITION: NEW WORK FOR A NEW WORLD on Thursday, August 9, 7:00 pm at Matilija Auditorium in Ojai.  


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Bill Cain

Bill is making his eighth appearance at the Ojai Playwrights Conference. He is author of Stand Up Tragedy (LA Critics Award, Helen Hayes Award, and the Joseph A. Callaway Award for its Broadway production), Equivocation (LA Ovation Award, American Theater Critics’ Association/Steinberg Award), 9 Circles (ATCA/Steinberg Award, Sky Cooper New Play Award), and How To Write a New Book for the Bible (Bay Area Critics’ Award). Bill is also the recipient of the inaugural Terrence McNally New Play Award from Philadelphia Theater Company. Bill will be working on his newest play, Road to Glory, an explosive and highly theatrical examination of racism in America.

Scenes from Bill's new play, The Patriots, were performed during IGNITION: NEW WORK FOR A NEW WORLD on Thursday, August 9, 7:00 pm at Matilija Auditorium in Ojai. 


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Patrick 'Millz' Miller

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

Millz is a Zimbabwean playwright, performing artist and the current artistic director of Writers’ Café. Launched in April 2017, Writers’ Café is a creative space for writers to meet, vibe-off other writers, work, sell and collaborate. Its flagship event the Writers Meet-Up is a literary arts initiative working towards the promotion of local writing and reading culture. Through Writers’ Café and his stage plays, Millz has been engaged in creative activism that focuses on mental health issues  in marginalized communities by providing alternative coping mechanisms using writing as therapy. Millz will be working on his newest play, The Prophet. Patrick’s residency is part of an ongoing collaboration between OPC and the Almasi Arts Alliance which is led by OPC playwright and board member Danai Gurira.

 

2018 Special Guest Artists

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QUETZAL 

Quetzal is an ensemble of highly talented musicians, joined for the goal of creating good music that tells the social, cultural, political, and musical stories of  people in struggle. Martha Gonzalez (lead singer, percussionist, and songwriter) calls it an "East LA Chicano rock group" summing up its rootedness in the complex cultural currents of life in the barrio, its social activism, its strong feminist stance, and its rock and roll musical beginnings. Besides being a rock band, the group and its members participate in a much larger web of musical, cultural, and political engagement.

Quetzal performed at the OPC New Works Festival on Thursday, August 9, 7 pm at Matilija Auditorium in Ojai during IGNITION: NEW WORK FOR A NEW WORLD

 

 

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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

 
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Selection Process

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

 
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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,


Submissions

Only new, unproduced works, still needing development, are considered. Plays are read and evaluated through a rigorous process by a committee of artistic professionals in the theatrical community. The reading period generally falls between January and May each year.

Submissions for the 2019 season will be solicited in the fall. Submissions are generally by invitation. 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:

  • Your contact information
  • Resume
  • A short description of your play (max 200 words)
  • No more than 10 sample pages from the script (PDF format).

Submissions are accepted between October 1 and December 31 for the following year.

 
 

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

 

PAST PLAYS

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

 
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2018

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

Quetzal**

Ruby Rae Spiegel | Blue Green

Alice Tuan | Cocks Crow

Charlayne Woodard | The Garden

*Writer-In-Residence

**Guest Artist

 

2017

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

*Writer-In-Residence

2016

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

*Writer(s)-In Residence

**Guest Artist

 

2015

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

*Writer-In-Residence

**Guest Artist

2014

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**

*Writer-In-Residence

**Guest Artist

 

2013

Luis Alfaro | St. Jude - Part Two

Lucy Alibar | 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

*Writer-In-Residence

2012

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

*Writer-In-Residence

 

2011

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

*Writer-In-Residence

**Guest Artist

2010

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

*Writer-In-Residence

**Guest Artist

 

 

2009

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

*Writer-In-Residence

**Guest Artist

2008

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

*Writer-In-Residence

 

2007

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

2006

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

 

2005

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

Writer-In-Residence

2004

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

 

2003

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

2002

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

 

2001

Doris Baizley | Glass Mountain

Mary Lathrop | Tales from the Salt Mines

Lynn Manning | Middle Passage

John Rafter Lee | Frankincense

2000

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

 

1999

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

1998

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