The Ojai Playwrights Conference (OPC), one of the most acclaimed new play developmental programs in the country, announces its 17th season with an illustrious program of playwrights, new play workshops and special performance events. For the first time, the OPC Summer New Works Festival will take place over two weekends from August 2 through 10, 2014 in Ojai, California.
Themed "Breaking Barriers," the festival will feature 8 new play workshops with established and up-and-coming playwrights as well as special guest artists. Participating in this year's conference with new works are Robert Askins, Bill Cain, Chankethya Chey, Mike Daisey, Nick Gandiello, Sandra Tsing Loh, Ruby Rae Spiegel, and Stew. Alice Tuan will once again be this year's "Writer-In-Residence," and as always, there will be two "Intersection Series" special performance events: Two Dynamic Duos-One Musical Event in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering, Creative Entertainment; and An Audience with Meow Meow created and performed by "kamikaze cabaret" artist Meow Meow, directed and adapted by Emma Rice.
The OPC All Access Pass which includes admission to all eleven ticketed events ($231) and Tickets to individual events ($25) may be purchased online at www.ojaiplays.org or by calling (805) 640-0400.
The Ojai Playwrights Conference is a non-profit organization focused on playwrights and the development of their new plays. The OPC was founded on the belief that gathering a community of world-class theatre artists together in a place of extraordinary beauty can lead to a collaborative process that enables these artists to qualitatively rework and refine their dramatic vision.
Every summer for the past 16 years, theatre professionals and enthusiastic audiences from across the nation have converged in Ojai Valley to participate in the new play development process. Under the direction of Artistic Director/Producer Robert Egan since 2002, playwrights from all backgrounds join together for an intensive two-week, in-residence workshop. This process culminates in OPC's popular public performance series – the Ojai Playwrights Conference Summer New Works Festival.
"Our 2014 playwrights are forging daring new perspectives and creating brave unique insights into the ever-challenging world in which we live," says Robert Egan. "Bill Cain returns with a surprising and penetrating look at the legacy of Abraham Lincoln viewed through the relationship with his son, Robert; Sandra Tsing Loh blows up conventional notions of love and menopause in her daring new play; Robert Askins pierces the veil of religious conservatism and its impact on a couples' sexual lives; Mike Daisey hurdles the American blockade of Cuba to unearth the costs of imperialism; Nick Gandiello explodes race, class and love in an inter-racial Long Island family; Ruby Rae Spiegel breaks down the locker room door of a high school girls' swim team to reveal teenage secrets; Chankethya Chey dances us into the legacy of the Killing Fields and its impact on generations of women; and Stew burrows deep into our national dreams to examine justice and equality through his newest musical exploration."
In addition to the presentation of new play workshops, prominent artists from the theatre community appear in engaging public performances for an exchange of ideas on a range of cultural and artistic subjects in the "Intersection Series." Opening night, August 2, will feature TWO DYNAMIC DUOS - ONE MUSICAL NIGHT, during which composers, lyricists, book writers and singers will offer a rare opportunity to peer behind the scenes into the creative process of making musical theatre. Walt Disney Imagineering, Creative Entertainment curates this evening of uplifting entertainment and lively discourse from two dynamic duos. Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, collaborators on musical film, theatre, television and animated projects, have created projects for divisions of the Walt Disney Company around the globe. Their original romantic comedy musical, First Date, opened last year on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre. Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda have teamed up on Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Toy Story: The Musical, Long Story Short, Midsummer Night and Wheelhouse. They come to Ojai after the acclaimed world premiere of their newest musical, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, at the Seattle Rep.
On August 10, "AN AUDIENCE WITH MEOW MEOW," will close the festival with the uniquely gifted performance artist, Meow Meow, whose unique brand of 'kamikaze cabaret' and performance art exotica has hypnotized, inspired and terrified audiences globally. Her work has been curated by David Bowie, Pina Bausch and Mikhail Baryshnikov amongst others. Her director/collaborator is Emma Rice, joint artistic director of Kneehigh Theater. Emma's award-winning Brief Encounter has toured the world including an acclaimed run at Broadway's Roundabout Theater.
The Ojai Playwrights Conference is also committed to nurturing the writing talents of Southern California youth. Through its Youth Workshop, high school students participate in a mentoring program with visiting theatre professionals and create their own dramatic works, which are performed during the Festival. Under the direction of OPC co-founder and Youth Workshop Director Kim Maxwell, this year's OPC Youth Workshop Performance is slated for Saturday, August 9, 10:00 am.
During the Festival, patrons have the option to dine with OPC playwrights, actors, directors and other company members during the Dinner al Fresco with OPC on the picturesque grounds of Besant Hill School in upper Ojai. The dinners are Saturday, August 9, at 6 pm, and Sunday, August at 5 pm. Tickets ($17) must be purchased in advance at www.ojaiplays.org.
Tickets to all events may be purchased online at www.ojaiplays.org or by calling (805) 640-0400.