Events, Play Workshops & Artists

Join us in Ojai August 6-13 for the 2017 OPC Summer New Works Festival. Tickets go on sale at the end of June ... Here's a preview of our events and featured artists.



Sunday, August 6 at 6 pm - Zalk Theater

This inspirational 20th Anniversary cabaret event is a rare opportunity to see and hear our exceptional 2017 artists on stage in one grand kick-off event.

Experience the stories, the poems, the songs, and the scenes of these accomplished writers and performers as they theatrically meditate on the nature of truth in American society today. Where are the truths we hold to be self-evident in our political and personal lives these days? Will American truths emerge once again as a guiding light to a better future and a better planet? Or will truth remain obfuscated in division and ill-will?

Featuring 2017 OPC artists Will Arbery, Jennifer Barclay, Bill Cain, Sam Hunter, JC Lee, Hallie Palladino, Ren Dara Santiago, Roger Guenveur Smith, Sandra Tsing Loh, Korde Arrington Tuttle and other amazing talents.



Thursday, August 10 at 7 pm - Matilija Auditorium

Five of Southern California’s most exciting artistic voices bring their newest work to the OPC stage. Jon Robin Baitz unveils the epilogue to his hit play Vicuña prior to its production in Washington D.C. this fall. Kurt Seaman has won the presidency but finds himself wandering the lonely halls of the White House in deep despair. Rick Cleveland returns to Ojai where he was a founding member of OPC. He shares sections of his newest theatrical monologue chronicling the absolutely true story behind "Trump vs. Wynn," the movie script he wrote for HBO.

Ojai resident Robin Gerber brings portions of her powerful new play about Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham to the stage. Before she became the most famous newspaper publisher in America, and brought down President Nixon, she was abused in body and soul by her husband. Then came "The Shot”. Renowned L.A. artists Richard Montoya and Roger Guenveur Smith perform very special sections of Venice Is Dead - a raucous wake for a beloved Southern California place full of historical romance, transformation and danger. A powerhouse evening of So Cal Creativity not to be missed!!






Friday, August 11 at 6 pm - Zalk Theater

A white middle-aged former ranch-owner is struggling to survive as a workman in the gig economy. He has a tense confrontation with his Mexican-American boss who is angling to make it as a real player in a tech business run by liberal white entrepreneurs. Is it a racially charged incident? Or something more? A portrait of privilege and identity, class and race, fragility and anxiety in a rapidly changing nation.

BIO: JC Lee writes for theatre, film and television. His play, Luce, received its world premiere in 2013 at Lincoln Center Theatre before subsequent productions in Chicago and London. His other plays have been staged and developed at Center Theatre Group, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Marin Theatre Company, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre, Azuka Theatre Company and many others. He's received commissions and fellowships from the Old Globe, Second Stage, South Coast Repertory, the National New Play Network, and MCC Theater, where his play, Relevance, will premiere in 2018.




Friday, August 11 at 9 pm - Zalk Theater


To say Sandra Tsing Loh was upset by the election is like saying Sylvia Plath had minor issues with hydration. On Election Day, November 8th, Sandra was humming "Happy”, sipping chardonnay and ironing her growing collection of soft-knit pantsuits. On November 9th, she raged in gothic fury at entire rust belt states.  A full-tilt tribal journey through one Blue Stater's Kubler-Ross Stages of the Orange Apocalypse. Audience participation will be invited — laughing, hugging, howling is a must!


BIO: Named by Variety as one of America’s 50 most influential comedians, Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer and performer whose solo theatre shows include: Aliens in America and Bad Sex With Bud Kemp (both off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre); Sugar Plum Fairy (Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Rep); I Worry (Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville) and The Bitch Is Back (Broad Stage). Her memoir, The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, was selected as one of The New York Times’ 100 Most Notable Books and was developed at OPC.



Saturday, August 12 at 1 pm - Zalk Theater


To be, or not to be – and at what price? Is an Oscar-winning star willing to die to prove he has a great Hamlet in him? Will an understudy sell his soul for a chance at the greatest of roles? Can a dying actor find life in Hamlet’s death if given the chance? The story of three Hamlets and one woman passionately committed to directing a Hamlet so perfect that we need never encounter this timeless, tortuous play again.

BIO: Making his seventh appearance at the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Bill Cain is the author of (among other works): 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.


graveyard shift


Saturday, August 12 at 4 pm - Zalk Theater


An African-American couple uncertain about their relationship and future seize the employment opportunity of a lifetime and move from Naperville, Illinois to Waller County, Texas. In a small police department in Waller County, three employees also contemplate their conflicting personal desires and future life opportunities. Inspired by the poignant reality and ongoing legacy of Sandra Bland, graveyard shift is a love story about racial collision and the consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in 21st century America.


BIO: Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Korde Arrington Tuttle has had his work developed at the Obie-winning Fire This Time Festival, HomeBase Theatre Collective, The Movement Theater Company, The New School’s 2015 AfroFuturism Conference, and The Tenth Magazine. Korde is a proud recipient of the Steinberg Playwriting Fellowship, and was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Contest and City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contest.




Saturday, August 12 at 7:30 pm - Zalk Theater


In rural Idaho, a once thriving mining community is hit hard by economic troubles. Long-time resident Maggie is forced to close her small museum devoted to the mine and its fabled history of fatal accidents. A mysterious beau from Maggie's youth arrives with his precocious granddaughter who begs Maggie’s troubled son to give her the final tour of the abandoned mine. Long buried hopes and dreams are resurrected in the form of personal and public ghosts.


BIO: Samuel D. Hunter’s plays include The Whale (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, GLAAD Media Award, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations), A Bright New Boise (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination), The Few, A Great Wilderness, Rest, Pocatello, Lewiston, Clarkston, and most recently, The Healing and The Harvest.  He is the recipient of a 2014 MacArthur "Genius Grant” Fellowship, a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, and the 2008 PONY/Lark Fellowship.




Sunday, August 13 at 12 pm - Zalk Theater


What defines family is survival. Mars, Leon and Marie grow up in the far north of Manhattan learning how to look solid when life fills you with holes. This is a trick they learned from their baffling, battling and absent parents - and later finessed by them on the block. As they wrestle with the challenges of independence, a missing parent creeps back into their lives. All they believed was solid about themselves and family threatens to melt into dream.


BIO: Ren Dara Santiago is a Fila-Rican playwright from Harlem. The Siblings Play has had development at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Labyrinth Theater, MCC Theater, and The Cherry Lane Theatre (Mentor Project). She has a Playwriting Mentorship Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm and is a teaching artist for the advanced playwrights at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Ren is a founding member of Middle Voice at Rattlestick and is an eternal member of The Baldwin Project by Lucy Thurber.




Sunday, August 13 at 3 pm - Zalk Theater


Over three consecutive and unnaturally frigid winters in Evanston, IL, the city's deputy public works administrator agonizes over whether she should implement groundbreaking road de-icing technology. What are the potential consequences for her salt truck teams and her city? Meanwhile, her directionless daughter struggles with the ever-stranger winters, as her top salt truck drivers battle increasingly massive snow storms and unexpected personal tragedy. There's something underneath it all that makes everyone feel rather uneasy.


BIO: Will Arbery is a playwright + filmmaker from Texas + Wyoming. He’s currently the recipient of the Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists. He's a member of EST/Youngblood and an alum of Clubbed Thumb's Early Career Writers Group, Theater Masters, Alliance Theatre/Kendeda, and Variety’s "110 Students to Watch.” His play The Mongoose was an L.A. Times Critic’s Pick and won the Stage Raw Theatre Award for Best Playwriting. He grew up the only boy among seven sisters.




Sunday, August 13 at 6 pm - Zalk Theater


A small town high school prepares for its 40th annual production of Our Town. But this traditional ritual, which has united the community for generations, becomes the occasion for a human tragedy far too common in our America. Suspended between past and future, before and after, the town historian - a local mother - narrates this theatrical tale asking us: Who is responsible? How have we failed? And what are we going to do about it all?


BIO: A Chicago bred actor-turned-playwright recently relocated to the DC area, where she is a member of Arena Stage’s 2017-18 Playwrights’ Arena, Jennifer Barclay has had plays produced and developed by Steppenwolf, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, RedCat, Center Stage, and the Kennedy Center. Jennifer is the recipient of the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Kennedy Center National Science Playwriting Award, and the Pinter Review Gold Medal. Ripe Frenzy received the National New Play Network’s 2016 Smith Prize for Political Theatre.





Mon, August 7 at 8 pm - Zalk Theater


Young aspiring artists from colleges around the country spend a week immersed in the writing process with our OPC senior artists. They create a new work based on the deep truth of their lives and deliver it to the OPC audience. An evening that is astounding, revelatory, and worth the trip to experience the beauty of the youthful, wise human soul!



Sat, August 12 at 10 am - Zalk Theater

After a week immersed in the writing process, with mentoring by our amazing OPC playwrights and artists, 15 high school students take to the stage with their raw and uncensored material. Compelling, funny, and always insightful! Led by the great Ojai gift, Kim Maxwell