Ojai Playwrights Conference Names Jeremy B. Cohen New Producing Artistic Director

Cohen, steeped in experience as director, playwright and arts leader, is well known in the American theatre for his work leading new play development.

By: Mar. 23, 2023
Ojai Playwrights Conference Names Jeremy B. Cohen New Producing Artistic Director
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Ojai Playwrights Conference has named a new producing artistic director, nationally known and respected theatre leader and artist Jeremy B. Cohen. Cohen is currently producing artistic director at Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis.

OPC, known for fostering new work from diverse playwrights addressing the important social and political concerns of our time, conducted a nationwide search to replace Robert Egan who had led OPC for 21 years. After staying at the request of the board to shepherd OPC through the pandemic, Egan stepped away at the end of 2022.

OPC Board President Mark Helm said, "We are so lucky to have Jeremy leading us into OPC's next chapter. He has a powerful ability to engage and inspire, and proven talents as a director with new plays. His national and international artistic and strategic leadership make him the perfect person to continue and expand the artistic vision that has made OPC a star in the world of new play development. OPC's future is in good hands."

Cohen, steeped in experience as director, playwright and arts leader, is well known in the American theatre for his work leading new play development at such places as Hartford Stage, Naked Eye Theatre, and as producing artistic director for Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis (where he will continue until 2024). He has directed at theatres across the country, including Steppenwolf Theater, Baltimore Center Stage, Guthrie Theater, Goodman Theatre, The Alley, Hartford Stage and many more. His off-Broadway production of Jonatha Brooke's "My Mother Has 4 Noses" recently finished touring the U.S. (Complete bio below and photo link below.)

Speaking of his new role at OPC, Cohen stated, "There is a powerful legacy of playwrights who have received tremendous support from Ojai Playwrights Conference over the years. It is an absolute honor to be taking this organization, legendary in its scope and reach, into this next era. Playwrights and theatre-makers are craving a safe haven to not only make their new theatrical work, but also to be in conversation and community with one another. By centering equitable access for artists, Ojai Playwrights Conference will continue to share this incredible work and inspire our world forward."

Playwright and director Luis Alfaro said, "The majority of Jeremy Cohen's career as a theatre artist has been in service to the making of new plays. His work across the country is a testament to his investment in contributing to the field generations of new work, while moving it forward. A reliable and visionary leader, he is also a mentor to playwrights across the United States. His desire and ability to champion new and veteran artists in the making of new plays align beautifully with the mission of the Ojai Playwrights Conference. In these complicated times, mission and vision are essential. Here is an artist who has proven himself in bringing both to the field. Welcome aboard!"

Former Producing Artistic Director Robert Egan said, "Jeremy is an extremely experienced and widely admired leader in American new play development. He has the artistic vision, combined with the administrative acumen, to create a sustainable and bright future for OPC. He will serve the Southern California and The National Theatre community with deep humanity and rigorous joy!"

Cohen and the OPC staff and board are currently planning for this summer's OPC 2023 New Works Festival.

ABOUT OJAI PLAYWRIGHTS CONFERENCE

Since 1998, theatre professionals and enthusiastic audiences have converged in Ojai to participate in the development of new plays for the American theatre. Plays developed at OPC have gone on to have numerous productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at regional theatres across the country. Some have been nominated for and won prestigious awards. Both "Fun Home" by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, and Jon Robin Baitz's "Other Desert Cities" were Pulitzer Finalists; "Fun Home" won the Tony Award for Best Musical; and Danai Gurira's

"Eclipsed" and Stephen Adly Guirgis' "The Motherf**ker with the Hat" were each nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. In 2019, OPC received the LADCC Gordon Davidson Award for distinguished contribution to the Los Angeles theatrical community.

For more information about Ojai Playwrights Conference, visit www.ojaiplays.org

Jeremy B. Cohen Bio

Jeremy B. Cohen, producing artistic director for Ojai Playwrights Conference, is a nationally renowned director, playwright and leader in the field of theatre. He has served for 13 years as producing artistic director at Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis and will continue in that role until 2024. Previously he served as associate artistic director/director of new work at Hartford Stage (2003-2010), where he also directed several premieres. As founding artistic director of Naked Eye Theatre Company in Chicago, Cohen developed/directed more than 15 plays, including several premieres. Other Regional/NYC directing credits include productions at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley Theatre, Alliance, Baltimore Center Stage, Dorset Theatre, The Duke on 42nd Street, George Street Playhouse, Goodman, Kansas City Rep, McCarter, Mixed Blood, New Victory, Olney Theatre, Open Fist, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Royal George, Steppenwolf Theatre, Theater J, Theater Latté Da, Victory Gardens and Workhaus Collective; workshops at O'Neill Playwrights' Conference, New York Stage and Film, Pasadena Playhouse, Denver Center, Portland Center Stage, A.C.T./New Strands, New Harmony, Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Woolly Mammoth. He has received numerous directing awards, an NEA/TCG Directors Fellowship, and a commission on a co-written play (with Dipika Guha) for "Malicious Animal Magnetism" at A.C.T./ZSpace in San Francisco. His Off-Broadway production (at The Duke on 42nd Street) of singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke's "My Mother Has 4 Noses" recently finished touring the U.S., and he's currently writing the book for "Playing With Fire" with music and lyrics by JC Chasez and Jimmy Harry, and developing the musical adaptation of the award-winning documentary "The Gospel of Eureka" with Emily Saliers (of Indigo Girls).



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