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The Ojai Playwrights Conference Establishes Dr. Kerry English Artist Award

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The Ojai Playwrights Conference Establishes Dr. Kerry English Artist Award

The Ojai Playwrights Conference is establishing a first-time annual award, the Dr. Kerry English Artist Award, in honor of OPC board member Dr. Kerry English who passed away in April of this year. Funding for the award will be underwritten by English's widow, Olga Garay-English.
Over the next 10 years, an award of $7,500 will go to a playwright whose play is selected to be part of OPC's annual play development program. The award will allow the playwright to pursue and enhance their OPC workshop experience and help sustain the Artist's Theatre career after Ojai.

An additional $7,000 will support the OPC workshop process for the play.
Ojai Playwrights Conference Artistic Director/Producer Robert Egan stated, "We are proud that the first annual award OPC has created is in honor of Dr. Kerry English. In addition to his decades of work as a developmental pediatrician with at-risk children in Watts and South L.A., Kerry was an inveterate theatregoer and loyal supporter and board member for OPC."

Olga Garay-English said, "It is fitting that my husband's love for people and theatre will be represented through Ojai Playwrights Conference, a theatre company and community that values insight, compassion and skill, and gives opportunity to playwrights, in particular those whose goals involve empathy, diversity and economic justice, issues that Kerry prized."

Taylor Mac, playwright, performance artist, MacArthur Award recipient and Pulitzer Finalist, in speaking of grants for early career artists said, "The first grant I ever got was $7,000. It changed my life. One moment I was trying to figure out how to live day to day, the next, someone had tapped me on the shoulder to say, 'Yes, you are an artist.' I had the pleasure of meeting Kerry English and discussing our mutual passion for theatre. This is a lovely way to remember him and to support artists through Ojai Playwrights Conference, an organization that has long made a home for diverse writers."

The goal of the Dr. Kerry English Artist Award is to encourage playwrights who have demonstrated a commitment to giving voice to diverse and underserved communities in America, to bring awareness and activism to the burning social, cultural and political issues of the day, and to promote humanitarian values.The first recipient of the Dr. Kerry English Artist will be announced at a later date.

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.

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


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