PlayFest Santa Barbara

Welcome to PlayFest Santa Barbara

The months of December and January were devastating to the greater Santa Barbara community and recovery efforts will take a great deal of time. And while PlayFest Santa Barbara did have Board members, artistic leadership, and many supporters who were evacuated, in some cases multiple times, to the best of our knowledge none of them suffered injuries or damage to their homes. As one can imagine, this was a challenging and disruptive time as well for Santa Barbara regional arts organizations, all of whom are now reevaluating their activities, and in most cases, looking to move forward. As is PlayFest. 

We are going forward, though with a scaled down Festival for 2018. We have shifted our staged reading date to March 10 and will now present the reading of a single Honoree play, and two playwriting workshops that will precede the reading. The playwriting workshops will be conducted by Ellen Anderson of Dramatic Women. Our new partner, and the host site for our Festival is the Santa Barbara Central Library. The Festival reading and workshops are made possible by a Community Arts Grant from the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture.

The 2018 Festival’s Honoree play is REUNION, by Steve Karp. Following the PlayFest Santa Barbara Festival of New Plays reading, REUNION, will be presented in a further development reading as part of the Phoenix Theatre Festival of New American Theatre.

The three finalist plays were:

CRIPPLED, by Richard Broadhurst

SIGNATURE PHOTO, by Michael Bucklin 

THE SPANISH PRAYER BOOK, by Angela J. Davis

Honoree playwright’s biography:

Steve Karp: REUNION (full-length, currently in development: PlayFest/Santa Barbara, CA, Phoenix Theatre Festival, Neil Simon New Play Festival, Utah – semi-finalist); THE TOOLS OF IGNORANCE (full-length, currently in development); THE FAMILY STEERING COMMITTEE (full-length, still in development: William Saroyan Prize for Human Rights/Social Justice – runner-up, Charles M. Getchell New Play Award/Southeastern Theater Conference – semi-finalist);FRATERNITY (full-length, produced & published: Dramatic Publishing Company); THE WAREHOUSE (full-length, produced); RUBBAS (short-play winner – Drama Club of Washington, D.C.); IN RE: RADDING v GLAZER (short-play, produced). FilmmakerTHE TENNIS LESSON (most widely distributed theatrical short-film in the history of Columbia Pictures); THE JOGGER (Columbia Pictures, National Film Collection-Library of Congress, American Film Institute/National Endowment for the Arts grant-winner); THE TENNIS MATCH (Columbia Pictures); Short-Film Festival Honors: Melbourne, Chicago, American (NYC), Virgin Islands. Regional Theatre: Stamford Theatre Works (founder/producing director; Karp directed nearly half of STW’s 100 Equity full-productions, 1988-2008); Connecticut Critics Circle Award: Outstanding Contribution to Connecticut Theatre – 1997, Best Director Award: A FEW GOOD MEN (Westport Country Playhouse – 1992-93 Season). Actor: Broadway – THE CHANGING ROOM (Drama Critics Award: Best Play), HERZL; The Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven, CT), New York Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center (NYC), The American Shakespeare Theatre (Stratford, CT), The Light Opera of Manhattan (NYC). Training: The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Tufts University, The Loomis Chaffee School.

“My diversification of professional experience – acting, directing, and producing – has informed my dramatic writing, and has helped me to feed my ambition to explore subjects of personal dramatic interest with enthusiasm and determination, if not always with confidence and courage. At this point in my creative development, it is the writing that provides the most satisfying challenge to my continuing passion for expression, and my enduring love-affair with the creative process.” – Steve Karp


Artistic Directors, Jeff Meek and R. Michael Gros.

Artistic Directors, Jeffrey Meek and R. Michael Gros.

Santa Barbara’s vision is informed by our commitment to performing arts virtuosity. We aim to create a haven for diverse artists to develop and celebrate classic and new literary and musical works from conception to completion. We are committed to providing an exciting and creative environment for artists to hone their skills and promote their talent with the support and guidance of the world’s leading professional theatre artists. We believe the cultural vitality of our community is enhanced and reflected by the creative depths of our storytelling.

Above all, we expect to be a credit to the communities we serve, a valuable resource to our audience, and a place where dedicated artists can grow and prosper. Toward this end, we will not only listen to our audience and artists, but also embrace the idea that PlayFest Santa Barbara is at their service. 

If you’d like to submit a play, head over to our Playwriting Competition Page for information on awards, judging and submission procedures. Any plays submitted now through October 1, 2017 will be considered for the January 2018 festival. 

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics but for our contributions to the human spirit.” John F. Kennedy

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