Close Panel

News Post

Santa Barbara Public Library and PlayFest Santa Barbara Announce 2019 Reading and Workshops

PlayFest Santa Barbara, under the Artistic Direction of R. Michael Gros and Jeffrey Meek, in partnership with the Santa Barbara Public Library presents the Seventh Annual Festival of New Plays. The staged reading of Anna Nicholas’ Honoree Play, OUT THERE RIGHT HERE, will take place in the Santa Barbara Central Library on Saturday, May 25th, at 6 p.m. OUT THERE RIGHT HERE was selected as the 2019 Honoree play following an international competition. 

OUT THERE RIGHT HERE takes place at the intersection of science and faith, with a dash of magical realism, and asks, “What does it mean to believe in anything? The author describes the playwriting, “It’s Autumn, the Santa Anas are blowing and LA’s on fire again. Jasper Molloy is an aging Apollo astronaut diagnosed with Alzheimer's who’s been stashing Oxycontin in the bookshelves until the day he has enough to off himself. Daughter Lucie was an archeologist until her son was killed by a philandering neighbor's pool man and she found the Lord; while son Hubble’s a SETI researcher and Atheist who spends his days searching for life in the multiverse. Then in walks Randy, a contractor Lucie meets online, who shakes things up with his open heart and mind.”

Anna Jensen, former Ensemble Theatre dramaturge and current co-host of Theatrixsb podcast, will moderate a post-reading talkback between the audience and the playwright. The reading is free and open to the public and will be held in the Fireplace Room at the Santa Barbara Central Library, located at 40 East Anapamu Street.

The 2019 Festival also incorporates two free playwriting workshops, the first on May 25th and the second, on June 15th. Workshops will be taught by master playwrights. The workshop on May 25th will be taught by the Honoree playwright, Anna Nicholas, and is open to the general public and writers of all ages. Sam Lahne, current Resident Dramaturg at the Ensemble Theatre Company and a produced playwright, will guide the June 15th workshop. The focus of the June 15th workshop is to serve and support young storytellers from local high schools and colleges. With the lively guidance of Anna and Sam, the workshop participants, through a series of individual and group writing experiments, will explore and deepen their playwriting skills and begin to create a short written theatrical work. No experience is necessary, however, an interest in playwriting is a plus. Both workshops will also take place at the Santa Barbara Central Library in the East Faulkner Gallery from 10 a.m. until noon.

Reservations are required as capacity in the workshop is limited in order to assure more individualized coaching. Follow the links to reserve a workshop


May 25 workshop:

June 15 Teen Play Writing Workshop:


Honoree Playwright and Workshop Leader biography:

Anna Nicholas is a writer, actor, and director whose career spans 30 years and is comprised of work for stage, film, television, and individual consumption. Produced plays include "Our Dark Connection," "The Elegant Dinner," "Searching for Mary Jane," commissioned for Theatre In The Dark, The Odyssey Theatre, Los Angeles (2012-13) Nominated for LA Weekly Theatre Award; LU/LOU (Dorothy Lyman), The Beaver Suite (Friends and Artists Theatre and Metropolitan Stage NYC) and Incunabula, performed for radio by Los Angeles Theatre Works, available on Audible. Her plays have been included in reading series at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Women's Theatre Project in Ft. Lauderdale, FL (2014) and Rogue Machine Theatre, Los Angeles. VILLA THRILLA, had its premiere at the Atwater Village. She wrote, produced, and directed the international festival prize-winning film, Univers'L (starring Tony Todd), a multilingual mockumentary about the LA riots of 1992, rebroadcast on PBS; Her short film, The Big Bowling Ball, with James Remar, was nominated for best live action short. Nicholas is the author of the novels, The Muffia, the first of a "chick lit" series published in 2013 by Water Street Press and Homegrown: The Terror Within (written under the pseudonym, Cialan Haasnic). She has contributed columns for Vine Times and Touring & Tasting Magazines, as well as articles for the Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of the Horse, and others. Her first book of non-fiction, Royal Mack's Teeny Tiny Wine Guide (2005), was reissued in 2012, and an essay, "On Wine and Men," appears in Penguin Books' In My Mother's Kitchen. She blogs at As an actress, Nicholas was a member of Theatre In The Dark at the Odyssey Theatre, Los Angeles (nominated for LA Weekly Award 2013 for Best Ensemble). Other favorite roles include Lane in Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House (also at The Odyssey), Alice in A.R. Gurney's Post mortem, Kate in Harold Pinter's Old times (Ensemble Theatre), Shakespeare in Snoo Wilson's More Light and Eva in Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular. Films include: Final Analysis, Cotton Club, Bloodstone and Funny About Love. She's been on TV as Sue Ellen's secretary on Dallas, Mike Hammer's sidekick, and Mary Tyler Moore's foil. She has taught writing at the University of Oregon and has been involved with the Ojai Playwrights Conference, both as dramaturg and Managing Director (2010). She is a member of the Playwrights Unit of Ensemble Studio Theatre LA and the Dramatists Guild of America.


Playwriting Workshop Leader Biography:

Sam Lahne is a playwright and dramaturg currently based in Santa Barbara, CA. His plays have been produced and/or developed by The Playwrights Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and the Kennedy Center/National New Play Network, among others. He has been a Playwrights Center Core Apprentice, a member of Scripps Ranch Theatre’s New Works Studio, and a visiting playwright-in-residence at Endstation Theatre Company. He has been a finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, DC Source Festival, the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, and Cutting Ball Theatre’s “Risk Is This” Festival.

Sam currently serves as Resident Dramaturg at Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara and Adjunct Professor at Santa Barbara City College. His production dramaturgy credits include the development and world premieres of Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), Mia Chung’s You for Me for You (Woolly Mammoth), and Jonathan Fox’s adaptation of Husbands and Wives (Ensemble Theatre Company).

Sam received his B.A. from Vassar College and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop.


For more information contact:

R. Michael Gros



Jace Turner, Community Relations Librarian

Santa Barbara Public Library   




Top of Page