The 201​8 Pacific Playwrights Festival

Launched in 1998, South Coast Repertory’s annual Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF) is a major national showcase for new plays. The ​​21st festival in April 201​​​8 will bring the total number of plays presented in PPF to 1​​3​6, including many that have become mainstays of contemporary American theatre. Each year’s three-day festival attracts theatre professionals from across the nation, who are drawn by the chance to be the first to see some of the best new plays in the country. These artistic leaders, along with SCR’s devoted new play audiences, take advantage of the opportunity to engage with seven new plays that traverse the theatrical spectrum. And, in between plays, PPF offers a gregarious gathering place for the sharing of ideas with colleagues and friends, old and new.

This year’s festival takes place April 2​​​0–2​​​2 and features ​​​five staged readings and ​​two fully staged world premieres during an action-packed weekend.

The New York Times calls SCR “an incubator of major talent … South Coast has mounted an impressive list of acclaimed plays, long before the East Coast establishment got wind of them.” SCR’s ​20 previous festivals have included such award-winning plays as Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2, ​Qui Nguyen's Vietgone, Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime, Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive and David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole.


by ​Qui Nguyen

directed by ​​​May Adrales
dramaturg​, ​​Elizabeth Rothman

Friday, April 2​0, at 1 p.m., on the Segerstrom Stage

Shadows of their Vietnamese homeland haunt Tong and Quang’s attempts to settle in a foreign ​world called Arkansas. Married life is hard, especially for refugees—and even harder when it turns out your first marriage isn’t over. An irreverent hip-hop take on the immigrant story.

by ​Julia Doolittle
directed by ​​​​Mor​itz von Stuelpnagel
dramaturg​, ​​​Kimberly Colburn
Friday, April ​2​​0, at 4 p.m., on the Segerstrom Stage

Two 18th-century misfits share a passionate tryst in a boathouse. Will their illicit lust lead to a lifelong commitment? Sorry, that’s so 1791. But when they are thrust forward to the present day, they discover that love hasn’t gotten any easier.

by ​​Kevin Artigue
directed by ​​​Leah C. Gardiner
dramaturg​, ​​​​Jerry Patch
Friday, April 20, at 8 p.m.​, Saturday, April 21, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 2​2, at 2:30 p.m., ​in the Nicholas Studio

Another black man killed by a white cop. Only this time the cop is the man you love. And you’re a black woman and a cop yourself. Can you trust your heart if the story keeps changing and you don’t know who or what to believe?

by ​Caroline V. McGraw
directed by ​​​​Jennifer Chambers
dramaturg​, ​​​​​Andy Knight
Saturday, April 2​1, at 10:30 a.m., on the Segerstrom Stage

What happens when six years of your life suddenly get erased? Do you try to reconstruct what was lost, or build something new? Are you even the same person? And what do you do about a husband who’s become a stranger?

by ​Madhuri Shekar
directed by ​​​Shelley Butler
dramaturg​, ​​​​​Danielle Mages Amato
Sunday, April 2​​2, at 10:30 a.m., on the Segerstrom Stage

In an Imperial Harem, in a place like India, in a time like 1666: Hamida, a bodyguard, wakes to the oppression in her midst and decides to do something about it. Seduction, skullduggery and swordplay in a mythic, swashbuckling action-romance for the ages!


World Premiere
by Amy Freed
directed by ​Art Manke
dramaturg, John Glore

March 2​​4–April 2​1 on the Segerstrom Stage

In Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio wins. But, what if a 16th century woman had written it? In Amy Freed’s clever and wickedly funny spin on the classic, Kate triumphs, too. When her unstoppable force meets his immovable object (or is it the other way around?), the impact is red-hot and, oh, so sexy! From the author of The Beard of Avon comes a love story for our time.

World Premiere
by Kemp Powers

directed by ​​​May Adrales
dramaturg, ​Kimberly Colburn

April ​​8–​29 on the Julianne Argyros Stage

“We is shadows. And shadows is seen, not heard.” In pre-Civil war Georgia, Toy and Colis spend long days on the plantation silently serving adolescent twins Mittie and Daniel. But in the dead of night their world comes alive, as they lie beneath their masters’ beds whispering stories to each other through a vent in the wall. When Father announces the family is moving to Louisiana, the children face uncertain futures. Do they dare come out of the shadows? A compelling testament to the power of the human spirit from one of America’s most promising playwrights.​


What Does It Mean to Be a Playwright in America Today?  

Join us for a conversation with the 2018 festival playwrights, moderated by Skyler Gray, Victory Gardens Theater’s director of new play development. During the panel, Gray and the writers will discuss what it means to be a playwright in America today. As writers, do they feel the need to respond to the ever-changing political landscape? Why or why not? Do they feel a responsibility to tell certain stories in this time? The Playwrights Panel will be Sunday, April 22, at 9am, on the Julianne Argyros Stage. Admission is free and no reservation is required.

Read more about the Pacific Playwrights Festival.

See the list of play titles presented during previous Pacific Playwrights Festivals.

Festival Feedback

Thank you for joining us for the 21st Annual Pacific Playwrights Festival. We'd love to hear what you thought:

The 201​8 Pacific Playwrights Festival is made possible with support from:
The Shubert Foundation​
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust​
Edgerton Foundation
The National Endowment for the Arts​
Time Warner Foundation
The Elizabeth George Foundation ​

Pacific Playwrights Festival Honorary Producers:
Sarah J. Anderson & Thomas B. Rogers​
Sophia Hall Cripe & Lawrence Arden Cripe
Yvonne & Damien Jordan​
Samuel & Tammy Tang
Linda & Tod White

Costa Mesa Marriott
Official Hotel
The Capital Grille
Restaurant Partners