The Ojai Playwrights Conference announced that the first recipient of the annual Dr. Kerry English Artist Award will be Julia Izumi.
Her play, “Regretfully, So the Birds Are,” has been selected for development during the 2021 OPC New Works Festival slated for August.
The Dr. Kerry English Artist Award was established in 2020 in honor of Dr. English, an OPC board member who died that year. The recipient receives $7,500, and an additional $7,500 goes toward supporting the chosen play in development at OPC.
Ms. Izumi’s plays include, most recently, “miku, and the gods,” “Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes, the Sea,” “(An Audio Guide for) Unsung Snails and Heroes,” and “Akira Kurosawa Explains His Movies and Yogurt (with Live & Active Cultures).”
As a writer and performer, Ms. Izumi has developed and presented work at Manhattan Theatre Club, Clubbed Thumb, the Bushwick Starr, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab and Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Ms. Izumi is a 2020/2021 New Georges Audrey Resident and an upcoming New Dramatists member. She has a master’s in fine arts from Brown University.
“The fact that I continue to write plays in a time of no gathering is either proof that I am a little crazy or a testament to my deep commitment to the art form (or both!),” Ms. Izumi said in a statement. “Theater, or rather live storytelling, or rather a collective sustained exploration of the imagination, is essential to how we grow and understand each other, how we train our muscles for empathy, and how we heal.
“I am patiently waiting for the day that I can heal with everyone once it is safe to gather again. I am so grateful to receive an award created in honor of a man who seemed to find a similar passion for the thing I love so much.”
The Dr. Kerry English Artist Award is intended to encourage playwrights who represent America’s diverse and underserved communities; bring awareness about social, cultural and political issues; and promote humanitarian values.
To learn more, visit ojaiplays.org.