Playwright Project’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

Playwrights Project supporters from Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe and Carmel Valley enjoyed Plot Twist, a 30th Anniversary Gala benefiting Playwrights Project at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice on the campus of the University of San Diego, on a summery evening in the garden, on Oct. 10.

Besides enjoying the sunset over Mission Bay and dining on individually made risotto dishes and turkey and roast beef from the carving station, guests were entertained with a presentation of two awards, and snippets of original theatre from writers in Playwrights Project programs, featuring an excerpt of “Prom Night” written by Emily Reit who was 16 years old in 2008 when her play won a production.

Board member emeritus Ernie McCray was awarded the 7th Annual Deborah Salzer Excellence in Arts Education Award presented by founder Deborah Salzer herself.

Ernie McCray has been a supporter of Playwrights Project since its inception, serving as a founding board member, teaching in almost every program that Playwrights Project offers, and acting in several Plays by Young Writers festivals.

Before retiring he was a principal in many San Diego schools, most recently Cabrillo Elementary.

“I’m so thankful that I’ve had a role as an actor, teacher and board member—being part of the Playwrights Project is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I accept this award as an honor of the highest degree,” he said.

Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky were honored as longtime supporters of the Playwrights Project. The Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky Family Fund has made a four-year commitment to the Playwrights Project Plays by Young Writers, an annual festival that premiers the winning scripts from a statewide contest for playwrights age 11-18 from California Schools.

Sheila Lipinsky’s comments (responding to enthusiastic applause as she accepted the award) included “We feel very strongly that the praise goes to the people — the staff — the people that run this organization... This entire organization means the world to us. We are still very involved and Jeff and I are very committed.”

Along with the Plays by Young Writers festival, Playwrights Project also conducts play writing programs for adults; About Face (for active military and veterans), Boarder Lines (for adults who live along the U.S./Mexico border), Lifestages/Recollections (for seniors 55 and up), Out of the Yard (incarcerated adults), and Telling Stories (current and former foster youth).

The 31st season of Plays by Young Writers, can be seen at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theater in the Conrad Prebys Theater Center at The Old Globe in Balboa Park beginning January 21, 2016 and running through January 31.

The Playwrights Project web address is

Photos by Leslie Carter