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Playwrights of 2019

Talented playwrights who showcased their work in the 2019 OC-Centric New Play Festival.

Lydia Oxenham
Author of Thump In The Night

Lydia Oxenham has a lot of fears, most of them irrational, some of them legitimate. A few of these fears made their way into short humor pieces for The American Bystander, Weekly Humorist, Points in Case, and beyond. Others walked about in plays and comedy sketches. And some fears stayed small and enjoyed a nice life in her bi-weekly newsletter, Lyd-life Crisis, which you can subscribe to at You can view more of her work at

Joni Ravenna
Author of Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies

Joni Ravenna's long one-act, Tucked Away, about human trafficking, premiered this March in the INK!Fest at the Hudson Theatres (Hollywood) where it was runner-up for Best Drama (out of 22 plays.) Joni is a graduate of USC, and her full-length plays include A Brush with Fate (which ran at West Coast Ensemble during an early Los Angeles Fringe Festival) and Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies, produced at the Met Theatre and then the Odyssey Theatre (Los Angeles) in 2013 to critical acclaim. Her full-length For Pete's Sake (available via Brooklyn Publishers, pen name JR Sussman) ran at the Chance Theater in Anaheim Hills (it was nominated for best new play by OC Weekly and was a finalist in Playwrights' Circle National Playwriting Competition). Her one-act  "Sex, Love and the Premature Evacuation"  was the winner of the International playwriting competition, and a finalist in the Strawberry Festival in NYC. That same year her ten-minute play The Green Grocer  was a finalist at the Tulip Festival (NYC) and winner of the Dublin Festival of Short Plays. Joni's newest full-length play, Blinded, had its world premiere in North Hollywood at The Brickhouse Theatre in summer 2017.

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Ben Susskind
Author of Still Moving

Ben Susskind, a high-schooler at the Orange County School of the Arts, Class of 2020, is a trained actor through South Coast Repertory. He has recently appeared in Oliver Twist at South Coast Repertory, and As You Like It at Orange County School of the Arts.  Also, he has directed an award-winning production of Boise, Idaho through his school. Ben starting writing when he was 13 years old, having written a total of 9 plays and musicals since then. He likes to focus on material that doesn’t get a lot of attention from the media, bringing more shocking subjects mainstream. Ben hopes to continue studying playwriting as he moves towards higher education. He is currently applying to playwriting programs at DePaul University, Northwestern University, UCLA, and UCSD. Ben is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have one of his plays produced and can’t wait to see it to fruition.

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