SBPL and PlayFest Santa Barbara Announce 2022 Reading and Workshop

Authored on
March 22, 2022

PlayFest Santa Barbara, under the Artistic Direction of R. Michael Gros, in partnership with the Santa Barbara Public Library presents the (covid-delayed) Ninth Annual Festival of New Plays. The staged reading of Jerry Slaff's Honoree Play, LIES, will take place at the Santa Barbara Public Library at 40 E. Anapamu Street on Saturday, April 30th, at 6 PM. LIES was selected as the 2021 Honoree play following an international competition.

This is the third year that PlayFest has partnered with the Santa Barbara Public Library, which offers free, all-ages programming to the Santa Barbara community. “Partnering with the Santa Barbara Public Library, and hosting the event at the Central Library, enables PlayFest to reach the greater Santa Barbara community and offers participants a unique opportunity to learn about the playwriting process,” stated Artistic Director, Michael Gros.

LIES takes place in 1950 as an inexperienced public defender tries to win the parole of a notorious German World War II radio propagandist who has a hard time telling the truth. Or does she? Are her truths all lies? Or are her lies really the truth? And what happens when you can no longer tell the two apart? Though set in 1950, LIES is as timely as today’s Washington tweets and television and radio talk shows. LIES is an allegory about lying in government, and a meditation on what is actually the truth.

A post reading talkback between the audience and the playwright will immediately follow the reading. The reading is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Fireplace Room at the Santa Barbara Central Library.

The 2022 Festival also incorporates a free playwriting workshop on Saturday, April 30th. The workshop will be taught by the Honoree playwright, Jerry Slaff, and is open to the general public and writers ages 16 and older. With the lively guidance of Jerry Slaff, 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. The workshop will also take place at the Santa Barbara Central Library in the Technology Lab from 10:30 AM until 12:00 PM.

The workshop is free, however, reservations are required as capacity in the workshop is limited in order to assure more individualized coaching. Follow the links to reserve a workshop slot.

About Santa Barbara Public Library:

The Santa Barbara Public Library is a department of the City of Santa Barbara. Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library online at for information about programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.

Honoree Playwright and Workshop Leader biography:

Jerry Slaff, an award-winning playwright, has written numerous plays, some of which have been produced off-Broadway and in multiple regional theatres. His major plays include CASA NEUROTICA (off-Broadway), PEANUTS AND CRACKERJACKS (multiple regional theatre productions), GRAND UNION, PERSONAL HISTORIES, PETEY’S PARADE, LOST SOULS, and STANISLAVSKI’S METHODS.

LIES is the Honoree Play for PlayFest Santa Barbara 2021. It was a Semifinalist, O’Neill Theatre Conference; Winner, Grand Prize, 88th annual Writers’ Digest Writing Competition, 2019; Finalist, SigWorks reading series, Signature Theater, Arlington, Va.; staged Reading, Baltimore Playwrights Festival, December 2019; staged Reading at Scripted Brussels theater festival, Belgium, May 2020; staged Reading, HRC Showcase Theater, Hudson, N.Y., Sept. 2021; Production, Attic Salt Theater, Asheville, N.C., 2022 (scheduled).

Additional recognition for Jerry Slaff includes being a Semifinalist, 2020 Austin Film Festival playwriting competition. Semi-finalist, Garry Marshall Theatre, Burbank, Calif., 2018; Honorable Mention, 87th annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, July 2018; Second Round, Austin Film Festival, Aug. 2018; Second Round, Phoenix Theater, Nov. 2018; Finalist, Playwrights First competition, 2019.