Laurel Ollstein is an award-winning writer, director and teacher.

Her plays have been produced across the United States playing to sold out houses and winning awards such as best over all production in the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City. Her work has been featured in festivals from New York to SIngapore.  She regularly does play development and productions in Los Angeles and New York.

Ollstein also writes essays, memoirs, screenplays and television scripts; directs plays; and serves as an adjunct professor of writing for several universities.

An artist with range has tastes to match

Playwright Laurel Ollstein is a bit of a cliche in this town: Actress-writer-director. But she’s the real deal. As a member of the Hollywood ensemble company the Actors’ Gang, she has worked as an actress and playwright in many collaborative pieces, including “Hysteria,” “Blood Love Madness” and “Insomniac.” Her award-winning one-woman play on writer Dorothy Parker was produced across the country and she currently teaches playwriting, acting, directing and screenwriting. Her next role is that of writer and co-director of “Showing Our Age,” a play exploring the myths and realities of aging and based on material she gathered through interviews at 40 senior centers. 

Liesl Bradner, Los Angeles Times

As a long-time member of The Actors’ Gang (founded by Tim Robbins), Ollstein developed several new plays and collaborated in numerous productions as a performer.  She continues ongoing involvement in the artistic and educational programs of the Virginia Avenue Project, About Productions, Cornerstone Theatre, Ghost Road Theatre, Ensemble Theatre Los Angeles and Playwrights’ Arena.

Ollstein also creates her own devised theatre, community-engaged work that is ensemble driven and documentary theatre.  She has initiated and received funding for projects including an extensive, ongoing project with senior citizens of Los Angeles, garment industry workers, students in Los Angeles Unified School District, holocaust survivors partnered with university theatre students and professional playwrights and more.

Ollstein’s essays and memoir pieces have been published by The Middle English Literary Group, the Sea Oats ReviewTiny Lights and Fresh Yarn.  Several of her screenplays have been optioned for development.

Ollstein holds an MFA in playwriting from the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA.  She was awarded the Faith Broome Playwright in Residence for the University of Oklahoma and has extensive teaching experience including appointments as adjunct faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, CalArts  and Redlands University among others.

Selected Awards, Grants, Memberships

2012   White Buffalo Award received from The University of Oklahoma for outstanding service and contributions to the School of Drama

2011   Winner Faith Broome, University of Oklahoma Playwright in Residence Competition

2010   Winner TRU Voices Reading Series

Culver City Cultural Affairs grants for STAGES

2009   Finalist New Works of Merit Playwriting contest

Culver City Cultural Affairs grants for STAGES

TRU Honorable Mention Reading Series

2008   OPA! Midtown Theatre Festival Best Commercial production, Best Ensemble, Best music and Lyrics

Culver City Cultural Affairs grants for STAGES

2007   National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for Showing our Age

Culver City Cultural Affairs grants for STAGES

California Arts Council grant Showing our Age

2006   Culver City Cultural Affairs grants for STAGES

2002   OCPA Stage to Page Contest – first place

OVATION AWARD – The Exonerated with The Actors’ Gang

2000   A.S.K. Playwriting award awarded by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

UCLA Affiliates Scholarship

UCLA playwriting recruitment scholarship

Marty Klein Comedy Writing Award

Kenneth McGowan Award in Playwriting

1998   Best Ensemble Performance, Backstage West, Garland

Best Ensemble Performance, LA Weekly, Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella

1996   Winner Playwrights on the Verge

California Arts Council Grant for teen playwright workshop with The Actor’s Gang

LA Weekly Nomination for BEST One Person Show for Laughter, Hope and a Sock in the Eye

1995   Foundry Series Playwrights Award

Member, Actors’ Equity Association 1984 – Present
Member, SAG-AFTRA Screen Actors’ Guild 1981 – Present
Member, Dramatists’ Guild 1994 – Present
Member, About Productions 1998 – Present
Artistic Associate, Playwright’s Arena 1996 Present
Member, Actors’ Gang 1990 – 2005

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