Ojai Performing Arts Theater Foundation announces 4 new board members

web 1 24 OPAT OPAT new board members
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Clockwise, OPAT board members are Michael Addison, Richard Camp, Stuart Crowner and Kathleen Kaiser.


The Ojai Performing Arts Theater Foundation announces that four new members have been added to its board: Stuart Crowner, secretary; Richard Camp, artistic director; and Michael Addison and Kathleen Kaiser, board members. Crowner has been an OPAT producer for several years; Camp has been artistic director; Kaiser assisted with marketing; and Addison has directed Shakespeare plays for OPAT in the past.
Since 2002, OPAT has been creating quality theater productions in the Ojai Valley, raising money with each performance. Over the last 18 years, it has raised more than $175,000 for local charities and approximately $85,000 for the Ojai Unified School District. The money has been used to help keep and bolster the district’s thriving theater program. The dedicated board puts into the community more than 600 hours a year, working to foster, mentor and strengthen the talents of the next generation.
Board CEO Joan Kemper discussed the reasons for the expansion of the board: “In 2006, OPAT changed from its primary purpose of building a performing arts center to doing musicals and plays and Christmas shows. We raised the money so we could bring professional quality entertainment to the community and have all funds benefit a different local charity or group for each production. Some of the original board members dropped off because they weren't technical theater people. Therefore, not building the performing center, our needs changed.
“I've been sort of on my own, working with various crews, various artisans in theater crafts, to get these shows together. Then along came Richard Camp and Stuart Crowner. Both came out of television, but Richard had had theater experience having written plays early in his career. Stuart wanted to learn about theater, and I took him on as an understudy to mentor. 
"Now that OPAT is doing two or three shows a year, these new board members bring the skills we need. I wanted them on the board where they can have more say and control. Michael Addison has directed for us in the past. Making them board members was a natural move… I welcome all of these talented people.”
Crowner is a veteran television producer whose nonfiction TV shows have appeared on all major commercial networks, PBS and several cable channels, including series for Food Network, HGTV, TLC, and DIY. He has earned six Emmy nominations. Shows he has produced include “The People's Choice Awards,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Jenny Jones,” “The Mike Douglas Show,” and a number of Larry King specials, and he won an Emmy for “Gardens of the World” with Audrey Hepburn. He helped Joan Kemper produce “Yes, Virginia” at OACT, and “I Do! I Do!,” “Twelfth Night,” “She Loves Me,” “Grand Hotel,” “Macbeth,” “Man of La Mancha,” numerous musical fundraisers and “Black Comedy” for OPAT. Coming up, he will produce “Harvey” and the musical “Cabaret” with Joan Kemper.
Camp has previously been artistic director of the Ojai Art Center Theater, where his play, “Bless Your Heart,” enjoyed a critically and financially successful world premiere. His other playwriting credits include “Diamonds,” at New York’s Circle in the Square Theatre, directed by Harold Prince; “Cuckoo Bird” at New York’s Vortex Theatre; “Waiting for Garbo” at LA's Colony Studio Theatre, stagings of “Credo” at LA's Odyssey Theatre with Jean Smart and Richard Gilliland, and at LA's Coronet Theatre with Bruce Davison. He has written a host of TV shows in nearly every genre and is a three-time Emmy nominee and Emmy winner, plus a Writers Guild Citation recipient for CBS's Capitol. His directing credits include two madcap farces at the OACT, “Black Comedy” and “See How They Run,” “Zero Hour,” “On Golden Pond” (co-director with Craig Anderson), “33 Variations” and “Night Must Fall.”
Kaiser’s career spans almost 50 years of involvement in the most exciting industries of her generation. From rock and roll to the digital/Internet revolution, she has been a marketing professional for Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, conferences and trade shows around the world. In 1993, she opened Kathleen Kaiser & Associates, which now focuses on working with the nonprofit arts communities and marketing for authors. She was named Publicist of the Year in 2016 by the Book Publicists of Southern California for her contributions to the literary community. In Ojai, Kathleen was president of the Ojai Shakespeare Festival, has worked with the Ojai Studio Artists, Ojai Art Walk, Humane Society, and Ojai Film Festival. Since 2014, she has been president of the national literary nonprofit Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network (SPAWN) where she produces the 805 Writers Conference. The last two years she was marketing director for the Ojai Art Center Theater. Kathleen is a proud fourth-generation small businesswoman.
Addison has a wide-ranging theatrical background, ranging from Sophocles to Brecht, including productions with the Bathhouse Theater in Seattle, the San Francisco Repertory Theater, The Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the San Diego Repertory Theater. Internationally, his work has been seen at the Festival of Perth Australia, The Dubrovnik Theater Festival, and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Addison’s many Shakespeare productions have been staged at the Oregon, Colorado and Utah Shakespeare festivals, as well as the California Shakespeare Festival where he was artistic director for nine seasons. In addition to his professional work, he has been president of the Shakespeare Theater Association, chair of the Theatre Departments at UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego, provost of Earl Warren College at UCSD, and dean of Theatre at the California Institute of the Arts.
Continuing on as board members are Kemper as chief executive officer; Esther Wachtell, vice president of development; Robert Kemper, chief financial officer; and Bill Wagner, music consultant and special liaison for OUSD.