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Meet Doug Oliphant

Today we’d like to introduce you to Doug Oliphant.

Doug, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up in Connecticut and moved out to LA right after I finished undergrad. Right before that, however, while still in school, I participated in a national competition organized by The Kennedy Center in DC and won the directing fellowship, which landed me at the O’Neill Theater Center for the summer. I got to assistant direct for a couple well-established regional theatre directors from around the country and had someone there ask me what I was working on. “Well, this, then I’m moving to LA,” I told him, to which he told me that was great and all, but I should always have a next artistic project I’m working on to keep me motivated when things slow down.

So that same day, I began planning a theatre show that would attempt to take the music of The Postal Service and tell a complete story from track 1 to 10 using movement live on a stage. Nine months later in March of 2010, ‘There is Truth, Love is Real’ opened at The Flight Theatre at The Complex in Hollywood, and thus began my professional directing career.

Since then, I’ve directed dozens of fully produced plays, a couple of music videos, more readings of new plays than I can count, a few music concerts and special events, while also utilizing my stage combat abilities to choreograph fights for productions all around town. I’ve had the privilege of working in some capacity at large theatres like Center Theatre Group, South Coast Repertory, and Pasadena Playhouse, as well as for some incredible small companies including Boston Court Pasadena, Theatre of NOTE, Theatricum Botanicum, and The Blank Theatre. I started my own theatre company, now work on staff for several other theatres, and have managed to nearly always have a next project I’m working on.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I create live theatrical experiences that tell stories which challenge your beliefs and subvert your expectations. I want people to laugh at tragedies and cry at comedies. I love magical realism and using movement as a vehicle for storytelling. As a director, you’re not the one writing the material, nor are you performing it — what I love so much is finding that subversion spark in the script, assembling all the right actors, using actor movement in the transitions to further the plot, shaping the rhythms of scenes, highlighting revelations, discovering multiple layers behind every choice, utilizing a team of designers who bring the world to life — all with an eye out for what I anticipate an audience expects to see, and then show them the opposite.

I want to expand your capacity for empathy. I want to surprise you with people who you’re happy not to be, and those you never thought you’d dream to become. I want to make going to a play feel like going to a rock concert. I want to push the envelop on a joke one step further so your face and stomach hurt from laughing.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
I don’t think the role of the artist has changed. There have always been great things and terrible things happening locally, nationally, and internationally, and the role of the artist has always been to shine light and create greater understanding of the humanity within.

When the president of your country seems to stand for everything you don’t, I think you as an artist have a more obvious call-to-action to rally and create. But regardless of whether it seems like everything happening is in favor of your beliefs or against them, it’s your responsibility to acknowledge the current climate and respond in the most immediate way.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Follow me on Facebook or Instagram @DougOliphant, I always post about the projects I’m working on. You can see photos from much of my past work at Next, I’m directing a production of Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot out in Claremont, opening April 24, 2019. More info here:

I also work with Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble year-round and you can follow all our programming through our website:

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Troy Blendell, Adam Emperor Southard, Heidi Marie, Brian Hashimoto, Judd Johnson

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