About Us

Karen and SonjaIn the beginning ~

In July 2002, at the Corner Bakery in Costa Mesa, California, two friends met over a cup of coffee to discuss what to do next. Karen had just completed an eight week intensive at South Coast Repertory's Professional Conservatory, a program also completed by Sonja the year before. Both were eager to take what they had learned and apply it to the stage. For the last year and a half both women had spent time rehearsing and performing scenes in Karen Hensel's workshop at SCR and one play that provided many challenging scenes was Collected Stories, written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Margulies. In this two-person production Sonja played Ruth Steiner, a respected short-story writer and teacher who had made a comfortable life for herself in Greenwich Village. Karen played Lisa Morrison, a naïve but talented graduate student who offers to become Ruth's assistant. The plays spans six years, and in as many scenes Collected Stories eavesdrops on Ruth and Lisa as their relationship evolves, beautifully and poignantly touching on issues of age, artistic license, and betrayal. Sonja and Karen had fallen in love with the story, the language and the characters.

Collected Stories was first put on stage in April 2003 at the Don Cribb theatre, located in the Arts District of Santa Ana, CA, for three performances only. Two of the three shows sold out. With a little profit in the bank and the encouragement of a supportive director, a production company was born. Karen suggested they should find a catchy name, like "Panndora Productions" she offered as an example, using the name of her favorite feline. Sonja liked the name and by adding an extra "n" in the middle, they were able to honor a younger thespian, Sonja's daughter, Ann Tiernan.

The name stuck, and the rest, as they say, is theatre history. Since 2003, our company has evolved to focus exclusively on new works. Keep reading to find out more.

Our Vision, MISSION and more . . .


We imagine a society in which the new works of playwrights are valued and fostered with the same artistic and financial commitment as the classics.


Our mission is to provide a safe, appreciative, socially diverse and artistically excellent space for playwrights, directors, actors and other theater professionals and audiences to experience the exploration and adventure of great new plays.


PANNDORA PRODUCTIONS is a diverse ensemble theatre company formed around the notion that ‘the play is the thing’ that brings us joy. Based in Long Beach, California, PANNDORA is focused on the development of new works of greatly talented playwrights yet to achieve stardom. PANNDORA’S BOX annual new works festival is a celebration of playwrights accomplishing the Herculean task of finishing their play. The Festival combines professional directors and actors reading five new plays over three days before audiences and critics. Playwrights submit from all over the world; with the only requirement being that the play has not received a full production.

For the past eight years, our company has gone on to fully stage one of the five winning Festival plays. Starting with Hook-Ups by Alexandra Petri in 2012, Catching the Butcher by Adam Seidel in 2013, Fragile Thing Cracks by Ben Jolivet in 2014, Medusa Undone by Bella Poynton in 2015, Sweet Texas Reckoning by Traci Godfrey in 2016, In Kings & Fools by Kevin Daly in 2017, Jupiter Moon by Bob Valine, and now Glove Story by Ken Pisani. Our Festival winners have moved on to be published, produced off-Broadway and on the international stage.  We are extremely proud to play any part in the success of these committed and talented playwrights. 

Biographies of founding artists

Read more about us by clicking on our names.

Sonja Berggren
Sonja Berggren
Karen Wray
Karen Wray
David Gold
David Gold


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