PRESS

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/24/21

THEATREFIRST ANNOUNCES NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

For too long American Theatre has been centered on white-led hierarchy and storytelling inherent to racist capitalism, but at T1 we strive to make the world we want to see on and off our stages. As announced earlier this season, going forward T1 will become a pipeline for Artistic Directors who understand the BIPOC experience to create, build and ultimately lead larger institutions. The initiative supports a 3.5 year residency for the new leadership, continuously shifting control of the company.

And now, TheatreFIRST is proud to announce their new Artistic Director, Brendan Simon.

Brendan Simon is an award-winning creative and performing artist. He is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association (AEA) who has dedicated over 25 years to his artistic crafts, and directed and performed on local, regional and national stages. He has worked for Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre (KPET) since 2001, and currently leads the Northern California region’s Learning and Development efforts. Brendan is the recipient of Kaiser Permanente’s 2017 Community Health Innovator Award for directing and co-devising the company’s Resilience Squad programming for high schools. He also co-created RISE UP, a national program for educators to foster resilience in school environments despite the adverse childhood experiences and traumas affecting students. Brendan recently began working to transform Educational Theatre’s middle school programming to address racism and include messages of equality and social justice. Brendan believes the future of theatre exists at the intersection of joyful activism and the visibility of underrepresented communities. Says Simon, “art has no more important task than amplifying our painful truths, that we may begin to heal ourselves, our communities, our nation, and our world.”

The current Artistic Facilitator, Jon Tracy, will finish planning and executing the 20-21 season programming through June 2021. At the same time, Brendan will join as Incoming Artistic Director to develop his own programming for the following three seasons. By June 2021, Jon Tracy will transition to Company Facilitator, working under Brendan’s leadership. Brendan Simon’s 21 – 22 season will be announced this May.

Five years ago,TheatreFIRST was reinvented into a theatre lab of community artists dedicated to pioneering new forms of progressive activism. TheatreFIRST is a nationally acclaimed social and economic equity organization that uses the medium of theatre to challenge our world’s traditional constructs. Leading with mandates of a minimum two-thirds people of color, half female-identified, and one-third LGBTQIA2+ in all aspects of infrastructure and production, we explore and exhibit the unwavering promise of representation for all. 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  09/4/20

THEATREFIRST ANNOUNCES 20 -21 ONLINE SERIAL SEASON

Beginning this fall, TheatreFIRST’s new season responds to the world of the “remote,” mirroring the reality of our overlapping communities’ current lived experience. During our 20-21 season, audiences will digitally join characters and artists over the course of months as intimate, episodic stories are developed and presented in a serialized format.  All involved in the season — artists and the characters they create — can’t know if and when they will be able to publicly ‘share air’ with each other. Each story will be told in parts over many months, and all will culminate in a full viewing of the full productions in late spring.

Whether we engage in person or digitally, we aim, as always,  to create experiences that explore the relationship between our art and our world, and how both will have changed us all.

Our episodic season starts in October and will include:

………..

MAGIC FRUIT

BY ALEJANDRA MARIA RIVAS AND KIMIYA SHOKRI

DEVELOPED AND DIRECTED BY SUSANNAH MARTIN

VISUAL DESIGN BY ERIN GILLEY

A chef and a food critic fail to communicate on all fronts. During quarantine, Amaya and Tara attempt to “meet” online for a high-profile interview. After months of inconsistent communication, their relationship comes to a standstill. With both of their livelihoods on the line, it seems that the only way forward is to speak through their only shared language: food. The story will be told in four parts over the season, culminating in a full production in the Spring.

 

ALEJANDRA MARIA RIVAS
KIMIYA SHOKRI
SUSANNAH MARTIN
ERIN GILLEY

  ………..

AFFINITY

BY CLEAVON SMITH

DEVELOPED AND DIRECTED BY CATHLEEN RIDDLEY

VISUAL DESIGN BY TROY ROCKETT

A group of activists have a major problem: their leader, Affinity, has abandoned them just when the group was about to launch a major initiative. Their Zoom planning sessions disintegrate into fights over who’s responsible for Affinity’s departure, threatening the success of the initiative and making it less likely they will ever work with Affinity again. The story will be told in three parts over the season, culminating in a full production in the Spring.

 

CLEAVON SMITH
CATHLEEN RIDDLEY
TROY ROCKETT

  ………..

DELANO

BY CARLOS AGUIRRE, JEFFREY LO, AND LISA RAMIREZ

DEVELOPED AND DIRECTED BY SEAN SAN JOSE

VISUAL DESIGN BY KRISTOFFER BARERRA

Delano explores the lead up to the Delano Grape Strike, through the perspectives of Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Larry Itliong, three humans that clashed, broke and dismayed each other, but ultimately changed the world. In the spirit of this intersecting movement and its challenges, each character is to be written by a different playwright – Jeffrey Lo (continuing the work he started on Itliong in T1’s 7 FINGERS), Carlos Aguirre (Chavez), and Lisa Ramirez (Huerta). The story will be told in three documentaries about the relationship each artist has to their character, culminating in a full production in the Spring.

 

CARLOS ACGUIRRE
JEFFREY LO
LISA RAMIREZ
SEAN SAN JOSE
KRISTOFFER BARERRA

  ………..

A MARRIAGE

BY TOM SWIFT

DEVELOPED AND DIRECTED BY BRENDAN SIMON

VISUAL DESIGN BY BEN EUPHRAT

On a quiet, lonely night, two unlikely men make the unlikely decision to fall in love. The play tells the story of that night and the thirty years that follow. The story will be told with two documentaries from the playwright and director about how their lived experiences inform the work, culminating in a full production in the Spring.

 

TOM SWIFT
BRENDAN SIMON
BEN EUPHRAT

………..

YOU REALLY SHOULD SIT LIKE A LADY

BY LISA EVANS

DEVELOPED AND DIRECTED BY ASHLEY SMILEY

Using music and sound as a mixtape as framework, this solo piece is an exploration of the hilarious, perplexing and sometimes infuriating contradictions in the process of gender identity formation. The story will be told in three parts over the season, culminating in a full production in the Spring.

 

LISA EVANS
ASHLEY SMILEY

  ………..

WHAT’S IN A NAME

WRITTEN, DEVELOPED AND PERFORMED BY LADY ZEN

VISUAL DESIGN BY ALI ARDI & GERALDO CHARRETON

This hybrid, one-person play based on true events in the life of entertainer and storyteller Lady Zen. A South American orphan adopted by a missionary couple from Arkansas running a boarding school in Maringá, Brazil. A story of emotional turmoil and radical acceptance to become an international queer performing artist. Coming to us from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the story will be told with two documentaries about the making development process, culminating in a full production in the Spring.

 

LADY ZEN
ALI ARDI
GERALDO CHARRETON
 

 

Subscriptions to the season are $60 and will include all episodes. Each month, segments of three of the stories, as well as extensive dramaturgical and action packets, will be delivered to your inbox. Your subscription will also include access to the culminating full performances, whether they be online or in person. All stories, live or online, will include ASL interpretation.

Subscribe now at www.theatrefirst.com

Questions about the season: info@theatrefirst.com