Newsletter — December 2014


Artistic Director’s Corner

Storm HS 1510 smallWell the public has spoken. That’s for sure. A mere months after announcing that we would be working on a show by show production model our patrons have stood in the lobby of Live Oak Theatre (at 1301 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley – make sure you tell EVERYONE of its existence and get them to join us!) and provided some pretty resounding feedback. They want a season. So, after tossing and turning all night over the course of several weeks and working tirelessly during the day (well, almost tirelessly) to pick three shows with stripped down budgets, I think I have figured something out. We have a three show season in the works that starts with a show in the spring, has a Free Shakespeare in the Park show running at John Hinkle Park in the Summer, and our first Christmas show. Pretty exciting.

We knew we were going to do the summer show because, other than word of mouth through fine folks like you, having 200 people a day show up to the park is the best way to get the word out about Live Oak Theatre. And that is our main concern at this time. But as more and more people saw my copy of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross lying around the theatre they all, and I mean ALL, said how much they would love to see that show. Truth be told, I was considering starting up my own company (while TheatreFIRST was on hiatus until the summer) and producing Glengarry Glen Ross with that company. But as the people chimed in and I continued to work on the budgets I realized, with a couple minor concessions from Actors Equity Association, it could be part of a TheatreFIRST season. We have the rights and now it is up to Equity. We will submit our materials to the Union soon and await their response.

For those of you that are interested, we spend anywhere from 30-50 personnel hours preparing budgets, box office reports, casting plans, etc. to Actors Equity. We have to prepare an entire season right down to the last dollar, and then they rubber stamp it with a “yes” or “no”. If they say no, and thank heavens they have not in the past, we go back to the drawing board and redesign another full season and submit again.

Anyway, we have the rights to Glengarry Glen Ross and a few of our favorite actors on board already, Warren David Keith, Kevin Karrick and Robert Lundy-Paine. We are in conversations with Jon Tracy about possibly directing the Free Shakespeare in the Park show and we have an amazing Christmas show that we are applying for the rights to produce. We should have more information for you on a monthly basis, so keep a sharp eye out for your FirstThingsFirst update. And start telling your friends about Live Oak Theatre and Glengarry Glen Ross.

Thanks always


Last Chance to Donate for 2014

The year is winding down. But you know that! One last chance to make that tax deductible donation to your favorite theatre company…or skip that, and donate to TheatreFIRST. Ha ha! But seriously, we know how valuable a company committed to providing affordable intimate professional theatre is to you and the rest of the folks here in North Berkeley. That’s why we are committed to fighting the fight and keeping the Live Oak Theatre alive! And this time of year we are so grateful to all of the people that keep TheatreFIRST up and running. But we are more than happy to welcome more. If you have not donated before, join us! We are about to announce another exciting three show season, but we will need help.

Board Member Extraordinaire Jump Starts the Season

Speaking of the season, Bonnie Stiles has agreed to match incoming donations from now until March 15th (when rehearsals begin) up to $5,000! So your $500 donation is now actually $1,000.
Thank you, thank you, Bonnie Stiles.

Classic Movie Nights Are on the Way

As we have mentioned in previous newsletters, we are planning on Classic Movie Nights at the Live Oak Theatre and although we have not determined what time would be best, before the dinner hour or after the dinner hour, we do have some Thursdays set aside in February for the first three screenings (12th, 19th, and 26th), titles to be determined.

HOWEVER the big announcement is that there is a test run of the equipment coming up on Saturday, January 3rd, complete with full concessions, drink, and hopefully genuine movie style popcorn! All are welcome to join us for this dress rehearsal-type test run free of charge. Come check it out. The movie will start at 7pm, lobby opens at 6pm. Just remember, this is a legitimate test of the equipment. Movie is to be determined.

And we may have a special Valentine’s Day showing on Saturday, February 14th, so keep your eyes out for that as well. We hope to have Classic Movie Night information available on the website soon.

Board President Announces Departure

Christine Dover has been involved with TheatreFIRST in one way or another for over ten years and much of that time has been as Board President. When our current Artistic Director was hired Christine Dover was on hiatus, but Michael immediately met with her and convinced her to come back. Christine has served as our Board President with distinction and class during Michael’s entire tenure and has been an absolute treasure to us all. She, along with Jennie Brick and Jill Warner, are the longest tenured Board Members and she will missed, but we hope she returns when her work schedule is not so crazy!

Website Undergoing a Facelift

The next time you log on to the website you may see some different sites (no pun intended). Industrious Monkey is hard at work redesigning our already fabulous website and transforming it into an even better one. We are excited! Industrious Monkey has taken care of us, pro bono, for over three years now. Run by our Creative Director, Jenn Wagner, they are an invaluable resource and have saved us many, many dollars over the years and if you are ever in need of website design or development, we recommend them highly.