20 Jan Newsletter – January 2012


Artistic Director’s Corner

Michael StormThings are happening! As we start to ramp back up after the holidays we have some extremely exciting projects in development. We are in the process of landing a MAJOR, BIG TIME Bay Area Premiere (which unfortunately cannot be discussed yet) and we have begun the process of securing a lease agreement on the Live Oak Theatre with the City of Berkeley. In addition, we are back to investigating the possibility of another 3-show season in 2012/2013. Because of these recent developments, we will be taking some more time to contemplate the next 3-4 productions. Although we won’t know about Live Oak Theatre until May, we can (and will have to) announce a season long before that time frame. However, we cannot announce the next 3-4 shows, season or no, without finalizing the possibility of the amazingly stupendous Bay Area Premiere. We hope to finalize it very soon.

Meanwhile…although we do not have official confirmation on the rights to Oleanna yet (they should be arriving shortly)¸ we are moving ahead with that project. With the last round of auditions coming up and the designers and crew being finalized, we find ourselves about two months removed from the beginning of rehearsals. As soon as we have final confirmation of the rights tickets will go on sale, and we will send you a notification. It is absolutely imperative that you purchase your tickets early because the Berkeley City Club is small! And this is David Mamet after all. Tickets will go fast.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go on line right now and make a donation. We ABSOLUTELY NEED to raise $3,000.00 to cover costs leading up to the opening night of Oleanna. After Hanging Georgia we have approximately 70% of the necessary funds to get us to opening night. If everyone gives $10 we can make this goal easily.

Help us keep this amazing work coming your way.


Roadblock’s to TheatreFIRST’s new home in Oakland

Redevelopment Funding Ends in all California Cities
From Pat Kernighan’s Newsletter (Oakland City Council)

The California Supreme Court delivered the worst-case scenario for California cities with its decision on December 29 regarding Redevelopment Agencies. In its ruling in California Redevelopment Association et al. v. Matosantos et al., the Court upheld ABx1 26, the bill eliminating Redevelopment Agencies, but struck down ABx1 27, the bill that would have allowed agencies to remain in operation as long as they made a payment to the State. The Court’s ruling essentially eliminates redevelopment and leaves no mechanism for reinstatement.

This decision will shift property tax money from cities to the State. The end of Redevelopment funding on February 1 is devastating to Oakland and other cities, which now receive a large amount of funding from their Redevelopment zones ($108 million to Oakland last year). This loss will drastically reduce our ability to attract economic activity [and] will eliminate all funding for affordable housing and funding for 160 full-time salaries in many departments. The City Council and Administration are just beginning to sort out what cuts to make, but we must do it quickly. The likely dates for City Council meetings on the topic are January 24 and January 31. The staff report should be available on-line by close of business on January 20.

Many cities and employee organizations are lobbying the State Legislature to delay the dissolution date and develop alternative strategies, but I am not optimistic about getting a reprieve from the State. You will be hearing much more about this in the weeks to come.
Pat Kernighan

TheatreFIRST was in line to receive redevelopment funds for its new home in Oakland. Needless to say, we will be keeping a close eye on this development.

T1  Submits a Proposal for the Live Oak Theatre

Some of you may have heard that the Live Oak Theatre has come up for lease. Well, because of the afore-mentioned developments with the City of Oakland, we decided to submit a proposal. Artistic Director Michael Storm had a preliminary meeting with the Parks and Rec Department (that went VERY well) and they are now in the process of deciding whether T1 moves on to the next phase of  the application process. If you know anyone who works for the City of Berkeley give them a call and see if they can make some calls to help us out. And remember, our plan includes Actors Ensemble, the current tenant.

The Live Oak Theatre is on Shattuck just above Rose Street (where Shattuck forks with Henry Street, near Safeway and CVS). It is a beautiful, old-style space nestled in the Live Oak Park Community Center. Picture a smaller version of the Julia Morgan Theatre on College Avenue, on par with Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette, or a slightly larger version of the Ashby Stage. It seats approximately 150 people and it would allow us to have the permanent home we have been looking for.

It is still a long shot, but we are taking the necessary steps.

Spring Show Campaign: The Call Goes Out

The campaign to raise an additional $3,000.00 in order to finance the Spring show has begun. There are many ways you can contribute: send a check to PO Box 28302, Oakland, CA 94604, click the donate button on the website, or purchase your tickets early.

As soon as we receive the rights to produce David Mamet’s Oleanna tickets will be on sale.

No donation is too small. Please help us pay our wonderful artists and help make that Spring show happen.

Always Remember, You Can Donate Your Old Car to TheatreFIRST

Got an old clunker in the driveway or out back…? Donate it to T1!

It just has to start! That’s it! Don’t want to go through the hassle of selling it? Donate it and take the write off! Win, win!

Charitable Auto Resources is now accepting automobile donations on behalf of TheatreFIRST! And remember, 70% of the proceeds from the sale of your automobile go directly to T1. Donations can be made by phoning 877-537-5277 or by going to our website www.theatrefirst.com and submitting the online form located at the bottom of our “Donate” Page.

Where are they now?

Phoebe Moyer (Anton) will be directing Broadway Bound in January for the Masquers’ Playhouse in Point Richmond http://www.masquers.org/, and playing the starring role in Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful at the California Conservatory Theatre from February 3 to February 26. Phoebe is also directing several Staged Readings for Playlab (Mill Valley) and SF Playhouse.

Michael Barrett Austin (Grapes) will be appearing in the upcoming doo-wop musical Life Could Be A Dream at The Willows Cabaret Theatre in Martinez, CA in March. www.willowstheatre.org

Lisa Anne Porter (R&G Assistant Director) is appearing in Arms and the Man at CenterRep directed by Nancy Carlin (Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter) running January 27 – February 25, 2012. http://centerrep.org/season1112/armsandtheman.php

Ryan Tasker (Grapes) will be performing in The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams January 4-15 at Theatre Rhinoceros. http://www.therhino.org/

Graham Patzner (R&G) and his band Whiskerman have a show February 17th at the Rickshaw Stop and they have a new album out! http://whiskerman.bandcamp.com

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