28 Nov Newsletter – November 2011


Artistic Director’s Corner

Michael StormThere’s a lot going on right now with TheatreFIRST. We just closed a very successful show and we have a few months to prepare for the next stretch of 3-4 shows. We are in the process of writing some grant applications trying to raise funds to afford a home of our own in Oakland as the board and I discuss whether we want to remain committed to theatre in downtown Oakland. Do we want to keep doing shows with Domenique Lozano, Warrren David Kieth, Howard Swain, Nancy Carlin, etc. for 30 patrons a night when as soon as we move out of Oakland that number doubles? It’s a difficult question because we have the two properties waiting for us and we have the rent paid for with 6 companies who are ready to rent from us, and we have the city’s development department offering renovation funds. We just have the problem of raising the funds to build out the theatre, which we have to pay for ourselves; probably in the neighborhood of 30-40k.

And as we continue that process we learn the Live Oak Theatre appears to be coming available for lease in Berkeley. We are in the process of speaking with Actors Ensemble, the current tenant, learning what we need to know about the environment there and putting together a proposal for the City of Berkeley (that will include Actors Ensemble by the way). This will be an extensive and exhaustive process and will require substantial funds to renovate that space as well, but we are doing the work to see if it is a possibility. On the plus side those renovations can happen incrementally. The important thing is for TheatreFIRST to find a permanent home that can be truly permanent and we are continuing that quest. Our next show is at the Berkeley City Club opening at the end of April and running for the first few weeks of May. This show will be very beneficial as we move forward with the issue of Oakland versus Berkeley. One of the plays in strong contention for that spring slot has been with me for the past year and a half.

I picked up this play and started reading it just as I was figuring out that our issues with Oakland School for the Arts were undeniable and that the lack of cooperation at that institution was incredibly profound. I started reading this play over and over again as I was finishing Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States, a book about how and why this country was actually established and how it had been run for the past 200 years. And now that we have the battle cry, “We are the 99%!”, I have not been able to avoid this play.

This play is by one of our country’s most famous playwrights and brilliantly addresses the issues of who has the power in this country, why and how they maintain it. A playwright whose work I have wanted to produce since becoming an Artistic Director. We hope to be announcing the next 3-4 shows in December and we have some other very exciting projects on the table for consideration, but the primary focus will be to keep costs down and box office revenue as productive as possible. TheatreFIRST is receiving no government or corporate funding at this point in time and the private funding from the Ruths and the Morgan-Richards Fund, along with a few smaller individual donations, are financing our shows right now, but if we are to generate the funds needed to build out a new space tickets sales will have to substantially outpace costs.

We hope you will continue to support TheatreFIRST in this endeavor.

Happy holidays!

Thank you to our wonderful IndieGoGo donors!!!

A very special thank you goes out to our IndieGoGo donors…

Dave Boone
Jennie Brick
Christine Dover
David Irwin

And we had two anonymous donors help us pay for our portion of the costs on Hanging Georgia. These wonderful folks, along with Show Sponsors Leo P. and Deborah Dashow-Ruth and the Morgan-Richards Fund helped make our participation in this co-production possible.

Our next campaign will begin soon, this time on Kickstarter.com. Check out the process now so that when we are up and running you can help us by sending the link to your friends, family and co-workers because this kind of campaign only works if we get the word out. This site allows them to watch a promotional video about who we are, what the project is all about and how they can help if they are interested. And of course, even if they are not interested in contributing, they have at least watched a video about the project that is sure to pique their interest in seeing the show!

Hanging Georgia plays to full houses on closing weekend!!!

Hanging Georgia played to full houses on the closing weekend and turned out to be one of our best attended shows. Yay for the Thick House!!!

The Thick House proved to be a fantastic facility, with plenty of parking, easy to get to, and what a neighborhood! Potrero Hill is full of great restaurants, pubs and cafes. We had a terrific time and we know all of you who came out and partook had a great time as well.

“Georgia O’Keeffe’s story brilliantly told in Hanging Georgia.” – Pat Craig, San Jose Mercury News

See Pat Craig’s full review on the website at www.theatrefirst.com

Oakland Tech intern joins the crew of Hanging Georgia

As most of you know, our intern program has been in effect since beginning the 2009/2010 Season, with a few interns joining us along the way. Well… Naomi Zingman-Daniels, a senior at Oakland Technical High School, moved up the ranks fast and joined the crew of Hanging Georgia. By the time we opened she had been named Assistant Stage Manager and received the usual stipend check for a TheatreFIRST Assistant Stage Manager. Congrats to Naomi and welcome aboard! She is truly a testament to the strength of the theatre program at Oakland Technical High School.

Supporting the future of TheatreFIRST

Just another reminder that Christina Chan has us rockin’ on Facebook and Twitter!!! Although the newsletter is the ultimate place for information, please help us spread the word about Facebook and Twitter. Especially to the young folks!!!

Don’t Forget You Can Now Donate Your Car to TheatreFIRST!

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 and submitting the online form located at the bottom of our “Donate” Page.

Our friends at Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette present Scrooge!

Town Hall’s Holiday Classic
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Directed by Jessica Richards
December 1-18

“I do not make myself merry at Christmas, I cannot afford to make idle people merry.”

Our holiday tradition continues with the return of the world’s most famous miser and his journey toward redemption.  A musical delight for the entire family.

Rated:  PG for spooky ghosts.
Running Time:  approx. 2 hrs. with one 15-minute intermission


Where are they now?

Ukamaka Izuchi (Anton in Show Business) is working with a Boston-based production crew, co-writing a script for Nollywood, as well as co-writing and recording for a music artist in NYC for an album to be released in 2012.

Rebecca Pingree (Grapes of Wrath) is appearing as Mrs. Cratchit in Scrooge at Town Hall, which includes choreography by Emily Morrison (Grapes) and boasts another one of our favorites, Clive Worsley (Stones in His Pockets) as Bob Cratchit.

Phoebe Moyer (Anton) will be directing Broadway Bound in January for the Masquers’ Playhouse in Point Richmond. http://www.masquers.org/ 

Aleph Ayin (Rosencrantz…) will be appearing in The Last Five Years with Poor Man’s Players at Box Car previewing on December 2nd. www.poormansplayers.com

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