Newsletter — October 2014


Artistic Director’s Corner

Storm HS 1510 smallWhat a season it was! With the closing of Fire Work our 20th anniversary season has wrapped up in fine fashion. To even procure the rights to the Bay Area premiere of Orlando was a feat in and of itself, but the show that Domenique Lozano and our amazing design team delivered, not to mention a slam dunk cast, was very significant. And to follow that up with the most daring play produced in Berkeley for quite some time (in my opinion) — because Escanaba in da Moonlight seems to be so contrary to the professional theatre going on in Berkeley — was most definitely a power statement; we will do comedy and it will be great! We know that certain people are not feeling welcome at the theatre these days and we wanted to produce a play where regular folks could come in to the theatre, perhaps for the first time, and see a show that made them feel good. We quickly returned, however, to standard TheatreFIRST fare with an EXTREMELY challenging new work, the world premiere of Fire Work. ALL HAIL Mina Morita who worked her you-know-what off to make everything right and deliver a truly wonderful night of theatre. And the bottom line is, as it always is, audiences loved it. Plus, we did it for an average ticket price that was well below $20. Unheard of!

TheatreFIRST’s mission of providing intimate professional theatre at affordable prices has been fulfilled and everyone who came out to all three shows feels like they were a part of something wonderful. I sure feel that way and I want to thank you all for supporting this 20th anniversary season. Hopefully we convinced the people sitting on the fence to get out there and spread the word about TheatreFIRST and the Live Oak Theatre, and help us get folks into the seats. And since I always have a hard time leaving economic reality out of “the corner”, we have to average 70-75 people a night to be able to afford to be in this space. This season we averaged 45-50. We must all continue to work to increase our audiences soon! Word of mouth is our strongest tool. Your help is always appreciated.


We Made Our Kickstarter Goal

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Kickstarter goal. WE MADE IT! This was our most successful fundraising campaign to date and you were part of it. Thank you so much.

TheatreFIRST Receives Prestigious Diversity Award

Just a quick reminder for those of you who may have missed it, TheatreFIRST is a proud recipient of the 50/50 Applause Award from the International Centre for Women Playwrights. The award is given to companies who have been committed to producing plays by women playwrights and we are very honored to be in the company of some other Bay Area winners like Crowded FireGolden Thread Productions and Playground. Darned good company if you ask us!

We Need Everyone to Come Out and Support Just Theater

We are so excited to have Just Theater returning to the Live Oak Theatre. For those of you who saw A Maze, either here or during its extended run at Ashby Stage, you know that Just Theater is one of the more exciting companies in the Bay Area. Like TheatreFIRST, their reputation draws some of the finest theatre artist around into its fold. We are honored they decided to produce their work on our stage and we would appreciate it very much if the TheatreFIRST faithful would come out to support this fantastic company.

In From The Cold

Written by Jonathan Spector
Directed by Christine Young
NOW PLAYING at the Live Oak Theatre

In From The Cold tells the story of a former spy and how he grapples with the dangers of his past as his son returns home to take up residence in the basement with both funny and tragic results.

Writer and Co-Artistic Director of Just Theater, Jonathan Spector says, ”A few years ago I discovered that one of the biggest spies from the Cold War had lived in hiding across the street from my suburban high school, and that I’d actually met him a few times. I’m always interested in people who are caught up in moments of great historical change, and in the incongruity of the larger social forces and mundane everyday life — like the fact that this guy who may have prevented WWIII still had to worry about moving his car on Tuesdays for street sweeping.” In From The Cold features a stellar cast including some TheatreFIRST alumni: Seton Brown*, Julian Lopez-Morillas* (Escanaba…), Harold Pierce (Rosencrantz…), Sarah Moser* and David Sinaiko

*Appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association

Symmetry Theatre Company in Association with Doctors Without Borders presents:


Based on the stage play Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov
At Aurora Theatre Company

How can you live here, knowing how those people suffer and not do something? Just wait — I bet the spirit will move you.
—Sonya, from Uncle Vanya


Join Symmetry Theatre Company to raise much needed funds for Doctors Without Borders and their Ebola Relief efforts in West Africa. TheatreFIRST is very proud to help this cause by providing free rehearsal space to our good friends at Symmetry Theatre Company.


Friday, December 12th and Saturday, December 13th, 7:30pm at Harry’s Upstage, Aurora Theatre Company, 2081 Addison St. Berkeley, 94704.

$50 per ticket suggested donation. 100% of all monies raised goes to Doctors Without Boarders Ebola Relief Fund.

More info

How to reserve tickets
Send a check made out to Doctors Without Borders to:
Symmetry Theatre Company
2822 Garber St., Berkeley, CA 94705

All tickets will be held at will call; include your contact info (email or phone) so we may confirm receipt of your check. Or reserve your seats, and pay by cash or check at the door by emailing or by calling 510-306-0125.