TheatreFIRST is Closing
August 18, 2023
It is with deep sadness that we inform you all that TheatreFIRST will be closing it’s doors and ceasing operations at the end of September. Thank you all for your support, particularly in these past couple of months. You inspired us to continue to explore multiple new business models, and search for different possible scenarios that would allow for the company to continue producing exciting, thought provoking work and paying our creatives a living wage. Unfortunately, in the current theatre climate where even large companies with multi-million annual budgets are asking for money to keep their doors open, we are unable to find a sustainable financial future for our small company.
We are just days away from TheatreFIRST’s final offering, a staged reading of WMB, by Marisela Treviño Orta, and we hope you’ll join us not just to see this thrilling new work, but to help celebrate the past 30 years of TheatreFIRST. Each of our staged readings will be followed by a talkback hosted by one of our Community Spotlight Partners: local organizations whose work beautifully amplifies the messages of WMB. Plus, each talkback will be followed by a reception in the lobby, so no matter which show you attend you’ll be able to raise a glass with us.
Those of us who create live theatre get pretty good at saying goodbye. That’s not to say that the “goodbye” is easy, but even on the very first day of rehearsal we know that the closing performance is looming out there at the end of the run. Designers build, decorate, and light whole worlds that disappear in a matter of weeks. Actors bring characters to life, speak their words, and then must let them go. We build families for the stage that love deeply, and then disband. Even the most beloved show must close after a long successful run, and sadly, sometimes we must say goodbye to theatre companies as well.
We would like to thank all the outstanding actors, designers, writers, technicians, and producers whose artistry has graced the T1 stage over the years. And, of course, thank you to our wonderful supporters and audience members who have helped make these past 30 years possible. There is sadness at closing, but still so much to be thankful for and to celebrate. We have one more weekend of performances left. Please join us!
July 14, 2023
Dear friends of TheatreFIRST,
On July 14th we had our most recent lease negotiation with the City of Berkeley. During this meeting we talked at length about the serious challenges facing the Bay Area theatre community at large, and TheatreFIRST specifically. We also discussed our company existing in partnership with the city, and ways we could potentially foster that relationship and continue to be a resource to our community. Although no new financial agreement has been made, we are hopeful that this level of open communication between T1 and the city will continue.
The lease negotiation process may be a lengthy one, and in the spirit of full transparency, we will be continuing to provide you with all relevant developments as they happen. Updates will all be posted on this page. As always, your support means everything to us, and your donations are helping us keep the doors open while we navigate the uncertain future. We cannot do it without you. THANK YOU!
First and foremost, we would like to say THANK YOU to our incredible supporters. Your financial donations make a difference, and your voices have been heard!
After our announcement on Friday went out we received an email very early Saturday morning from the City of Berkeley stating that lease numbers were sent to us without proper negotiation. “This was a mistake.” The City Parks and Recreation Department then reached out quickly to schedule a meeting with us this past weekend, July 2nd, to apologize for the miscommunication, and to reassure us that they are willing to take steps to negotiate our lease. Negotiations will begin in the near future.
This is a step in the right direction, but like other theatres in our community who face a host of financial difficulties, we still need your support. We are not out of the woods yet. Please give what you can and . . .