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Welcome to Backstage: The TBA Blog! This is the place for Theatre Bay Area announcements, info on upcoming events, grant deadlines, ticket giveaways, shout-outs and special profiles of featured members. Visit early and often!


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Bay Area Stares Down White Supremacists

Posted By TBA Staff, Friday, August 25, 2017
Updated: Friday, August 25, 2017

Even as it appears that we have stared down the racist rallies this weekend, we urge you to speak up and stand up for the values that define us as a theatre community.
Brad Erickson, Rachel Fink
And Theatre Bay Area Staff

Read our full letter here.
Please Note: In light of the cancellation of both the Patriot Prayer rally and the No-to-Marxism event in Berkeley, the event times and locations listed below are subject to change. We recommend you follow the Facebook event or the organization sponsoring the offering directly for updates.

This is not a full list of offerings. Visit these sites for more info and details on all the activities this weekend:

KQED - One Right-Wing Rally Canceled as Bay Area Officials Push Back Against Fringe-Right Rallies

SFist - Here Are All The Counter-Demonstrations Planned During Saturday's Alt-Right Rally In SF

KPFA - Counter-Protests Planned for the Bay Area

SF Chronicle - Bay Area political events: SF, Berkeley rallies, counter protests


5:30 PM – 9:00 PM  San Francisco Interfaith Council ~ Interfaith Gathering Against Hate
Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake Street, San Francisco

7:00 PM  Anti-Hate Digital Light Vigil
Crissy Field, San Francisco


10:00 AM - 6:00 PM  March Against Hate
Starting at Marina Green, Crissy Field, San Francisco

12:00 Noon - 2:00 PM  Come Together – Juanita More
Speeches – Music – Art – No Politicians – Grass Roots
Harvey Milk Plaza, San Francisco

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM  Peace, Love and Understanding
Hosted by Michael Franti and Spearhead
Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco


11:00 AM  Resist Racist Violence & Hate in Berkeley with SURJ Bay Area
Ohlone Park – Meet at Hearst and Martin Luther King Blvd and march to Berkeley City Hall

12:00 Noon  Protest the White Supremacist Rally: Communities Against Racism & Fascism
Civic Center Park, Berkeley

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM  Bay Area Rally Against Hate
Crescent Lawn, UC Berkeley, near Addison & Oxford Streets, Berkeley

Tags:  advocacy  Community Events 

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Program Director's Note: Send Us Your 2016 Annual Conference Ideas

Posted By Dale Albright, Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, November 10, 2015

By Dale Albright


It’s hard to believe—as the TBA staff launches into final TBA Awards Celebration preparations (do you have your tickets?), continues to work on the 2015-16 TBA Awards cycle, begins to accept registrations for the General Auditions and plans for those pesky holidays—that it is already time to begin planning for the 2016 Theatre Bay Area Annual Conference. But it is!

 TBA program director Dale Albright.

A massive, once-a-year event, the Annual Conference (held each spring) is the chance for every kind of theatre-maker from all over the Bay Area to get together with colleagues to hear the latest trends, discuss pressing issues, connect with the community and get energized for another year of fantastic work.

Generally, the conference is formatted with a plenary session (or two) for everyone to gather in one room, followed by many breakout sessions for deeper, more in-depth discussions around particular topics. Topics are brainstormed at our advisory committee meetings, at regional meetings and through input from our members.

In addition to topic-based discussions, we also have sessions that are more experiential (like speed consulting, discipline-to-discipline speed dating—we’ve even had a headshot photographer doing free photos!).

Here’s where you come in. We would love to hear from you—what you would like to see at the 2016 Annual Conference? Send us your thoughts about any or all of the following:

1.     The biggest challenges you are facing right now. Maybe you can’t put in the form of a suggested discussion. Just let us know the challenge and we can take it from there, based on the variety of feedback that we receive.

2.     Speakers whom you would like to hear at the conference.

3.     Particular topics that you would like to have addressed.

4.     Things that you would like to see happen at the conference (maybe you have an idea for an experience you would like to have, for example).

5.     Would you like to actually put a session together? Tell us about it! What would the topic be? Who would you invite to be a part of it? What format would it take?

6.     What bright spots have you seen this year that you would like our community to celebrate?

Please send your thoughts to I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


Dale Albright is program director for Theatre Bay Area, as well as an actor and freelance director. 



Tags:  Annual Conference  Community Events 

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Updated 2015 "Sources of Publicity" Book on Sale Now!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Updated: Monday, May 18, 2015


What do you want? Butts in seats. 

How do you get them? Publicity!

Theatre Bay Area proudly presents its newly updated summer 2015 edition of Sources of Publicity, the indispensable guide for reaching (and wooing) the media professionals who can get the word out about your show.  

The updated 2015 Sources of Publicity is the premier guide to print, web, radio, television and, now, social media sources of publicity in the Bay Area, now featuring up-to-date information on almost 300 media contacts in the Bay Area. 

The 2015 Sources of Publicity also includes a wealth of useful information for anyone with a project to share, whether you're an old hand at the publicity game or a bright new star looking for ways to shine!

Additional content includes:

• Contact info for the members of the Glickman Award committee and the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle

• Indexes by alphabetical order and by geographic region

• Advice on avoiding common publicity mistakes

• Tips on photography best practices

• Social media etiquette when contacting journalists

• And even a deadline guide (hooray!)

Don't wait - order your copy today!

Tags:  audience development  Community Events  Glickman Award  journalism  marketing  Sources of Publicity 

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Lemonade Fund Benefit Variety Show on June 1

Posted By TBA Staff, Friday, May 15, 2015
Updated: Thursday, May 14, 2015


The Lemonade Fund Variety Show Benefit - Come Out and Play!
Hosted by Megan Briggs and Alan Olejniczak

Witness community in action on June 1 at the Lemonade Fund Variety Show Benefit! The Mary Mason Lemonade Fund is a valuable and confidential resource for theatre practitioners with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. All proceeds from this benefit will go to provide supplemental financial assistance to improve the quality of these individuals’ lives as they deal with medical conditions.

The Lemonade Fund Variety Show will feature performances by PianoFight's Chardonnay, Charlie Gurke and the Ondine Band, the cast of Custom Made Theatre Co.'s Grey Gardens, The Musical, Kevin Rolston, Michael Gene Sullivan, Trevor Allen and Velina Brown.

RSVP for the event here!

Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community.

Tags:  Community Events  Mary Mason Lemonade Fund  Michael Gene Sullivan  PianoFight  Velina Brown  volunteer 

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Rejoin and Reconnect with the TBA Spring Membership Sale!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Updated: Monday, May 4, 2015


Do you remember your first theatre experience?  Of course you do. That amazement, that sudden desire to be part of all the magic, that irreplaceable thrill. Dive back into the community of theatre makers today with an individual TBA membership!

Rejoin today, and get a special Spring Sale price of $50 for a full year!

How? Visit our membership page and use this discount code: 2015SpringSale

“I hadn’t realized how much I missed TBA! Renewing my membership reconnected me with the all the unique vitality of the Bay Area theatre community. It’s good to be back in the loop again. TBA is the pulse of local theatre, and the new website makes it even easier to find out what’s going on." —TBA member Valerie Wagenfeld, rejoined April 23, 2015


Your year-long individual membership includes:

• A weekly e-newsletter, “The Insider,” packed with theatre news, free tickets, and info on upcoming events!
• Discounts of up to 50% off TBA gatherings like the Annual Conference, where the Bay Area theatre community meets up to share ideas and excitement!
• Eligibility to see shows as a TBA Awards adjudicator—for free!


If you've missed that "plugged in" feeling, click on over here and rejoin TBA for only $50 with this promo code: 2015SpringSale. (Offer good for new or lapsed TBA individual members only.)

Act now - offer ends June 30!

Tags:  Annual Conference  Community Events  Membership  Sale 

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Stuff We Love: 15 Best Tweets from #TBACon15

Posted By TBA Staff, Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We're still tingling from the excitement and energy after TBACon15! Relive the day with these 15 highlights pulled from over 500 #tbacon15-tagged Tweets!

1. On plenary speaker, Jesús Quintero from Tijuana Hace Teatro:

2. On that #tbacon15 livetweeting life:

3. On Mina Morita, artistic director of Crowded Fire Theater Company, another plenary speaker:

4. On Gender Parity:

5. On Triple Play,
a national project led by TBA and Theatre Development Fund reinforcing the relationship between audiences, artists and theatre organizations:

6. More on Gender Parity, behind the glass curtain:


7. On directors/stage managers acting as de facto HR reps:


8. On the lunchtime lull, from an active participant participating remotely:

9. On the Playwrights' Cabaret:


10. On Partnerships:


11. On reacting to #tbacon15!


12. On Sarah Moser, accepting the 2015 RHE Artistic Fellowship!


13. On Marcus Gardley, 2014 Glickman Award recipient, and his moving acceptance speech:


14. One of the many breathless (as far as we can infer) reactions to Marcus Gardley's speech:


15. On letting it all sink in, post-#tbacon15:


Honorable Mention:
Is it tastelessly self-aggrandizing to post one of our own? Nonetheless, one of the most engaged-with Tweets was a quote from Marcus Gardley:


That's all for this year. So many inspiring (and clever!) thoughts, reactions and conversations took place on #tbacon15—and in real life. Thank you for jumping in and speaking up. Say those changes aloud! Let's see what progress we've made next year at #tbacon16.


Tags:  #tbacon15  Annual Conference  audience development  Community Events  Gender Parity  Glickman Award  Marcus Gardley  Mina Morita 

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A Huge #TBACon15 Thank You!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Updated: Friday, April 17, 2015

Theatre Bay Area would like to say THANK YOU to the many, many people who made the 2015 Annual Conference such a success!

Thank you to all invited speakers, panelists, coordinators and consultants, for sharing your expertise and passion. You inspired literally hundreds of people at this event.

Thank you to all attendees, for being the reason we hold this event. It's amazing to get to spend a whole day together, hearing about what excites, challenges and moves you.

Thank you to all volunteers, for helping to get it all done. Your cheerful assistance reflects our community at its best: generous, collaborative and committed. You are deeply appreciated. 

Thank you to all donors and sponsors, for taking a stand to show your support for the arts, the Bay Area theatre arts community, and a world made better through expanding the public's access to the particular power of theatre. 

Special thanks to these major sponsors:



Musson Theatrical


See you next year at #TBACon16! 

Tags:  #tbacon15  Annual Conference  audience development  Community Events  Gender Parity  Glickman Award  Intrinsic Impact  Marcus Gardley  Mina Morita  RHE Fellowship  Works by Women SF 

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The Bay Area Celebrates SWAN Day

Posted By TBA Staff, Friday, April 3, 2015
Updated: Friday, April 3, 2015

By Dana Harrison

On Saturday, March 28, a vibrant group of women and their allies filled the Ashby Stage to mark a holiday dreamed up in 2008 by WomenArts founder Martha Richards and film critic Jan Lisa Huttner: Support Women Artists Now Day—or SWAN Day.

This year, SWAN Day events took place in 25 states, and in countries as varied as Burundi, the Czech Republic, Finland and New Zealand (view full list here). In the Bay Area, WomenArts hosted a special gathering designed to connect and celebrate women artists, and inspire women with news about the strength of the world-wide movement for gender parity in the arts.

SWAN Day participants deliver the "SWAN Salute" at the Ashby Stage event. Photo: Christine Young

The free afternoon event opened with a welcome by Martha Richards, and an invitation to all attendees to join her in the "SWAN Salute" [photo above].

Richards enumerated the SWAN Day events happening all over the world, and shared her work bringing to light the sad truth of the underrepresentation of women in all areas of theatre-making—a reality that is being more widely acknowledged through projects around the country and in Canada to collect statistically valid data to show the patterns and provide a baseline for policy changes and action. Richards is currently working with Shellen Lubin, copresident of the Women in Arts and Media Coalition in NY, to organize a convening in Toronto for people doing work on gender parity in theatre on April 28; it's scheduled to coincide with the free Equity in Theatre conference being hosted by the Playwrights Guild of Canada on April 27.

Next, we enjoyed four ten-minute plays by and about women that were developed in collaboration with PlayGround and Symmetry Theatre. In Katie May's Abominable, Fate and Luck dueled using mortician's assistant Beverly Onion as their pawn. In Lean in with Liz by Rachel Bublitz, a new mother on leave from her job as a lawyer is challenged by her teenaged self, and appreciates the ground gained since the era of her suffragette ancestor. Street Photographer by Genne Murphy provided a vignette into the life of street photographer Vivian Maier, through an imagined encounter with John Maloof, the man who "discovered" and publicized her work after her death. And then we wrapped things up with a hilariously inspiring and infuriating look at Feminist Valhalla by Takeo Rivera, in which Pharaoh Hatshepsut and her court of feminist icons rule in the Norse afterworld, welcoming new warriors to their hall—until they're infiltrated by a modern capitalist who threatens to trigger Ragnarok by her perversion of feminist principles.

After this enjoyable warmup, Valerie Weak and WomenArts Board member and USF professor Christine Young presented high-level results from NOT EVEN: A Gender Analysis of 500 San Francisco/Bay Area Theatrical Productions 2011-2014 from The Counting Actors Project. This project, initiated by Weak in 2011 after she joined Actors Equity and noticed the disparity in awarding of union roles to men and women, consolidates the data provided by hundreds of volunteers on professional productions in the nine Bay Area counties which is reported monthly on Weak's blog on the Works by Women SF siteThe full report, presented on the WomenArts site, includes a wealth of supporting data and analysis—but perhaps most importantly, a very useful infographic summarizing the results—which demonstrate not only a frustrating disparity in opportunities for women, but also no progress over the four years studied.

We wrapped up the day on a high note with a lively Q&A and the opportunity for women to promote their work and upcoming events. Young reminded attendees that the Theatre Bay Area Gender Parity Advisory Committee is working year-round to improve this situation, and invited everyone to join her, Weak, Richards and SF Shakespeare Festival Director Rebecca Ennals at the TBA Annual Conference on April 13 at Berkeley Rep, where the committee will host two panels and a networking lunch—and, for the first time, the conference will offer a designated Mothers' Room. Young and Richards acknowledged our hosts, Shotgun Players, who have kicked off their 2015 season featuring six productions and six staged readings—all of plays by women. Shotgun's experience will be featured as a case study in a session at the TBA Conference, titled "Who's Got Next?", as a way of inspiring other companies to follow suit.

The event ended with wine and cheese, plenty of conversation and connection-making, and renewed inspiration to be certain that women's voices are heard and women's talents are seen and recognized on stages across the Bay Area and beyond.


Dana Harrison is managing director of Theatre Bay Area. 

Tags:  Christine Young  Community Events  Gender Parity  Martha Richards  SWAN Day  Valerie Weak  Works by Women SF 

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Theatre Bay Area’s Annual Conference Shines Spotlight on Change

Posted By TBA Staff, Thursday, March 19, 2015
Updated: Friday, March 27, 2015


Change, in all its forms and variations, will be center stage at Theatre Bay Area's Annual Conference on Monday, April 13, hosted by Berkeley Repertory Theatre. This year's theme, "Be the Change," references the many forces coming together to reshape the theatrical landscape in the Bay Area and beyond.

"It's an exciting time to convene our members and partners, as Theatre Bay Area itself has just completed its strategic plan, funded by the Flora and William Hewlett Foundation. The year-long process, coupled with a survey of our members, enabled us to discover what is important to build upon and what activities may have to end," says executive director Brad Erickson.

One visible change for Theatre Bay Area is its magazine transitioning to exclusively online after the May/June issue. What started as a mimeographed sheet 40 years ago has grown into the preeminent Bay Area publication for theatre companies, actors, playwrights, and those who love performing arts. "The most popular parts of Theatre Bay Area magazine will continue, and Theatre Bay Area members can choose to have certain journalistic categories, such as audition notices and job listings, pushed to them through email. It's time to make the move completely to convenient, electronic communications," continued Erickson. 

In a recent survey of 500 local artists, Theatre Bay Area was the #1 source of auditions and theatre jobs in the Bay Area and the #1 place for directors and companies to post for actors and other theatre artists.

Other changes at Theatre Bay Area, as a result of its strategic planning process, include:
A greater focus on audience engagement and helping theatre companies build a bigger base
Strengthening the tools TBA offers artists throughout the trajectory of their careers
Engaging theatre-makers in an annual awards program that recognizes achievement
Working with members to advocate on behalf of the performing arts and making the San Francisco Bay Area recognized as a center of excellence for live theatre

Erickson will discuss the strategic planning process in more detail at the conference. Registration is now open for the all-day gathering, which will be held in the East Bay on April 13. Other highlights include panels on gender parity, innovations in audience interactions, and a Playwrights' Cabaret featuring new work from emerging writers. A complete agenda for the day and pricing can be found at

Everyone interested in theatre and the Bay Area performing arts community is welcome.


Update: Robert Hurwitt at the SF Chronicle has this to say about the shuttering of TBA's print magazine.

Tags:  #tbacon15  Community Events  TBA Magazine 

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TBA Annual Conference Registration Now Open!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, March 17, 2015




Are you a Bay Area theatre-maker who wants to make some connections?
Discuss the art, craft, and business of making theatre?
Hear some fantastic new ideas?


Come to the TBA Annual Conference!



Theatre-makers of all stripes will gather for the TBA Annual Conference in downtown Berkeley on April 13 to connect, learn, and celebrate. Whether you make your theatrical magic onstage or off, this conference will have something for you!


Registration for the conference is now open - sign up today!


Sign up before April 1 and get the "early bird" discount to attend one of the biggest, most inspiring theatre events of the year!


Sign up more than one person and save even more!

More info is available here, including locations, times, sessions, and lunch options. 


Hope to see you there!

Remember to follow us on Twitter - hashtag #tbacon15!

Tags:  #tbacon15  Annual Conference  Community Events  Intrinsic Impact  volunteer 

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