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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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Top tags: Featured Member  Acting  Annual Conference  Community Events  #tbacon15  ATLAS Program  TBA Awards  TBA general auditions  actor  Membership  advocacy  BOB14  playwright  audience development  Auditions  casting  casting director  Director  Executive Director's Note  Gender Parity  volunteer  #tbacon14  arts education  auditor  Glickman Award  Intrinsic Impact  Titan Award  BAPAS  internship  marketing 

TBA Booth at the Castro Street Fair

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Photo: "that great rainbow flag" by torbakhopper HE DEAD on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.  


Theatre Bay Area will be rocking our very own booth at the Castro Street Fair on October 5! Visit us at our wee home away from home, near Castro and 18th Street, to learn about TBA membership, the TBA Awards, the many amazing shows playing all over the Bay Area, and more! You can come say hello to Brad, Dale, James and Michelle from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Love and rainbows, 

Theatre Bay Area

Tags:  Community Events  Membership  TBA Awards 

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TBA Awards Finalists Announced September 18!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Updated: Monday, September 15, 2014



It's so close we can taste it—the announcement of the first-ever cohort of
TBA Awards Finalists this Thursday, September 18!

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., we will roll out a series of brief announcement videos on YouTube, premiering a new video every half hour until all categories have been announced. The links to the YouTube videos will be published here in TBA Awards News!

Once all finalists have been announced, we will publish the full list of TBA Awards Finalists. And then we'll hold our breath until the glittering, glamorous November 10 Awards Gala to find out which of these talented, hard-working artists will ultimately receive TBA Awards!

Catch the excitement! Tune in on Thursday, September 18!

Tags:  TBA Awards 

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The Money You Might Be Missing

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, September 9, 2014

By Lily Janiak

Bay Area Performing Arts Spaces (BAPAS), a searchable database of performing arts venues and facilities, is growing by practically every possible metric! This amazingly useful tool, managed by Theatre Bay Area, Dancers' Group and Fractured Atlas, now lists 578 spaces—up from about 400 a year ago, with especially rapid growth in Alameda County. We also had 2,610 site visits in July 2014 (up from 1,891 in July of last year). And, in the first half of 2014, site visitors conducted 19,508 searches—over 6400 more searches than in the first half of 2013 (13,066).

These numbers tell us that the BAPAS database—which we've been building for the past three years, with the support of the Hewlett Foundation—is serving you better and better. But until now, a crucial figure has eluded us: How successful has BAPAS been in actually creating new rentals?

Previously, we estimated this success by looking at the number of times site visitors clicked through to a space's contact info, assuming that a visitor would take that step only if he or she were ready to make a rental inquiry. Even on that count, BAPAS has done swimmingly, with 156 such click-throughs just this July, up from 116 in July 2013.

Now that 25 spaces have added our free, streamlined "Book Online Now" feature, we have new—and much more telling—data on the number of rental referrals BAPAS is generating for its users.

(Special thanks to Joe Goode Annex, LevyDance, Little Boxes Theater, Studio 1924, the MilkBar, Zaccho Dance Studio, Alonzo King Lines Dance Center, Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, Bernhardt Studio, Kunst-Stoff Arts, Lux-SF, SF Playhouse, Smithwick Theatre, SoleSpace, Studio 12 Berkeley, Temple Isaiah Social Hall, the Body Academy Studio, the Lighthouse Berkeley and Transmission Gallery for being our earliest adopters of this feature. Y'all rock!)

How does the BAPAS "Book Online Now" feature work? When a venue adds the online booking option to its BAPAS profile, a "Book Online Now" button appears next to the listing. It's that easy! The "Book Online Now" feature allows potential renters to send a rental request directly to the venue manager in just a few clicks—no other website visits are necessary! This is similar to restaurant Yelp pages that let you make a reservation without having to navigate away to a new website. (Not that we theatre folks are going to tons of restaurants where you have to make a reservation, but you get the idea.)

This free option makes booking a venue rental much more convenient for everyone. It also gives TBA a dollar figure for the rental referrals BAPAS is generating for its spaces! This is still a very imperfect metric, of course, covering only a fraction of the bookings that BAPAS facilitates—because it's so easy to use BAPAS to find out about a space, but users are not required to book that space through BAPAS. (BAPAS users—this means it's super helpful if you tell rental managers you found out about their spaces through BAPAS!)

All this notwithstanding, we can proudly say that BAPAS has generated $16,585 in rental referrals across the 16 venues who've been early adopters of online booking. We believe this number will prove very telling as we chart it over time. More impressive, though, is the growth in this number over the course of 2014 (with a seasonal dip in rentals during the summer months):


Limited as these data are, they do show that 1) renters are using BAPAS to rent spaces, and 2) spaces who aren't listed on BAPAS—as well as those who are, but aren't using the "Book Online Now" feature—are missing out on potentially lucrative rental referrals.

We'll be excited to report back once we have more information. In the meantime, venue and space managers, you can list your facility and encourage renters to "Book Online Now" right here!

See you on BAPAS!

Tags:  BAPAS  Dancers' Group  Fractured Atlas  rehearsal  rental 

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Featured Member: Khalia Davis

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Khalia Davis, a fabulous featured member, launched her acting career in the Bay at an early age and continues to enjoy a great variety of work here as an adult. Khalia braved the Theatre Bay Area general auditions earlier this year, and subsequently participated in TBA's ATLAS program, where she was named a finalist for the Titan award. Over the next year, she will receive a professional mentorship through the program.


 TBA Featured Member Khalia Davis.

Tell us a little about your theatre work.

I have been performing professionally on the stage since I was 13 years old, when I was cast in Jane Eyre and Memphis at TheatreWorks. After receiving my BA from the University of Southern California, I returned to the Bay to pursue my professional acting career as an adult. I have worked with numerous professional companies including Children's Musical Theater San Jose, Broadway by the Bay, Z Space, TheatreWorks, Cal Shakes, Bay Area Children's Theatre, and more.

Do you have a favorite play, or a favorite production you've seen?

I have always loved Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, but when I saw The Color Purple on Broadway, I started weeping after the first song. The show's creators made something so beautiful out of a story full of ugly circumstances.

What do you like about the theatre scene here in the Bay?

Since returning to the Bay, I have thoroughly enjoyed attending shows and seeing friends in productions, working box offices, stage managing, or even just sitting in the audience. I have never felt such a sense of community as I do here. I have experienced nothing but support and encouragement from my peers as we all strive for success in this industry. The best part about doing theatre in the Bay is getting a chance to work with all kinds of diverse artistic talent. No one I have worked with has only had a single interest; they fully embody the definition of true artists by possessing multiple talents and skills.

Anything coming up soon that you're excited about?

After closing Dreamgirls with Broadway by the Bay this summer I will be switching musical genres completely to work with 42nd St. Moon in their production of The Boyfriend! Because my passion is in children's theatre and entertainment, I am also excited to perform with Bay Area Children's Theatre in their school tour this year as well as in their main stage production, Three Little Birds!

Do you have a resource or piece of advice you'd like to share?

I have to admit that I am constantly growing and learning, which means I still stumble, but I have a daily affirmation that I feel applies to anyone pursuing a life in the arts: Our gifts are worthy to be shared. I am a firm believer in finding what you love and living that passion to the fullest. There is always a way.


Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community.


Tags:  bay area children's theatre  Featured Member 

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Arts Administration Intern Anna Hecht

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Updated: Monday, August 25, 2014
Young journalist Anna Hecht has just completed her internship at Theatre Bay Area. (Congrats, Anna!) As part of his internship, Heren Patel, TBA's other go-getter intern, wrote this piece about his colleague: 

By Heren Patel

Anna Hecht, a junior-year journalism student at San Francisco State University, is the arts administration intern at Theatre Bay Area. She started her internship around the end of June, and has been enjoying it ever since. During the beginning of her summer, Anna was looking around for internships that fit her interests in journalism; only one of them included theatre. So, she contacted and got hired by Lily Janiak, TBA's listings editor.

Look out, theatre world: marketing intern Heren Patel and
arts administration intern Anna Hecht. Photo: Heren Patel

Before deciding to pursue journalism, Anna—who also works part-time as a nanny—wanted to teach English to children, and possibly become a writer of children’s books. But all that changed when she took a SF State class in journalism. The class inspired her; she knew that this was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. 

At Theatre Bay Area, Anna plans to broaden her knowledge about theatre. Her interest in theatre came from her love for musicals, and from her very first beat with San Francisco State University’s student newspaper. Recalling her first musical experiences, she loved watching her cousin’s high-school productions of Seussical and The Music Man. Currently working on listings with Lily Janiak, and on news pieces with digital content manager Laura Brueckner and editor-in-chief Sam Hurwitt, Anna has learned a lot about different genres in theatre. And in return, she makes sure that everything she works on is clear, concise and up-to-date for theatre artists' reading pleasure. 


Tags:  internship  journalism 

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Interview with Heren Patel: Actor, Bollywood Enthusiast and Theatre Bay Area Intern

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, August 19, 2014
By Anna Hecht

Q: How did you hear about Theatre Bay Area?
A: At school. And I used to work for New Musical Theatre of San Francisco. I worked for them on a show last year as an assistant director, and they were talking about how they wanted to get people down from Theatre Bay Area. I asked them, "Oh, ok, who are those guys?" They told me, "It's this whole big, huge organization that helps promote theatre" and I was like, "Oh wow, I didn't even know about that!"
"Magnificent One - Great Blue Heron in Breeding Plummage" by Andrea Westmoreland on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.

Q: What is your internship at Theatre Bay Area, and what are your duties?
A: Marketing intern. I've been entering and transferring data for PDN [Postcard Distribution Network], our marketing and our advertising. I make sure that everything—the little things—are organized. I've been having fun here; one of the events I got to attend was the Blushing Orchid Ball at the Hyatt Regency. It was really fun! I got to see a lot of people from different organizations and different theatre communities come together to watch the Tony Awards.

Q: You also represented TBA at SF Pride?
A: Yeah, Pride was wonderful. It was one of the weirdest things I've ever been to. It's something I'm used to because I grew up in this town, but it's different seeing it from the inside: all kinds of people just out there, people from all different parts of the world.

Q: What have you gained from this internship so far?
A: I think it's really great. I've learned a lot from the staff about how the professional world works in the Bay Area. What is the etiquette here, and what's the tone? What kind of plays are being developed and produced? Who are they looking for in terms of auditions? It's been really cool.

Q: Are you from San Francisco originally?
A: Yes, I'm from San Francisco, born and raised. My mom came here in around 1975 when she was 15, and then my dad came here in 1982. I grew up in the Mission District, then moved out to the Inner Richmond District around the avenue areas.

Q: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the city?
A: I don't necessarily have a least favorite, but [some favorites are] Baker Beach, which is really nice, Golden Gate Park, Union Square. San Francisco is just a great city to be in.

Q: You attended SF State. How was that?
A: Yeah, I graduated in May. It was wonderful. I was in Brown Bag Repertory Theatre class; we put on a play every week. Rehearsal time is four weeks to put on a show—it's really intensive. You learn a lot about theatre and you grow as an actor, and it was really fun doing that at SF State.

Q: Do you have many mentors in the field?
A: I have teachers who are part of the professional world. My first acting teacher at SF State was Lauren English—she's the casting director for San Francisco Playhouse—so I know her pretty well. Bill Peters is a great guy; I would consider him the master of theatre. He's a professor in acting, directing and all kinds of things. There's a lot of great people at that school. They mentored me in getting me out of my own way, because once I started acting, I was one of those people who thinks a lot. I thought too much about doing what I wanted to do and that really messed up my acting.

Q: Are you continuing your work as an actor?
A: I am in a show right now that's going to be at ACT. It's new in the works and titled Love Junkies. It's going to be playing the first week of October through the weekend. It's a musical, so you get a chance to hear me sing [laughs], which I desperately hate doing.

Q: What are your interests outside of theatre?
A: I like watching Indian movies a lot. That's actually what inspired me to become an actor. In a lot of Bollywood movies, they have musical numbers; it's basically a musical on film. I love song and dance mixed with acting, and I was like, "Oh, theatre does this too, so why not?"

Q: Where do you see yourself, career-wise, after your TBA internship ends?
A: Right now, I don't know where this career might take me. I do have a long-term goal of going to India and doing theatre and film over there. But right now I'm here for the experience.



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Hot Stuff at TBA South Bay Regional Auditions

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Updated: Monday, August 11, 2014

By J

It was a sweltering afternoon at the TBA South Bay Regional Auditions in San Jose—both inside and outside the San Jose Stage Company, although for not quite the same reasons. While the temperature outside was breaking through all possible possibilities of human endurance, the pace inside the audition venue was also scorching. 

Group after group of eager actors came filing in at their appointed times to present 120 rehearsed seconds of theatrical performance for an eager, willing and welcoming group of artistic directors, casting directors, casting assistants, et al, from as many as 14 different theatre companies.

Photo: "Audition" by henry... on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license. 

It all ran like clockwork. Actors would come in and submit their headshots. The group in waiting would be taken outside for a quick orientation of audition protocol. The previous group's actors were filing out one by one from the stage, while the next group’s headshots were grouped for each auditor. After the last actor had performed his/her/their pieces, hands went up for the next lot of head shots. TBA marketing associate Kendra would come in and introduce the incoming group; one by one, like a well tuned program, the actors came in to perform and then left, making space for the next auditioner. And the process continued—for nine hours straight.

San Jose Stage Company has a big stage, a backstage-cum-green room and a beautiful, well-lit lobby. Three worlds coexisted; while performers showed their wares on this beautifully lit stage with audience on three sides, the actors waiting were seated/standing/moving in the green room, paying close attention to who was on stage (and their own heartbeats). The third world was the smiling and welcoming front desk in the lobby, manned by Susan and Dana who would greet you with a smile and a kind welcome. 

Actors performing songs would first huddle with the on-board accompanist Samuel, who then played in full support to the artist—keeping in sync with the voice, breath and emotion of the singing talent. 

Actors of all shapes, sizes, ages, vocal range and nervousness came forward to an audience that was supportive, friendly, kind and responsive: chuckles, giggles, laughs and finally, a nice, juicy "Thank you.' A special word goes out to the auditors who, even after numerous auditions, remained engaged and warm. 

Being in the last group, I did have the advantage of a particularly jubilant audience before our group began—yes, it had been a long day. 

Thank you TBA, thank you San Jose Stage Company, thank you auditors, and most of all thank you actors, for having the courage to come and be vulnerable once again, to wear our hearts on our sleeves, and offer ourselves for inspection, knowing that in these 120 seconds—before we hear the word, "time," before they shut the lights out—we could possibly live a couple of lifetimes. The show must go on…

J is a Bay Area-based actor fresh out of the University of Washington's MFA (Acting) program. J also holds an MBA, helped raise $115,143 for the University of Washington and is an activist for gender freedom. 

Tags:  Acting  Auditions 

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Speak Your Mind at TBA's Strategic Planning Listening Tour

Posted By TBA Staff, Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Imagine Theatre Bay Area has never existed (sad world, we know). If you were to create a theatre artist service organization from scratch today, what would it look like?


Theatre Bay Area was created by and for artists in 1976; there was no foundation or grant mandating our existence. TBA came into being because theatre people like you wanted it and made it happen.


Nearly 40 years later, we're asking similar questions: What kind of service organization should we be? As many of you know, Theatre Bay Area is in the process of strategic planning, where we're defining the problem that it's our mission to help solve, then identifying the changes we'd like to make and the core strategies we're using to make them happen.


As when we were founded, we couldn't do this strategic planning without your input. That's why, over the next month, we're hosting a Listening Tour to the North Bay, the East Bay, San Francisco and the South Bay. In attendance will be executive director Brad Erickson, managing director Dana Harrison and director of field services Dale Albright, as well as our strategic planning consultant. Dates are below. Come be heard. RSVP in two clicks!


North Bay – Monday, August 18

Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley


East Bay – Wednesday, August 20

Berkeley Playhouse, 2640 College Ave., Berkeley


San Francisco – Tuesday, September 2

ACT's Garret Room, 415 Geary St., 5th Floor, SF


South Bay – Wednesday, September 3

Lexus of Stevens Creek, 3333 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose


At all four locations, the event will be as follows:


4-5:30 p.m. – Discussion 1

5:30-6:30 p.m. – Wine and Cheese Reception

6:30-8 p.m. – Discussion 2


(Participants need attend only one of the two discussions; we're hosting the same discussion twice on each day to accommodate different work schedules.)


The discussion will begin with the thought experiment detailed above: If Theatre Bay Area hadn't been created in 1976, and it were up to you to create it today, what would it look like? Then, Brad, Dana and Dale will share parts of our emerging strategic plan (it already looks a lot different from how Brad described it in his executive director's note in the last magazine!) and solicit your expert feedback.


We sincerely hope you'll join us.


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We're Hiring: Membership Assistant/Events and Office Coordinator

Posted By TBA Staff, Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Theatre Bay Area seeks a part-time membership assistant/events and office coordinator to join our downtown San Francisco-based team.

The membership assistant/events and office coordinator is the primary contact in Theatre Bay Area for our various events, for individual membership and for office support duties. The position will be hourly, approximately 18 hours/week (with occasional increase in hours around specific events).



- Serve as primary coordinator of logistics for all Theatre Bay Area events such as the General Auditions, 
Regional Auditions, Annual Conference, Glickman ceremony and community workshops as scheduled. This will include assisting with event planning, marketing and day-of coordinating.

- Assist in individual membership support duties

- Answer phones and provide customer service to members

Maintain membership databases

Provide clerical assistance with filing, data entry, word processing, mailings, etc.

Send membership packets to members

- Maintain stock of Theatre Bay Area publications and process orders

- Serve as office coordinator, which includes acting as primary contact for service vendors, performing basic office maintenance, ordering supplies and attending meetings and taking notes

- Serve as main front desk contact, answering questions, handling cash and processing credit card transaactions

- Other duties as needed




- Ability to be a motivated self-starter

- Excellent oral and written communication skills

- Basic knowledge of clerical procedures and standard office practices

- Working knowledge of computer software (Word, Excel & database software)

- Ability to interact with a variety of people in a courteous and professional manner




- Some knowledge of theatre, theatre administration and fundraising




- Competitive hourly wage with paid vacation and sick time


How to Apply/Contact

Application deadline: August 11. Send your cover letter and resume to Dale Albright at Put "Membership assistant/events and office coordinator application" in your subject line. You can also mail your application to Theatre Bay Area, Attn: Membership Assistant/Events and Office Coordinator, 1119 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103.

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TBA Staffer Hall of Fame: Emily Klein

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Laura Brueckner


TBA is an organization staffed mostly by working theatre artists and journalists, so it's always exciting (and never surprising) when talented staff members go on to achieve great things in the field. And here's one TBA alum who deserves an entry in our Hall of Fame: Dr. Emily B. Klein.

It started with a book. A few weeks ago, TBA's field services director, Dale Albright, received a fat envelope in the mail; when he opened it, out came a handsome hard-cover book titled Sex and War on the American Stage, by someone named Emily B. Klein. Knowing that most normal humans don't geek out over book-length academic studies, I figured it'd been sent by a publisher, and asked if I could have it for my best friend, a drama teacher and classics wonk.

Well, Dale wouldn't give it to me. He explained that Emily had been a membership associate here, and had sent the parcel to him personally; what we were holding in her hands was her very first book—on feminism, militarism and politics in American productions of Lysistrata. Gorgeous!

But it was when we opened the book and flipped to the author's "Acknowledgements" page that our jaws really dropped. Here's what Emily had written:

"In my long list of thank yous, it seems only right to begin with this project's true starting point, at Theatre Bay Area in San Francisco, 2003. I am grateful to my friend and then-boss, Dale Albright, for sympathetically looking the other way more than once while I quietly slipped out of the office to watch the anti-war rallies on Market Street. January, February, and March of that year were rife with downtown protests and street theatre as the US's invasion of Iraq grew increasingly imminent. In those months, between running in and out of the Flood Building among police officers in riot gear and groups of chanting picketers, I heard artists excitedly plan for The Lysistrata Project. The whole world seemed to be thinking about public performance and acts of resistance. For the first time, I could feel theatre's danger and its power."

It's easy to take it for granted that the Bay Area is an exciting place to be, artistically and politically. Emily had clearly not taken it for granted. Instead, she was struck by what she was seeing all around her—apparently while on breaks from TBA!—and followed where her intellectual curiosity led. And since she's recently moved back to the Bay Area, perhaps another book is on its way! 

Congratulations on publishing your book, Emily—and welcome home!

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