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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 

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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Toast the Toast of the Town at the TBACon Closing Reception!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, April 7, 2015

By TBA Staff

This year's Annual Conference will close with a very special plenary session, where Theatre Bay Area will be delighted to present two prestigious awards to members of our creative community: the Glickman Award and the RHE Fellowship. And then there will be wine!

The Will Glickman Award for Best Play to Premiere in the Bay Area in 2014, will be presented to playwright (and Bay Area native) Marcus Gardley, for his stirring drama The House that will not Stand. The Glickman award comes with a $4,000 prize, and garners national recognition in the field. Berkeley Repertory Theatre, which produced the world premiere production, will receive the affiliated Horty Glickman Award.



TBA, in partnership with the RHE Foundation, will also be applauding actor Sarah Moser, recipient of the 2015 RHE Fellowship. The fellowship, which comes with a $10,000 grant and a year's worth of professional mentoring, is designed to make a significant investment in an individual artist that allows for learning and experimentation, and enables them to focus on specific areas of learning they otherwise might not have the opportunity to explore.


Directly following the closing plenary, you can toast these talented artists and our community at the complimentary wine reception! We'll close the conference day by gathering for light refreshments and camaraderie in the upstairs Roda lobby.

Go to main TBACon information page

Register for TBACon today!


Tags:  #tbacon15  Annual Conference  Glickman Award  playwright  RHE Fellowship 

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Featured Member: J Jha

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2015
That smile alone would be reason enough to make actor J Jha our latest featured member, but J has also been wonderfully involved with Theatre Bay Area over the last year, from attending our strategic-planning listening tour to auditioning (and volunteering!) at the General Auditions. J's a wonderful supporter on and off stage, and a good person to have on your radar!

TBA Featured Member J Jha.

Tell us a little about your theatre work.

I am a 2014 graduate of The University of Washington's Professional Actor Training Program (MFA). I left New Delhi, India for Seattle, Washington in 2011 to start this new life-journey in the arts from a post-MBA career spanning hospitality, wellness, advertising and consulting, and I relocated to the Bay Area last year.


India is a land of stories—growing up as a kid I was fascinated by the stories of goddesses and their mortal conflicts, kings and their acts of selflessness, of duty, devotion and demons—and almost all of them taught us about the karmic book-keeping. So the theatrical was imbibed early.

The desire to stay away from group singing and dancing on cliffs in the middle of a chase sequence while the hero's mother hangs in balance from a rope tied to the saddle of the loyal and extremely intelligent family horse is what brought me to America to learn acting.

The UW program offers three-year conservatory training imbibing Alexander, Suzuki and Viewpoints, clown, stage & camera, teaching, and entrepreneurship, alongside the fundamentals of voice, speech, Shakespeare and lots of playing.

What's one of your favorite shows that you've worked on? 

I am still biased to my very first play in America, a 2012 Winter quarter class studio project—Stephen Adley Guirgis' Motherf**ker with the Hat. Ralph in that play, and Iago—who I played with Montana Shakespeare in 2012—are the kind of characters I am attracted to because they reflect the true shades of gray that humanity is. 

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

The Bay has so much color, in terms of performance styles, diversity and ethnicity, business models and audience demographics, training and ensemble work, history and activism, leadership and vision for the relevance of theatre in this age of media profligacy—but all of this is centered around the core philosophy: for, of and by community. And that's what made me move here over Los Angeles, New York, or any other "if you are an actor, shouldn't you be in (fill in the blank)?" city.  

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

A community is only as rich as it is most generous. So give as much as you can, because it helps and always comes back to you. Volunteer, usher, house manage, hand out pamphlets at street fairs, post/blog/tweet/snapchat/instagram/or whatever was invented 20 seconds ago: do that. And let's share. We must tell stories about the good stories that we see—shout it out, even—because then more of that work will happen (Thank you TBA for helping us out here).

Anything coming up soon that you're excited about?

I am really excited about my work with Theatre of Yugen, under the direction of their new artistic director Tanroh Ishida. The Genji State aims to be the marriage of Japanese theatre and immersive theatre and will be showcased as part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival at Fort Mason in May/June 2015. 


Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community. 

Tags:  Featured Member  MFA  PATP  Theatre of Yugen 

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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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TBA's Talent Bank - Jump on It!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Updated: Friday, April 3, 2015

By TBA Staff



When TBA launched its new website last February, one of the components that even we found confusing was the new Talent Bank (we had to write nine FAQ articles just to help folks use it!). 

After several months (plus some energetic and candid phone calls with the web vendor), the Talent Bank now has top-notch functionality—and, according to our recent member survey, is the number-one tool used by Bay Area theatre-makers looking to cast actors

By now, you're no doubt thinking, "Egad! How can I plug my headshot and resume into this amazing wonder of technology, so that I can show up in talent searches?" The answer is: bring it. On a jump drive, that is. 


Photo: "Jump Drive" by user Matt on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license. 

At this year's Annual Conference, staffers at the TBA table will be available to walk you through the steps of posting your resume and headshot to the ever-growing Talent Bank. All you have to do is bring a USB-compatible drive containing digital versions of your resume and headshot. 

Is this simple? Yes. Is inclusion in the Talent Bank a benefit of your individual membership? Yes. Do you want to jump-start your acting career? If the answer is yes, then bring it—and jump on the Talent Bank!


See you at the conference!


Register for the Annual Conference today!

Remember to Tweet and follow #TBACon15!

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Gender Parity Events at the 2015 TBA Conference

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Bay Area theatre community is leading the way on the important issue of gender parity, both onstage and off, thanks to proactive theatre-makers and awareness-raising groups like "Yeah, I Said Feminist," Counting Actors, and the TBA Gender Parity Advisory Committee.

The 2015 TBA Annual Conference is delighted to host a number of gender parity-related events for all theatre-makers who want to know more about this movement and how it's transforming Bay Area theatre.



Photo: "Bildung für Alle" by rosmary on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.



Gender Parity Events at the 2015 TBA Conference



Who's Got Next? – Gender and the Season Planning Process

Time: 10:45 a.m.-11:45 p.m.
Type: Breakout session (roundtable)
Location: Bakery Room, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre


Moderator: Christine Young (Professor, University of San Francisco)
Confirmed panelists: Patrick Dooley, artistic director; Liz Lisle, managing director; Joanie McBrien, development director; Fontana Butterfield, actor

In this roundtable discussion, Shotgun Players' artistic leaders and company members will reflect on the process of planning their 2015 all-female playwrights season and will consider how their company values and season-planning methods have been transformed. 


Equal Opportunity Obstacles Overcome – Successful Strategies

Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Type: Breakout session (roundtable)
Location: Bakery Room, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre

Moderator: Rebecca Ennals (Artistic director, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

This roundtable discussion will feature artistic leaders sharing their successful strategies for diversifying audiences, overcoming casting obstacles, and integrating artistic and social values in the season planning process. 

Negotiation for the Individual Artist

Time: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Type: Lunchtime session (informal discussion)
Location: Bakery Room, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre


Velina Brown (Actor, Theatre Bay Area columnist and career consultant, The Business of Show Biz)
Valerie Weak (Actor and creator of the Counting Actors Project

Bring your lunch and talk with fellow artists about negotiation, a crucial part of securing work. Whether it's financial compensation, scheduling, childcare or something else entirely, individual artists have the opportunity to negotiate as part of accepting any role, job, or gig. We'll share stories about successes and challenges, and offer peer support to those with upcoming negotiations.


While everyone is welcome to attend, we recognize that women may face unique challenges relating to confidence and negotiation which we hope to address as part of this session.

See you at the Annual Conference! Registration is open now!

Remember to tweet #TBACon15! 


Tags:  #tbacon15  advocacy  casting  Gender Parity 

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Special Guests at 2015 Annual Conference: Tijuana Hace Teatro

Posted By TBA Staff, Friday, March 20, 2015


Exciting conference news! Joining us for our opening plenary session will be very special guests Jesús Quintero and Ramón Verdugo, founding codirectors of Tijuana Hace Teatro (Tijuana Makes Theatre).


Jesús Quintero and Ramón Verdugo, founding codirectors of Tijuana Hace Teatro. Photo: El Sol de Tijuana


Part theatre collective producing provocative new plays, part innovative theatre service organization, THT describes itself as a movement to unite the people of Tijuana with the power of theatre. Founded in 2007, THT has emerged as a cultural force on the southern side of our border, now bringing its Escuela de Espectadores (School for Audiences) across the international frontier. Quintero and Verdugo, darlings of last summer's TCG Conference in San Diego, will share their insights and their passion for connecting people with great theatre. 


Register for the 2015 TBA Conference now to see these special guests!


2015 TBA Annual Conference main information page 



Tags:  #tbacon15  audience development 

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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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Resource Expo at TBA Annual Conference

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Updated: Monday, March 9, 2015


The TBA Annual Conference is right around the corner, and it's going to be great! United under the theme (and the increasingly clear imperative to) "Be the Change" are panels and roundtables on topics for every role in theatre—onstage or offstage—a Playwright's Cabaret of new short works, and now—a Resource Expo!


Photo: "Clock - Success" by Flazingo Photos ( on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.   

The Resource Expo is going to be a space packed with people and organizations who help theatre-makers boost their careers. Does this describe you? Sign up for a table in the Resource Expo!

Space is now available for anyone who provides career-related services to theatre artists, including:

• audition coaches 

• career advisors

• headshot photographers

• voice and movement teachers

• website designers well as representatives of actor training programs, circus arts programs, graduate programs, internship programs, improv groups, and organizations offering playwright opportunities!

New! TBA has relocated our conference food depot inside the Resource Expo to ensure friendly mingling. Full and half resource tables are available here in our online store



Contact conference contact Kimberley Cohan

Tags:  #tbacon15  Acting  Actor Training Guide  arts education  Auditions  casting director 

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