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TBA Online: News & Features: November 2015

Theatre News: November 5, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015   (0 Comments)
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Bay Area Theatre News

• TBA Meets the President
• ACT Halloween Gala Nets $130K
• Bay Area Actor Reggie White Named a 2015 Fox Fellow
• Berkeley Rep “Eclipsed” by Broadway
• BAPF Script Submission Deadline is Nov. 7
• MTC Provides Free Childcare at Nov. 7 “Moms Matinee”

State/National Theatre News

• TCG Publishes Theatre Facts 2014
• NET/TEN Exchange Grant Application Deadline Nov. 9

International Theatre News

• Celebrate International #LoveTheatreDay Nov. 18
• New Ellen Stewart International Award Accepting Applicants

TBA executive director Brad Erickson attended an event welcoming the President and First Lady of Ireland, Michael D. and Sabina Higgins, to the Bay Area. In attendance, from L to R: San Francisco director of cultural affairs Tom DeCaigny; American Conservatory Theater artistic director Carey Perloff; founder and artistic director of Lines Ballet, Alonzo King; codirector of the Crossroads Irish-American Festival, Hillary Flynn; executive director of the Museum of African Diaspora, Linda Harrison; San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia; President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; First Lady of Ireland, Sabina Higgins; executive director of the Community Arts Stabilization Trust, Moy Eng; executive director of Theatre Bay Area, Brad Erickson and director of Grants for the Arts/SF Hotel Tax Fund, Kary Schulman. Photo: Courtesy of the San Francisco Arts Commission


Bay Area Theatre News

TBA Meets the President
Last week, Theatre Bay Area executive director Brad Erickson represented TBA membership at a special luncheon bringing together Bay Area arts leaders to meet with visiting President Michael D. Higgins and First Lady Sabina Higgins of Ireland. The pair has long championed the arts; a published poet and author himself, President Higgins also served as Ireland’s minister of culture prior to attaining his current office, while the First Lady is a former stage actress, as well as cofounder of both the Stanislavski Studio in Dublin and the influential Focus Theatre. The purpose of the gathering was to acquaint President Higgins with the Bay Area’s arts and culture community, both its achievements and its challenges.

ACT Halloween Gala Nets $130K
Ahead of the wave of holiday fundraising events that soaks the Bay Area each winter, American Conservatory Theater (ACT) held a costumed Halloween gala last week that netted the company $130,000 for actor training scholarships. Hosted by event chairs Holly and Chris Hollenbeck, the event included a cocktail reception and cabaret performances by actors in ACT’s MFA acting program, followed by an after-party with drinks, dessert and dancing. Tickets ranged from $150 to $750 each, with the top tiers including a separate, VIP-only after-party; complimentary ACT costume rental; valet parking; and a trick-or-treat gift bag.

Bay Area Actor Reggie White Named a 2015 Fox Fellow
Theatre Communications Group (TCG) in partnership with the William & Eva Fox Foundation, has announced the recipients of its tenth round of Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships, one of whom is Bay Area actor Reggie White.

The Fox Foundation, one of the rare funders that provide direct financial support to individual actors, awards fellowships in two categories: extraordinary potential and distinguished achievement. Recipients of the Fox Actor Fellowship for extraordinary potential include White, who will serve his residency at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, focusing on outreach to teens of color; Obehi Janice at Company One Theatre in Boston and Bi Jean Ngo at Philadelphia’s Lantern Theater Company. Each fellow receives $15,000 each, with up to an additional $10,000 to repay student loans. 

Recipients of the Fox Actor Fellowship for distinguished achievement are Marissa Chibas, Bootleg Theater (Los Angeles) Bobbie Steinbach, Actors’ Shakespeare Project (Somerville, MA) and James Austin Williams, Pillsbury House Theatre (Minneapolis). Each has demonstrated considerable experience in professional theatre with a substantial body of work, and receives $25,000 in awards.

All host theatre companies receive grants of $7,500 in support of these residencies. To learn more about the recipients and their projects, visit

Berkeley Rep “Eclipsed” by Broadway
Berkeley Repertory Theatre recently announced that the company’s artistic director, Tony Taccone, will be stepping in to direct the February 2016 production of Aubergine by Julia Cho, a show previously to be helmed by former Berkeley Rep artistic associate Liesl Tommy—who leaves that production to direct Eclipsed by Danai Gurira (author of the impactful play The Convert, seen at Marin Theatre Company earlier this year) for its recently-announced Broadway transfer to the Public Theater.

BAPF Script Submission Deadline is Nov. 7
The Bay Area has become one of the most important hubs for new plays in the United States. One reason for this is Playwrights Foundation and its annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF)—an event that gives each year’s cohort of selected writers (alumni include Christopher Chen, Lauren Gunderson, Katori Hall and Peter Nachtrieb) two weeks of workshop support for their newest scripts, culminating in public readings that are attended by literary scouts and agents as well as the theatre-loving public. PF maintains an open submissions policy, grants fee waivers for qualifying individuals and actively champions Bay Area playwrights. The organization is currently accepting submissions for BAPF 2016, held next summer; the deadline for submissions is Nov. 7, 2015. Visit

MTC Provides Free Childcare at Nov. 7 “Moms Matinee”
The expense of childcare is an important issue facing the theatre field—not only for theatre-makers, who often work long hours and collect modest paychecks, but for would-be theatre audiences too, who may find that securing childcare to see a show can double the cost of the outing. Marin Theatre Company is addressing this barrier to attendance with a new event it calls a “Moms Matinee”; on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the 2:00 p.m. performance of My Mañana Comes, MTC will partner with nanny app UrbanSitter to offer onsite childcare to ticket holders at no additional cost. While Nov. 7 is the only Moms Matinee scheduled for this particular production, MTC has plans to offer them for future productions. Visit for more information.

State/National Theatre News

TCG Publishes Theatre Facts 2014
This month, Theatre Communications Group released the newest edition of its annual major report, Theatre Facts. Theatre Facts 2014 examines the attendance, performance, and overall financial state of US professional not-for-profit theatres, on a fiscal-year basis that spans Oct. 31, 2013-Sep. 30, 2014. The report presents its findings in three ways: “The Universe” (a broad overview of the estimated 1,770 US professional not-for-profit theatres); “Trend Theatres” (a longitudinal analysis of 118 theatres that have completed the TCG Fiscal Survey each year since 2010); and “Profiled Theatres” (a detailed examination of all 177 theatres that participated in TCG’s Fiscal Survey 2014, with data broken out into six budget categories based on annual expenses).

TCG executive director Teresa Eyring said, “Theatre Facts 2014 gives us hope that theatres have not only weathered the worst of the Great Recession, but made strategically sound decisions along the way to emerge in a stronger financial position. From strengthening relationships with individual donors to diversifying earned income streams, theatres have increased their income and bolstered their bottom lines.” View the full report at

NET/TEN Exchange Grant Application Deadline Nov. 9
Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) is currently accepting “intent to apply” submissions for its next round of nationwide NET/TEN Exchange Grants, which seek to deepen existing relationships between NET member companies and project partners of their choice through shared activity and peer-to-peer learning. Teams apply jointly for grants ranging from $3,000-10,000 to pursue either “artistic or technical/production exploration” or “administrative development/exchange.” The deadline for “intent to apply” submissions is Monday, Nov. 9 at 12:00 p.m. PT/3:00 p.m. ET. Full applications will be available Nov. 16 and are due Wednesday, Dec. 16. at 12:00 p.m. PT/3:00 p.m. ET. For further information, including eligibility requirements, visit or email

International Theatre News

Celebrate International #LoveTheatreDay Nov. 18
Even Twitter curmudgeons have cause to tune in on Wednesday, Nov. 18—the first-ever online, international #LoveTheatreDay. Theatre companies, practitioners and audiences are invited to participate in this 24-hour event, which organizers Twitter UK, CultureThemes and the Guardian Culture Professionals Network hope will present an opportunity for theatres to shout about the great work they do, reach wider audiences and make contacts with other venues and stage companies from across the world.

Local flagship Berkeley Repertory Theatre is the only Bay Area company currently participating in #LoveTheatreDay, and one of only nine companies from the US, including Steppenwolf (Chicago), United States Institute for Theatre Technology (NY) and Roundabout Theatre (NY), which now employs former Berkeley Rep staffer Robert Sweibel. Also participating are companies from Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain and the UK. For a full list, and to find out how you or your company can participate, visit

The event will include three sub-events targeting specific themes: #BackStage, which offers audiences and theatre-makers glimpses into how a production comes together; #AskATheatre, during which theatre aficionados and aspiring actors can ask questions of participating theatre companies, and #Showtime, which (somehow) can seat attendees in a “virtual stall” at a live performance via Twitter. As #LoveTheatreDay is based in the UK, the times listed for these sub-events will be different for Bay Areans; visit to check times and for more information.

New Ellen Stewart International Award Now Accepting Applicants
International Theatre Institute (ITI), La MaMa New York/Italy, and the Spoleto Festival of 2 Worlds have announced the creation of a new award, the Ellen Stewart International Award. Named in memory of the founder of the pioneering La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, the award is intended to recognize a theatre artist or company whose work promotes social change and community participation, especially among young people. Recipients of the award will receive a cash prize, as well as an invitation to participate in ITI’s World Congress, a two-week artistic residency in the summer of 2016 at La MaMa Umbria in Italy to create a new work of performance, and the financial and production support needed to present this new work at the Spoleto Festival of 2 Worlds and La MaMa ETC in New York. Nominations may come from any location in the world; applications (including CV, letters of recommendation and support materials) are due Nov. 30, 2015. Visit for application information.

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