George Heymont has a huge blog post about the San Francisco black box theatre scene that name checks just about every cool theatre group in the Bay Area: Cutting Ball, Exit Theatre, PianoFight, Sleepwalkers Theatre, Bay One Acts Festival, Playwrights Foundation’s Bay Area Playwrights Festival, San Francisco Theatre Pub, Killing My Lobster, Central Works, Aurora Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company, Shotgun Players, Magic Theatre, PlayGround, you name it:
Just as the traditional publishing industry has been upended by blogs, e-books, and new technologies (which are having the same democratizing effect that word-processing programs had 25 years ago), some of the more established theatrical nonprofits are now being challenged by younger, leaner, and more free-wheeling talents. Some of today’s young professionals are highly creative talents whose salaries help to support their artistic efforts as playwrights, actors, and directors. Their use of social media (as well as fundraising tools like Kickstarter) makes it much easier for them to draw people to readings of their work (or stage appearances) than ever before.
Not only is much of today’s creative work being done in black box theatres, there is a thriving community of artists and audiences that see each other throughout the year. Whether one looks at the audiences at PlayGround events in Berkeley or at those attending the San Francisco Olympians Festival, there seems to be a higher percentage of people supporting the creative efforts of friends with whom they party on a regular basis than whatever is being offered by the nonprofit theatre down the street from their office.
That last bit leads into a discussion of A.C.T.’s two new black box theatres on Market Street and how (or whether) it will fit into this already-established scene. Well worth reading!