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Your membership includes Aurora performances every month, even while our stages are dark. In March we'll present a live reading for Ai Aida's new play, Deirdre the Queer Queen.
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A Benefit Virtual Reading Zoom
Saturday, June 5, 2021 | 5 PM PST
By Cleavon Smith
Directed by Dawn Monique Williams
Award-winning playwright Cleavon Smith (The Flats, an Aurora audio drama) was named Aurora’s Originate+Generate 2021 commissioned artist. In Smith’s world premiere play, Thomas, a highly regarded public intellectual and author, is brought to the University of California at Berkeley campus to help facilitate conversations concerning extrajudicial police violence. A member of the UCB Black Student Union was violently beaten by an officer while peacefully protesting and the students find themselves rejecting Thomas’ middle-ground, #NotAllCops rhetoric. Miriam and Raz, leaders of the BSU, want immediate action, radical reform, and are sick-and-tired of having to rely on a corrupt system for justice. Nina, the Vice Chancellor of the University, is caught between the demands of the students to shut Thomas down, and loyalty to Thomas, her dearest friend from graduate school.
Dawn Monique Williams, Associate Artistic Director, joined the Aurora team in August 2019. A native of Oakland, CA, Dawn was previously the Artistic Associate at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where she directed Merry Wives of Windsor in 2017. Her recent directing credits include Aurora’s Bull in a China Shop, Earthrise at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, TiJean and His Brothers, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Secretaries (Willamette Week’s Top 10 Portland Theatre Productions of 2018), Romeo & Juliet, August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, and Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Stark. She’s directed a range of plays including the English language premiere of Gracia Morales’ NN12, Othello, Twelfth Night, In the Blood, Steel Magnolias, Children of Eden, The 25th Annual Spelling Bee, Little Shop of Horrors, Burial at Thebes, Medea, Antigone Project, and La Ronde; international directing credits include Edinburgh Festival Fringe productions of Scapin the Cheat, Anna Bella Eema, and The Tempest. Dawn was a 2016 Princess Grace Theatre Fellowship recipient, was awarded a TCG Leadership U residency grant, funded by the Mellon Foundation, and was a former Killian Directing Fellow at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is an alum of the Drama League Directors Project and holds an MA in Dramatic Literature and an MFA in Directing. Dawn is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.SDC.
|Cleavon Smith is an award-winning playwright who has recently been recognized as a playwright to watch in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives. The upcoming premiere of The Flats is his first project with Aurora Theatre Company. As Playwright in Residence at Berkeley’s reputable TheatreFIRST (T1) for the past three years, he has written and produced five new works. T1’s production of his critically acclaimed full-length work, The Last Sermon of Sister Imani was nominated for a 2018 Theatre Bay Area (TBA) Best Production award, and his short play Just One Day was included in T1’s TBA Best Anthology award-winning production Between Us. Also premiering this fall is Affinity, a mini-series of short videos filmed via Zoom and produced by TheatreFIRST. Additionally in 2020 Cleavon has had a multitude of short plays produced and/or read by theatres in Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. Cleavon teaches English at Berkeley City College and in the winter will be working on new commissions for the Aurora Theatre Company, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, and Oakland’s renowned Skyline High School Drama Department.|
Deirdre the Queer Queen
By Ai Aida
Presented by The Holy Fools
LIVE reading Saturday, March 20, 2021 | 5 PM PST
Deirdre, best-known by the epithet “Deirdre of the Sorrows,” is the foremost tragic heroine in Irish mythology, committing suicide to escape a forced marriage to the old King Conchobar. Weaving together Irish, Greek, and Japanese mythology, Ai’s play Deirdre the Queer Queen, begins where history had the story end. The now-dead Deidre arrives in the Underworld and encounters other tragic mythological women, who have also been victims of misogynistic ideology: Izanami, the Goddess of Death; Eurydice, an oak nymph and Orpheus’ wife; and Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld and Hades’ wife, are all there, having been abandoned and imprisoned by their husbands. A story about friendship, self-determination, and defying gender roles as these goddess-wives tell their own stories of rage, pain, and humiliation as they resist and rise above their ill-starred destinies.
|Holy Fools is a theatre collective in residence at Laney College under the leadership of Michael Torres. As inspired by Barbara Hammond’s play, We Are Pussy Riot Or Everything Is P.R. our troupe or The Holy Fools, comes from the Orthodox tradition of saints who, in the Russian hymn, strive “with imaginary insanity to reveal the insanity of the world.” We are a diverse group of mostly young Oakland-based artists striving to make our space, honing our craft, creating theatre rooted in our multiethnic, multiracial, cross- economical experiences in the Bay Area.|
Colonialism is terrible, but pho is delicious
A Virtual Reading
LIVE reading Saturday, February 13, 2021 | 5 PM PST
Dustin Chinn’s Colonialism is Terrible, But Pho is Delicious took its inspiration from two viral incidents around cultural appropriation and food. [Chef Tyler Akin did a how-to video for Bon Appetit, "PSA: This is How You Should Be Eating Pho," and Dan Pashman of The Sporkful suggested you could improve bibimbap using a bundt pan.] Chinn says he “followed the rabbit hole” and wrote Colonialism; what he dubs “a triptych about the ownership and authorship of food following the journey of Vietnamese noodle soup.” This dark comedy spans centuries, continents, and cultures in its three-part vignette structure. Beginning in 1880s Hanoi, the capital city of 19th-century French Indochina, where a Vietnamese cook finds herself in the kitchen of aristocratic French settlers. Then 1999, a century later, in Ho Chi Minh City, where American diners get their first taste of the local cuisine. Then finally, a present day, gentrifying Brooklyn, where the simmering argument around culture, ownership, and authenticity come to a roaring boil.
|Dustin Chinn (Playwright) is a Seattle native whose plays include Snowflakes, Or Rare White People, I Am Nakamura, The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Commission Herschel: Portrait Of A Killer and Let’s Ninja Science Ranger Team Get! He has developed work at the Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep Summer Residency Lab, A.C.T.’s New Strands Festival, the University of Washington via a Mellon Creative Fellowship, SPACE on Ryder Farm, UMass at Amherst New Play Lab and Vampire Cowboys. He has also written for the 52nd Street Project. Dustin is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group and Ma-Yi Writers Lab. BA: Cornell University.
|Oanh Nguyen (Director) has been serving as Chance Theater’s founding Artistic Director since 1999. Oanh is a recipient of TCG’s New Generations Grant and the TCG Nathan Cummings Young Leaders of Color Fellowship. He was awarded the Outstanding Artist Award by Arts Orange County, profiled in Orange County Register’s “Most Influential People” series and OC Weekly’s People Issue, inducted into Anaheim High School’s Hall of Fame and was a commencement speaker for Chapman University College of Performing Arts. Oanh was Producing Associate at South Coast Repertory for three years. He also served on the advisory board of the Anaheim High School Performing Arts Conservatory, the board of Network of Ensemble Theatres, LA’s 99-seat Transitional Committee, and OC Theatre Guild, as well as panels and committees for Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Alternative Theatre Los Angeles, National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group. Oanh is a proud member of SDC and SAG-AFTRA. His directing credits include productions at Chance Theater, East West Players, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, South Coast Repertory, Chapman University, Azusa Pacific University, AMDA, CSU Fullerton, and served as the Associate Director for the international tour of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish (Berkeley Repertory, South Coast Repertory, Hong Kong Arts Festival).
Celeste Den starred in the Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly directed by Julie Taymor and the Broadway International tour of his Chinglish directed by Leigh Silverman in the U.S. and Hong Kong. International credits include the world premieres of Frances Cowhig’s The King of Hell’s Palace at Hampstead Theatre and Jung Chang’s Wild Swans at Young Vic in London. Regionally she has performed at OSF, Berkeley Rep, A.R.T., Goodman Theatre, South Coast Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Baltimore Center Stage among others. Recent film and TV credits include Made for Love, WHAT/IF, 9-1-1, The Blacklist, and the upcoming Music, written and directed by Sia. Kong. International credits include the world premieres of Frances Cowhig’s The King of Hell’s Palace at Hampstead Theatre and Jung Chang’s Wild Swans at Young Vic in London. Regionally she has performed at OSF, Berkeley Rep, A.R.T., Goodman Theatre, South Coast Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Baltimore Center Stage among others. Recent film and TV credits includeMade for Love, WHAT/IF, 9-1-1, The Blacklist, and the upcoming Music, written and directed by Sia.
Elissa Beth Stebbins is a Bay Area actor, teaching artist, and theatre maker, seen most recently in “This is Not Moose & Tweety,” as part of the Playground Innovator Incubator Showcase. Recent credits include Becky Nurse, and Watch Me (Berkeley Rep), Kings, Kiss, The Village Bike, and Caught (Shotgun Players), In Braunau (San Francisco Playhouse Sandbox Series), Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. and You For Me For You (Crowded Fire Theatre), The Little Prince (Marin Theater Company), and Minneola Twins (Cutting Ball), among others. Elissa graduated from Santa Clara University, and continued training with Shakespeare and Company, and Atelier Matteo Destro.
Trieu Tran is a stage, screen and television actor. Born in Vietnam, immigrated to Canada and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. He has dual citizenship with Canada and USA. He has appeared in numerous theatrical productions through the years. Notably, the role of Alan Strang in Equus (LADCC Nomination) with George Takei @EWP, the title role in Oedipus The King (Portland), The Legacy Codes (Dean Goodman Award) with TheatreWorks. Other favorites include: Rashomon, As You Like It, Merchant of Venice, Henry IV Part One (Hotspur), and the title role in Richard III. Film: Tropic Thunder, Trade of Innocents, How High, Hancock, Desperation, Last Call. TV: Currently a series regular on Netflix’s Altered Carbon portraying the role of the fixer Mister Leung. Others include: The Newsroom, Intruders, Men At Work, Quickdraw (Hulu), Malcolm in the Middle. Uncle Ho To Uncle Sam is his first solo play written with co-author Robert Egan. Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam was first developed at the Ojai Playwrights Conference in 2011. It had its world premiere for Seattle ACT in Fall 2012 (Seattle Times Footlight Award/Gypsy Rose Nomination). Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam also had a run at The Kirk Douglas Theatre, Shakespeare Orange County, PlayMakers Rep (North Carolina).
Trieu is an avid practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Mixed Martial Arts and Boston Redsox fanatic. A lover of Boston Terriers, especially his best friend Captain.
Joseph Patrick O'Malley is a member of Actor's Equity and SAG-AFTRA, having most recently appeared on stage in Cal Shakes' Macbeth, Marin Shakespeare Co.'s Spamalot! and Aurora Theatre Co.'s Creditors, as well as Magic Theatre's Virgin Play Festival (Joshua Harmon's Prayer for the French Republic). During COVID-19, in Playground's Best of Playground - Zoom Fest, as a motion capture artist for 2k Studios/Take-Two Interactive and an independent content creator for Wish. He holds an MFA in Acting from USC and a BA in Theatre Arts from Santa Clara University. His film brief. was an official selection of the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival and is available on Vimeo.
Virtual Magic Show
Saturday, December 4, 2020 | 7 PM PST
Travel to the foggy outskirts of San Francisco as magician and Aurora Cabaret veteran Christian Cagigal ("one of the Bay Area's artistic treasures" – SF Chronicle) invites you to an intimate evening of spells, stories, and strange happenings. Christian will reach through time and cyberspace to bring his humor and dark mysteries into your home. In Sortilegios – the Spanish word for spells and charms – the magic won’t only happen on your screen, it will happen in your minds and in your own hands! Join people from across the country as you enter Christian's enigmatic and interactive world.
Single tickets to Sortilegios available here
A first-generation American of Spanish and Salvadoran descent, Christian Cagigal splits his time between San Francisco and New York City: Magician at Speakeasy Magick at the McKittrick Hotel in NYC, Co-Producer for Odd Salon NYC, Owner of the San Francisco Ghost Hunt, and Co-Founder of Fog City Magic Fest. Cagigal has twice been named a Finalist for the Theatre Bay Area Award for Best Solo Performer, recipient of a Mastermind Award by the SF Weekly, and five-time winner of the Best Magician of the Bay Award by the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Tell Tale Hearts
An Evening of Hip Hop Theatre Featuring Carlos Aguirre and The Bay Area Theatre Cypher
Saturday, November 28, 2020 | 7 PM PST
Single tickets to Tell Tale Hearts available here
|TELL TALE HEARTS
The Bay Area Theatre Cypher and Carlos Aguirre return to Aurora for the final iteration of TELL TALE HEARTS: An Evening of Hip Hop Theatre. Featuring an eclectic mixture of actors, rappers, poets, and hip hop theatre artists of all descriptions, the Bay Area Theatre Cypher is a freestyle rap collective joined on Aurora's virtual stage by Carlos Aguirre (AKA Infinite) for an evening of intelligent, politically-conscious, locally-sourced, community-minded rap, slam poetry, beatboxing, and hip-hop theatre. The performance will feature Aguirre's rap and beatbox adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart along with a unique blend of improvised freestyle rap and original compositions. Aurora Theatre Company is thrilled to present this performance that takes its stand at the crossroads of theatre, hip-hop, and community.
|Carlos Aguirre A.K.A. INFINITE (actor, musician, vocal percussionist, educator), has been performing both as an actor and hip hop artist in the Bay Area for over 19 years. He has shared the stage with The Roots, Erykah Badu, Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Jam Master Jay, L.L. Cool J, Macy Gray and George Clinton among others. He his currently producing his original rap and beatbox adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart. Carlos shares his experience by teaching at various schools and at-risk environments throughout the Bay Area.|
|Dan Wolf is a rapper, playwright, director, actor, and teacher. His work crosses artistic and cultural borders to combine theatrical performance with the themes, language, music, history, politics, and aesthetics reflected in the hip hop generation. He recently featured on the Undercover Presents tribute album to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauders.” As part of the Resident Playwrights Initiative at the Playwright Foundation, Wolf is developing Curren$y - a theatrical rap show inspired by Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. As the Artistic Director of Sound in the Silence, Wolf works with an international group of partners, artists, students, and participants to create immersive performance experiences at locations such as memorial sites and community centers.|
|Phil Wong is an actor, director, comedian, musician, teaching artist, and rapper born and raised in the Bay Area. He’s a resident artist with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and his influences range from MF DOOM to Guo Maoqian, Slim Shady to Stephen Sondheim. Wong’s recent stage credits include Cutting Ball Theatre, Shotgun Players, Word for Word, Killing My Lobster, Ray of Light, and TheatreWorks.|
A Virtual Reading
LIVE Saturday, November 14, 2020 | 5 PM PST
Two actors play both pairs of lovers in this structurally inventive play that asks how our relationships with our parents and children impact our romantic lives. In parallel stories told 23 years apart, Baldwin is Miranda’s 30-year-old divorced father who is trying to forge a new relationship with a beguiling woman, and Miranda is Baldwin’s 30-year-old daughter, who has found herself in her first serious relationship. What can we learn from the relationships we choose in order to repair the relationships we inherit? Written by Kait Kerrigan and directed by M. Graham Smith.
Poster artwork by Elizabeth Lada.
|Kait Kerrigan (Playwright)
Kait Kerrigan is a playwright, lyricist, and bookwriter. Off-Broadway: The Mad Ones, Henry and the Mudge, and Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Friends. Her work has been developed and performed internationally. Her plays include Disaster Relief, Imaginary Love, Transit, and We Have to Hold Hands. Other musicals include Republic, Unbound, and The Bad Years, an immersive house party. Awards, fellowships, and residencies include the Kleban, Larson, Dramatists Guild Fellowship, I-73 Writer’s Group, Lark Playwright’s Week and Winter Retreat, and MacDowell. Kerrigan is an alumna of Barnard College, and a member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and founding member of NewMusicalTheatre.com. For more information, visit www.kerrigan-lowdermilk.com.
|M. Graham Smith (Director)
M. Graham Smith is a San Francisco-based Director, Educator and Producer. He has been an O’Neill/NNPN National Directing Fellow, Oregon Shakespeare Festival FAIR Fellow and is a proud Resident Artist at SF’s Crowded Fire. He grew up outside of New York City and has been based in San Francisco for the last fourteen years. He’s directed in New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland Oregon, Washington DC, and venues in San Francisco. He directed the West Coast Premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera in SF and Truffaldino Says No at Shotgun Players, winning Best Director for the Bay Area Critics Circle. Recent credits include the World Premiere of Obie winner Christopher Chen’s Home Invasion in SF, Deal with the Dragon at ACT’s Costume Shop & Edinburgh Fringe, Mia Chung’s You for Me for You at Crowded Fire, and James Ijames’ WHITE at Shotgun. He spent five years as Producer of Aurora Theatre’s new play development program and festival The Global Age Project. He teaches in A.C.T.'s actor-training programs, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre and at Barcelona’s premiere Meisner Technique program in Spain. You can visit him online at www.MGrahamSmith.com
|William Thomas Hodgson (Baldwin/Louis) is a acting company member at the Oregon Shakespeare Company where he has played: Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream; Malcolm, Macbeth; Stokes, How to Catch Creation; Romeo, Romeo and Juliet; Dumain, Love’s Labor’s Lost. Locally, his work has been seen at a number of theatres: Dr. Fowler Greenhill in It Can’t Happen Here (Berkeley Rep); Silvius in As You Like It (California Shakespeare Theater); James Hemmings in Thomas and Sally (Marin Theatre Company), Charlotte in I Am My Own Wife (Ubuntu Theater Project); Eamon Jameson in Calligraphy (TheatreWorks); Cat in the Hat in Seussical the Musical (Berkeley Playhouse). HIs regional credits include: BJJ in An Octoroon (Mixed Blood); Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (La Jolla Playhouse), El Jonny in El Henry (La Jolla Playhouse/San Diego Repertory Theatre); Puck (understudy) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (PCPA); Bart Simpson in Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play (UCSD); Louis in Angels in America (Santa Fe University of Art and Design). William is the Co-Founder of Ubuntu Theater Project, and was awarded the BroadwayWorld Award for Best Actor and a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and Outstanding Direction. He has an MFA in Acting from UCSD and has trained SFUAD and PCPA.
|Jeunée Simon (Risa/Miranda) has worked with Central Works Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Conservatory Theater Company, TheatreFIRST and more amazing theaters in the San Francisco Bay Area. Simon is a proud recipient of the 2017 RHE Artistic Fellowship. She is a believer in the collaborative nature of original plays and has been honored to be part of the new and emerging work being developed in the Bay Area. Jeunée is a graduate of Stanford University's drama program. Her family hails from Guyana and immigrated to the US when she was 4 years old.|