Our collective changes with each project; We Players’ focus on the history and themes relevant to a site attracts performers and project collaborators with specific interests and skills. We are so thankful to explore our local treasures with all of you! Collaborator bios can be found under each of our project pages. If you’d like to play with WE, check out staff and intern opportunities associated with our current projects.
Our 2013 Board
Ava Roy / Founding Artistic Director
Since founding We Players in 2000, Ava Roy has served the company as director/producer and as a performer. As an actor, Ava has trained primarily with Shakespeare & Company of Massachusetts, has taught in their youth education programs, and performed with the company. She is an alumna of Stanford University where she earned her BA in a self-designed major: Ritual and Performance in Aesthetic Education, 2003. Since 2008, Ava has pioneered unique partnerships with both the National Park Service and the California State Park system, creating large-scale performances at park sites throughout the Bay Area. Her unique style of interactive, site-integrated performance aims to highlight the historical and natural treasures of the local landscape and encourage new ways of experiencing and appreciating these places. Her work is inspired by the entrenched themes and stories of each site, and strives to include the communities connected to the space those affected by the issues embedded therein. In addition to her performance work, Ava is a yoga teacher and avid sailor.
Lauren Dietrich Chavez / Managing Director
Lauren stumbled across the path of We Players 1st show and has been working and playing with the company since 2001. She is a healer, committed to developing regenerative resources, resilient communities, and rich culture, while facilitating individual health and the expansion of awareness. Lauren has a BA in Architecture and Urban Design, with a dance minor, and a MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, both from Stanford University. She has professional green building and permaculture design credentials, and presently practices bodywork/massage and teaches nature awareness programs, in addition to growing We Players into a thriving non-profit arts institution. Lauren loves connecting with the gorgeous environment and engaging the layered history and creative people of the Bay Area through We Players‘ unique process of outreach, engagement, and performance. She currently focuses her efforts on community outreach, education, partnership development, and company administration, and looks forward to the days when she’ll have more time to dance.
Patrick Gillespie / Visual Arts Director
Patrick is an accomplished museum professional with experience in exhibition planning and installation management, including capital exhibitions and rotations of permanent collections. He is attuned to specific challenges within Fine Arts organizations with demonstrated experience in annual budget projection, exhibition budget management, interdepartmental scheduling, and installation-based assessment and analysis. Patrick’s 10 years of experience in carpentry, metal fabrications, light rigging, and finish work and his years of experience teaching and studying across cultures in different regions of the world (including the Canadian Arctic, China, the Middle East) make him a tremendous asset to We Players. Patrick is an excellent communicator and an outstanding three dimensional thinker with the ability to maintain project scope and monitor details throughout successful exhibit completion. Patrick currently works as the Chief Preparator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Charlie Gurke / Music Director
Charlie Gurke is a professional saxophonist and composer with extensive experience in jazz, latin, classical, avant-garde, and more. He has been an active member of the San Francisco Bay Area’s music scene for over 15 years and has collaborated with film, theater, dance, and poetry both at home and abroad. Charlie started his musical career in his teens, playing with salsa, jazz, and other ensembles around San Francisco and Northern California. During this time Charlie attended San Francisco’s School of the Arts, studying jazz and latin music with Wayne Wallace and Melecio Magdaluyo, as well as participating in UC Berkeley’s Young Musician’s Program, studying with Dan Zinn and Jack Perla, among others. Charlie moved to New York to attend the New School, where he studied with renowned saxophonists George Garzone and Billy Harper. Upon returning to California, Charlie continued to freelance with jazz and salsa groups, soon becoming one of the most in-demand bari sax players in the area, performing regularly with the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Realistic Orchestra and other Jazz Mafia projects, Mitch Marcus Quintet+13, and numerous freelance salsa and jazz gigs, as well as regular freelance recording with artists such as Omar Sosa, Chow Nasty, The Mother Hips, producer Greg Landau, and many more. In 2007 Charlie completed a Bachelors of Music at CSUEB, where he studied composition with Dave Eshelman and Rafael Hernandez. In 2008 Charlie accepted a graduate teaching fellowship at the University of Oregon, and in 2011 received a Masters degree in Jazz Studies. Now back in the San Francisco Bay Area, Charlie is teaching at Laney College and San Francisco’s School of the Arts, performing regularly around the area, and serving as music director for We Players theatre company.
John Hadden / Associate Artist
John Hadden is the artistic director of the Hubbard Hall Theater Company, in Cambridge, NY, where he recently played Salieri in Amadeus. Plays he has directed there include Hadrian VII, The Madwoman of Chaillot and The Night of the Iguana. He has worked happily and adventurously for almost forty years in all aspects of theater life here and abroad. He was a founding member of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA where he acted, taught and directed for twenty years; he was the co-founder and artistic director of Counterpoint Theater in Boston. He has a playwriting MFA from Goddard College; his plays and films have won awards and have been published, work-shopped and performed regionally and in NYC at LaMaMa ETC, PS 122 and the Ensemble Studio Theater. He lives in Vermont where he works frequently as a teaching artist in the public schools. He is pleased as punch to be working with We Players as an Associate Artist.