"Grendel and I are called together, and I've come."

Beowulf 2017 - horizontal logo draft 1.jpg

An exploration of darkness and light, power and conquest, monstrosity and heroism - performed through startling imagery, rich soundscape, and Fervent physicality. 

Directed by Ava Roy and Shinichi Iova-Koga
Created and performed by We Players, Rova Saxophone Quartet, and inkBoat Physical Theatre and Dance

The journey begins at sunset
Thursday - Sunday, March 11 - April 16, 2017
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

+ Click here for Performance Schedule

Saturday, March 11
Sunday, March 12

Opening Weekend:
Saturday, March 18
Sunday, March 19

Second Weekend:
Thursday, March 23
Friday, March 24
Saturday, March 25
Sunday, March 26

Third Weekend:
Thursday, March 30
Friday, March 31
Saturday, April 1
Sunday, April 2

Fourth Weekend:
Thursday, April 6
Friday, April 7
Saturday, April 8
Sunday, April 9

Closing Weekend:
Saturday, April 15
Sunday, April 16

Travel on foot through lands real and imagined during this world premiere performance inspired by the ancient epic, BEOWULF. Presented by acclaimed site-specific theater company We Players, in collaboration with Rova saxophone quartet and inkBoat Physical Theatre and Dance, and produced in partnership with Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture and San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.   

In keeping with We Players’ signature performance events, this production of BEOWULF will move throughout an historic landscape as the story unfolds. This sweeping site-integrated production will commence at the historic Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park. Audiences will travel along the northern waterfront, encountering a nearly forgotten past filled with ceremony, honor and violence, warriors and shape-shifters - at the intersection of ancient and present time. Together the tribe will seek shelter and safety at the ancestral mead hall, where all are invited to break bread together as the experience unfolds. Danger lurks in the shadows without and within, an unknown terror is always just out of view. 

BEOWULF explores darkness and light, power and conquest, monsters and humans, through startling imagery, rich soundscape and fervent physicality. 


Beowulf will celebrate the culmination of We Players’ unprecedented 5 year cooperative agreement with SF Maritime National Historical Park, the first of its kind in the nation. The production is a multi-discipline collaboration with Rova saxophone quartet, preeminent musicians in the avant-garde jazz and improvisational music scene for nearly 4 decades, and inkBoat Physical Theatre and Dance led by Artistic Director Shinichi Iova-Koga. Iova-Koga and We Players’ Artistic Director Ava Roy co-direct this ensemble devised production, which takes inspiration and guidance from (and is loosely based on) the ancient anglo-saxon poem. 


How long is the performance?
Approximately 2.5 hours, and there is no intermission.

What about food and drinks?
Food and drinks will be served during the course of the performance; these will be savory bites and not a full meal.

How accessible is this production?
Mobility needs can be accommodated and will be addressed on a case by case basis, please contact We Players at to request assistance.

What is the recommended age for youths attending this production?
We suggest that youths attending BEOWULF be age 12 and up, though the show may remain appropriate down to age 10 for especially mature individuals.

My budget is very limiting, how can I get discounted tickets?
You can join the BEOWULF Rush Ticket mailing list for a chance at last-minute half-price tickets if they become available.

What if my question is not answered here?
For questions about the production and performance, please contact We Players at
For questions about new or existing reservations, please contact the box office at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture at 415-345-7575.

+ The Cast

Rova Saxophone Quartet: Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin (saxophones and creative collaboration)
inkBoat: Shinichi Iova-Koga, Dana Iova-Koga
We Players: Ava Roy, Charlie Gurke, Nathaniel Justiniano

+ The Production Team

Moira McGovern: Production Stage Manager
Hamilton Guillen: Technical Director
Albert Kong: Assistant Techincal Director
Maria Chenut: Costume Designer
Allen Wilner: Lighting Designer
Yoshi Asai:: Properities Master
Rachel Bergquist: Set Construction
Zahra Jangbar: Costume Intern
Ellen Boener: Production Assistant
Liam Collier: Production Assistant

+ The Poem

Beowulf the poem is the source material for We Players' spring 2017 premiere by the same title, and will be devised through a collaborative, ensemble-based process. There will be recognizable elements of the story, as well as abstractions inspired by the more fundamental thematic exploration of heroes and monsters and how they live among and within us all. For reference to our source material, please explore the following resources.

This ancient Anglo-Saxon poem may very well be the oldest surviving epic poem written in Old English. While scholars debate the composition date, estimates place it between 975 and 1025CE. The original manuscript survived fire and neglect, and was rescued from oblivion. Its academic value has long been appreciated, but it was JRR Tolkien in his lecture and essay Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics who helped the world appreciate it as a work of art, independent of its value as an historic artifact.

There are many, many (many) translations of Beowulf. Our favorites include: Burton Raffel's 1963 Edition and Seamus Heaney's 1999 dual language version. Other notable translations include JRR Tolkien's 1926 edition and Howell D Chickering's 1977 dual-language edition.

For further reading, we highly recommend John Gardner's 1971 novel Grendel which explores the epic from the monster's perspective (and oh so much more...)

Get your young people (or yourself) caught up with the story with this short 1998 animated version narrated by Derek Jacobi.

There are many audio versions of the poem, and our favorite is narrated by George Guidall.