Apr 16


  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

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


Directed by Ava Roy
Co-Director by 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 will be created in collaboration with Rova saxophone quartet, preeminent musicians in the avant-garde jazz and improvisational music scene for nearly 4 decades, and the dance theatre company inkBoat led by artistic director Shinichi Iova-Koga. Iova-Koga and We Players’ Artistic Director Ava Roy co-direct this ensemble-devised production, which 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
Gabi Linde: Production Assistant
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 .

2017 Season Launch Party
7:00 pm19:00

2017 Season Launch Party

  • General's Residence


"Get your apparel together,
good strings to your beards, 
new ribbons to your pumps; 

meet presently at the palace; 
every man look o'er his part;
for the short and the long is,
our play is preferred."

- A Midsummer Night's Dream

General's Residence
Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture
7-10pm, February 9, 2017

We Players' 2017 Season Launch Party is a fundraiser and community celebration with our extended network of friends, fans, collaborators, and supporters. Join us in celebrating and supporting full-sensory, immersive, place-based performance. Together, we'll raise a glass and the creative ceiling!

Photos by Jim Norrena of ACT OUT Photography

Photos by Jim Norrena of ACT OUT Photography

Enjoy live music, savory and sweet delights, fine wines from Rasmussen Winery and Castello di Amorosa and favorite beers from Lagunitas and Speakeasy. We’ll also feature a signature cocktail crafted by our in-house mixologist and inspired by Beowulf. Explore the historic General’s Residence, enjoy a unique vista of Aquatic Park from expansive windows. Meet the collaborators for our upcoming site-integrated production of BEOWULF, and and gain insights into the unique creative process that will unite five saxophones, two dancers and two actors in a thrilling re-imagining of this ancient epic. Experience live improvisation, win fabulous raffle prizes, and share in an insiders-only ceremony of darkness and light.   

PLUS - be among the first to learn details about our plans for a new adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream in local wild spaces, a renewed exploration of King Fool starring Courtney Walsh as Lear, an expanded Music Concert Series beginning in June, and updates on our future plans for a visit to the National Parks of New York Harbor

Special discount codes and perks offered exclusively to party attendees! 

About the BEOWULF Collaborators:
BEOWULF is a totally new adventure for We Players - with five saxophones, two dancers and two actors. Meet Nathaniel Justiniano of Naked Empire Bouffon, who brings his searing intellect and humor; Shinichi and Dana Iova-Koga of inkBoat dance theatre, and witness their astounding physical precision and improvisational prowess; and tune in to the profound sounds of avant-garde saxophone quartet Rova, a team of musicians truly enviable for their deep listening skills developed over nearly four decades of collaboration. Artistic Director Ava Roy returns to the stage after a hiatus in 2016, and our resident composer and Music Director, Charlie Gurke, joins sonic forces with Rova. 

Ticket Types

Early-bird ticket
Limited quantities of discounted tickets available through January 15th - save 20%!

General Ticket
Standard admission to the event, drinks, food, all admission perks.

VIP ticket
Personal concierge service for you and your guests along with reserved seating, fine wine from the cellars of Castello di Amorosa, and special recognition.

Sponsor An Artist Add-on
Support our extended community of fellow creatives - sponsor an artist at the discounted rate of $50 per ticket! With your generosity, we'll invite a inspiring musician, dancer, poet, painter or actor to come out and play.
Romeo & Juliet at Villa Montalvo
Oct 16

Romeo & Juliet at Villa Montalvo

  • Montalvo Arts Center

Thursdays - Sundays, October 6 - 16th, 2016

Hear the clash of steel as sword fights fly, join the Capulets in their spicy family circle dance, participate in the rituals of marriage and death, and let Romeo & Juliet break your heart and fill you with joy all at once.

Free! Festival of the Sea at Hyde St Pier
9:30 am09:30

Free! Festival of the Sea at Hyde St Pier

  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Environmental explorations and improvisations of sound, movement and story-in-space continue at Hyde Street Pier, thanks to the collaboration between We Players, Rova Saxophone Quartet and inkBoat. 

Romeo & Juliet at Petaluma Adobe
Sep 25

Romeo & Juliet at Petaluma Adobe

  • Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

Friday - Sunday, August 12 - September 25, 2016

Walk in the footsteps of the most famous lovers of all time, following the story as it unfolds throughout majestic California landscapes. Enter a 360 degree sphere of performance – immerse yourself in the action as We Players blurs the boundary between audience and actors, history and the present moment.

Canciones del Mar: Songs of the Sea
7:00 pm19:00

Canciones del Mar: Songs of the Sea

  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Five highly-acclaimed Bay Area latin musicians will share songs about the sea, boats, love, and life, drawn from the folkloric and popular music traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Capulet Ball at Castello di Amorosa
6:30 pm18:30

The Capulet Ball at Castello di Amorosa

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Cross the drawbridge to this real Tuscan-inspired castle for an elegant wine reception and a seated dinner. Dance amidst the stunning frescoes of the Great Hall and witness the lovers profess their bliss in the covered loggia.

The Capulet Ball at Impact Hub Oakland
8:00 pm20:00

The Capulet Ball at Impact Hub Oakland

  • Impact Hub Oakland

Our most urban venue for this thrilling masquerade! Hop on BART and jaunt a few blocks up bustling Broadway in vital Uptown Oakland to the spacious dance floor at Impact Hub.