Our 5th annual Canciones del Mar concert was a dream!

"THE SACRED RADIANCE OF THE SUN"

- King Lear

Our 5th annual Canciones del Mar concert was a dream. Thank you dancers, listeners, and stellar musicians! 

Photos: ACT OUT Photography, Jim Norrena

Photos: ACT OUT Photography, Jim Norrena

A standing ovation for the jaw-dropping sunset streaking resplendent colors across the sky, melting everything into liquid gold, and slipping off into violet clouds. 

Big thanks to our friends at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and to the warm wooden embrace of ferryboatEureka. We'll be back! 

Meantime, the songs of el pulpo (the octopus) y el calamar (the squid), of sailboats and canoes and the teasing love affair of the waves against the sand, murmur in our memories...

Photo: Lauren Matley

Photo: Lauren Matley


Mother Lear starts this weekend with private home performances in SF and San Anselmo!

On opening weekend you can find mama Lear on the roof of a dramatic SOMA warehouse, surrounded by the urban jungle, as well as amongst live oaks upon a golden hilltop. 

Be sure to catch We Players' trademark exterior open space performances of Mother Lear in the South Bay at Montalvo Arts Center, and in San Francisco at the beautifully expansiveMcLaren Park. Find unique intimate performances under The Sukkah at The Jewish Community Center East Bay, and at other spectacular private residences around the Bay Area.

Mother Lear draws ever near

"YOU ARE WELCOME HITHER"

- King Lear

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We are thrilled to announce our next production!

MOTHER LEAR

An irascible scholar with dementia communicates with her caretaker daughter using only the text of Shakespeare's King Lear, as the two struggle with aging, love, and their own balance of power. 

A facilitated conversation on the themes of death and dying immediately follows each performance.

Join us at unique and intimate venues around San Francisco Bay this autumn to experience this powerful two-person distillation of one of the Bard's greatest works.


Building ROMEO & JULIET at Montalvo Arts Center

We Players were blessed with a spring residency at Montalvo Arts Center this past May, and Montalvo's Lori Wood wrote this exciting article about the experience of having us on site!

Maria Leigh (Juliet), Libby Oberlin (Capulet), John Steele (Benvolio), and Stage Manager Britt Lauer at work building this year's Romeo & Juliet! Photo by Tina Case.

Maria Leigh (Juliet), Libby Oberlin (Capulet), John Steele (Benvolio), and Stage Manager Britt Lauer at work building this year's Romeo & Juliet! Photo by Tina Case.

"As We Players developed these experiences at Montalvo, the villa and its gardens rang with new sounds: the clash of swords on the front lawn, the calls of the characters’ spirit-animals, the music of a rueda on the villa’s front terrace, and the loudest artist dinner ever held in the Lucas Artists Program Commons. One Thursday night, the full cast of Romeo and Juliet came to dinner in character, each armed with secret instructions designed by director Ava Roy to build insight into their character—instructions that also served to create maximum drama, hubbub and happy consternation. A night of hilarity and chaos ensued, the windows shook, and culinary artist Andrea Blum and lone novelist Lynn Freed leapt for cover as the We Players brought their characters to life at full throttle."

Check out the full article at the Lucas Arts Program blog, Open Access!

Our 2016 Season is Here!

In 2016, We Players is celebrating Shakespeare 400,
the NPS Centennial, and our own Sweet Sixteen!

Our season of stunning site-integrated theatre is full of love,
masquerade balls, sword fights, gorgeous poetry and – of course –
fantastically beautiful California landscapes.

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Shakespeare 400: Performance companies and publishers the world over are honoring 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy.

We Players Sweet Sixteen

We Players has been staging large-scale, site-integrated experiences of classical plays
since the first production in 2000 at Stanford University.
That first We Players show?  A roving Romeo & Juliet which moved from Tressider Student Union throughout the campus courtyards and pedestrian thoroughfares to Memorial Church, The Quad, and ultimately arriving at a collection of Rodin sculptures, “the Burghers of Calais.”

We Players cycles back and digs deeper into the play that began it all, celebrating 16 years of creating stunning works of site-integrated theatre in spectacular and historically charged locations, with Romeo & Juliet performances, inspired special events, and parties throughout 2016!

Mask Making Salons: presentation + hands on mask making workshop; March – April
Sword Fights & Sandwiches: performance, workshop, social gathering; May & June
The Capulet Ball: elegant masquerade ball and performance; May & June
Romeo & Juliet: full scale production at Petaluma Adobe; August & September
Romeo & Juliet: full scale production adapted for Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, CA; October

~~ More details below ~~


COMING UP!!!!!

7th Annual GALA

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On the Vernal Equinox: Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 6:30pm

Intrigue will flow from every corner of one of our favorite indoor spaces!
Savor potions prepared by our underground Franciscan Friars; send secret messages to your lovers and esteemed friends via our cupid courier service; visit the Apothecary’s Lounge to stimulate your five senses; and outbid your frenemies at the silent auction – featuring new and special treasures to thrill and delight.


Romeo & Juliet

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Ava Roy
Produced by Lauren D. Chavez and Ava Roy
Original Score by Charlie Gurke

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Continuing nearly 10 years of unprecedented partnerships with the National Park Service and California State Parks,  We Players once again integrates a classic story into the environs
of a national historic landmark.

This summer, journey to wine country to experience this beloved story of star-crossed lovers set into the historic Rancho Petaluma and surrounding grounds.

We Players, in partnership with California State Parks presents:
Romeo & Juliet
at Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
Sonoma County, CA
August 12 – September 25, 2016

* * * *

Later in the fall, head south to Saratoga
to experience the play adapted for the stunning mansion
and grounds of the illustrious Villa Montalvo!

We Players in partnership with Montalvo Arts Center presents:
Romeo & Juliet
at Villa Montalvo
Saratoga, CA
October 6 – 16, 2016


In Residence at Montalvo Arts Center
We’ve received an astounding invitation from the Montalvo Arts Center to workshop our upcoming production of Romeo & Juliet this April. This residency is as part of the Lucas Arts Residency Program and Montalvo’s 75 year history of supporting artists and the artistic process. We love you, Montalvo!

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“We Players actors have the ability to draw power out of their
surroundings, channeling it into spectacular, immersive experiences”
– SF Weekly “Best of the Bay” 2015 awards


We Players connects people with place through site-integrated theatre.
Support for the nonprofit arts and education organization is provided by
Grants for the Arts/ General Fund Portion of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund,
The Fleishhacker Foundation, Fort Mason Center Presents, Kenneth Rainin Foundation,
The San Francisco Foundation, The Zellerbach Family Foundation and generous individual contributors.
Our 2016 Romeo & Juliet season will be developed while in residence
at the Lucas Artist Residency Program, Montalvo Arts Center.

The Mead Hall and The Chapel

From the Studio to the Living Room, From The Mead Hall to The Chapel

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For We Players, Place performs as a character. Locations have distinct energies, personalities and even desires. In the Old English epic poem Beowulf, King Hrothgar’s great hall of Herot functions as an important cultural institution that provides light and warmth, food and drink – a place for singing, story-telling and safety. The mead-hall served as a place of refuge within a dangerous and precarious external world – a world continuously threatened by attack of neighboring peoples and wild beasts of the great northern forests. The mead-hall was also a place of community, where traditions were preserved and loyalty was rewarded. This is where legends were created and perpetuated, reputations were built, fame broadcast, and history written through the telling of it. By extension, we imagine the WWII era chapel at Fort Mason Center – a place of quiet for private contemplation as well as a community gathering place – as the hall of Herot. Herot, like the chapel, is a sanctuary, a refuge for the tired and a place for rituals that support community.

The Process

Artistic risk often comes in the form of working with new materials, unfamiliar tools, and experimenting with new techniques. HEROMONSTER is a very different type of project for We Players. Unlike our hallmark large-scale, site-integrated theatre projects, which employ somewhere between 30 and 60 performers, artisans, and stage crew, this project features only three performers: two actors and a musician. This is part of a larger experiment for We Players, an exploration in balancing the massive scale of our signature works with projects smaller in scope, though still rich with poetic imagery and inspired by classical texts of epic dimension. We aim to build powerful theatrical events that are more flexible than our large scale works, and can be adapted to a variety of spaces, including indoor environments.

With HEROMONSTER, we began with the actor/creator’s version of a blank canvas – a studio with four white walls and open floor, which we (Nathaniel Justiniano and I) promptly covered with images, phrases, an avalanche of ideas scrawled on giant pieces of paper.

(Music Director Charlie Gurke joins a rehearsal at Montalvo)

(Music Director Charlie Gurke joins a rehearsal at Montalvo)

The studio space we inhabited for the month of August was generously provided by the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga. The month-long immersion into the themes and imagery of heroism and monstrosity yielded the first version of HEROMONSTER, which we are currently performing in private homes throughout the greater Bay Area (ranging from San Jose to San Anselmo, with multiple stops in SF and the East Bay) while simultaneously continuing the development process while in residency at the Fort Mason Center Chapel. In this way, we learn by doing. New insights from each living room performance, and the charged conversations with audiences afterwards, inform and fuel rehearsals as we develop the show for the October performances in the Chapel.

This production is part of an even larger exploration and development process for We Players. Subsequent phases of this work will include collaborations with the renowned dance theatre company inkBoat and masters in the avant-garde music scene, the Rova saxophone quartet. Throughout, multiple translations of the ancient anglo-saxon poem Beowulf serve as a jumping off point, igniting inspiration and helping to inform our understanding of heroes and monsters, where they come from, and where and how they currently live among us all.


A Postscript: It is my honor and pleasure to collaborate with Nathaniel Justiniano and Charlie Gurke on the creation of this piece. Natty has worked with We Players as an actor since 2012, when he captivated audiences as Zeus on the Mount Olympus of Angel Island. Charlie Gurke has served as We Players’ Music Director since 2010, and written award-winning original scores for all of our site-integrated productions since Hamlet on Alcatraz. We are also graced with the musical talents of Steve Adams, who alternates performances with Charlie Gurke. Endless thanks to the ever-gracious Lauren Chavez, our producer and compass, the steadfast and insightful Britt Lauer, assistant producer, and Rowan Beasley, our intern from London, who shines her big green eyes, is quietly curious and attentive, and helps us remain calm.

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Together, along with you, we strive to shine light into the darker shadows of ourselves.

Journey with us into the darkness.