Roman Women at The Palace of Fine Arts, 2018

A brand new work and world premiere: Roman Women at the Palace of Fine Arts, April 27- June 3, 2018.


This ritual performance features a unique soundscape - including live instrumentation, classical text derived from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and physical theatre and dance  generated by the all-female ensemble. Our very own ruin from an imagined San Francisco of antiquity, The Palace of Fine Arts - with its famous weeping maidens, sweeping pergolas and unique avian life - will serve as inspiration. Turning up the volume on women’s stories, we reach a hand back through time to empower those with lesser-known histories. Through Roman Women we explore the public and private lives of the women in Julius Caesar, in the late Roman Republic, and in the 21st century - imagining and recreating secret rites and hidden mysteries.

View the Roman Women Program Guide

Roman Women is a Theatre Bay Area Recommended Production!

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Previews April 27 - 29
Opening weekend May 4-6
Running Friday - Sunday evenings through June 3
Special Memorial Day Performance May 28

Children under 6 cannot be accommodated, see the FAQ below for more information.


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What should I wear?
The Palace can be quite windy and surprisingly cold. Please be prepared with your warmest clothing! While this site is not as rugged as some of our previous locations, we do still suggest comfortable shoes and multiple layers.

To help you carry the items you're not wearing, a small pack is handy, plus you can stash snacks and a water bottle.

Please plan to turn your cell phone completely off. Photos and video are not permitted during the performance. Besides, we're making a trip into another realm - immerse yourself completely and leave the distractions behind...

How long is the performance?
About one hour and forty-five minutes.
Restrooms are accessible before the show begins, but not during the performance.

How accessible is this production?
This may be our most accessible site yet. Everything is flat and fully navigable by wheelchair.

As with all We Players productions, our team will guide you through the space, and we encourage you to choose and change your position so you can best see and hear the action. In each performance location the audience will take the following formation: those comfortable sitting or kneeling on the ground in the front, those sitting on stools next, and those standing remain at the back. We will provide folding stools and foam kneelers for those who wish to use them. We can not accommodate personal folding chairs, please plan to use one of ours.

My budget is very limited, how can I get discounted tickets?
You can join the "Roman Women" Rush Ticket mailing list for a chance at last-minute half-price tickets if they become available.
Or better yet - volunteer! Lend us a helping hand for a couple of shows and get free tickets! Email for details.

This project looks really interesting! Can I volunteer with We Players?
Absolutely! Join us in bringing magic to The Palace! Click here to learn more and sign up.

Where do I park?
Free parking is available in the E Beach lot off Javowitz Street, and the Yacht Road lot , each just a 5 minute walk from The Palace of Fine Arts at the northeast corner of the Presidio.

Is this production suitable for children?
This production explores the female experience and parents should be advised that to that end, this piece contains occasional strong, briefly graphic sexual language and insults and scenes of traumatic and abusive behavior. These scenes are not overtly violent but may be upsetting to some children and adults. Children under the age of 6 cannot be accommodated.

What if my question is not answered here?
For questions about the production and performance, please contact We Players at .

+ Dates & Times
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Fridays: April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1

Saturdays: April 28, May 5, May 12, May 19, May 26, June 2

Sundays: April 29, May 6, May 13, May 20, May 27, June 3

Special Memorial Day performance: Monday, May 28

Performances April 26 - May 20 begin at 6:30pm

Performances May 25 - June 3 begin at 7pm

+ Special Pre-Show Talk May 20 & June 3
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The Risks and Joys of Using Your Imagination in Constructing the Past

A Special Pre-Show Talk with renowned archeologist Ruth Tringham

Date & Time: May 20, 6:00 PM & June 3 at 6:30PM at the Palace of Fine Arts, 30 minute duration

Place: Meet at the Roman Women check-in table on the north side of the Palace of Fine Arts. Free parking is available at the E Beach Parking Area off Javowitz Street and in another lot off Yacht Road.

When archaeologists and historians write about the past, they traditionally use expository narratives in which the persona of the archaeologist - writer as well as his/her historic subjects remain anonymous or, at best, viewed as by a distant bird’s eye. How else can one write about the past where all that remains are fragmentary remnants of these ancient lives? Writers and film-makers who create fictional narratives about the intimate dramas of historic people, giving them voices - such as this We Players production Roman Women - are regarded as seductive and engaging for the public. But they are not respected as expressions of scientific knowledge or legitimate interpretations of archaeological and historical data. For many years I have been challenging this lack of respect for creative imagination by exploring ways in which, as archaeologist-historian-writers, we can use our imaginations to celebrate the ambiguous nature of archaeological and historical evidence. We can conjure up sentient prehistoric and historic actors whose intimate lives are entangled with the empirical scientific data of archaeological excavations and historical documents, so that they are more than works of creative fiction by becoming starting points for further knowledge-making.

Ruth Tringham is an archaeologist who retired not so long ago as a Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Retirement from teaching has not stopped creative juices flowing. Currently she is doing research mentoring students as a UCB Professor of the Graduate School; she is also the creative director and president of a non-profit organization, the Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA), and a director of Codifi, Inc a B-Corp developing paperless archaeology solutions. She is also practicing multisensorial archaeology as she develops a kind of computer game from her research that she will describe in her talk. Ruth is delighted to participate again in a WePlayers enterprise at another historic site in San Francisco. Ruth is not an actor, nor did she have any experience with stage production until she volunteered in spring-summer 2012 as a production assistant for We Players’ Odyssey on Angel Island. She worked with the company again at Fort Point in 2013 and 2014 as a guide to help the audience immerse themselves in the glorious contradictions and resonances between Fort Point and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. She has continued to work with We Players as an audience guide at the recent productions of Ondine, Midsummer of Love, and BEOWULF. She is interested in the clashes and harmonies between the past and present at historic places, which is why she loves to work with We Players and can’t wait to see how they will conjure up the Roman Women from a rather sparse documentation (especially according to Shakespeare).

Read more from Ruth at

+ The Buzz
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Lily Janiak, SFGate: Site-specific We Players goes classical with "Roman [Women]"

"Site-specific work this sensorial, this well done, is its own raison d’être"
- Jean Schiffman, SF Examiner: We Players’ ‘Roman Women’ enthrall at Palace of Fine Arts

Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News: Cherished SF landmark stars in a new play


"The performance and the venue were a perfect match for each other... creative, provocative, entertaining." - Phil Ginsburg, General Manager, SF Recreation and Parks

"...a beautiful perspective on one of my favorite texts... a fabulous show, and I would highly recommend it to any audiences interested in the intersection of ritual, experience and performance." - J Sophia, audience member

+ The Cast
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Micael Bogar
Julie Douglas
Lauren Hayes
Baily Hopkins
Emily Stone
Britt Lauer as Minerva

+ The Production Team
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Director: Ava Roy
Assistant Director: Britt Lauer

Production Manager: Nick Sherwin
Stage Manager: Erica Flor
House Manager: Melinda Lauw

Costume Designer: Brooke Jennings
Stitcher and Draper: Helen Frances
Assistant Costume Designer: Kathleen Qiu

Music Director, Composer: Charlie Gurke
Percussion: Rob Hart
Percussion: Ricardo LomelÍ Gómez
Percussion: Tim DeCillis
Trombone: Greg Stephens
Trombone: Mara Fox

Audience Guide: Monica Herbert
Audience Guide: Vartika Vaish

Production Crew
Laraine Gurke
Raquel Orendain Shrestha
Joseph Schommer
Ruth Tringham

+ The Place
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The Palace of Fine Arts was built as part of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Expo by Bernard Maybeck and was originally only intended to stand for the nine month duration of the exposition. A world’s fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal, The PPIE was more popularly seen as San Francisco’s opportunity to display their recovery from the devastating earthquake of 1906. Our very own ruin from an imagined San Francisco of antiquity, the building was so beautiful and beloved that it was spared the wrecking ball that befell many of the fair’s nine other buildings. A place where women took the spotlight from the beginning, the Expo hosted the very first Women Voters’ Convention in September of 1915 where a three mile long suffrage petition was gathered. Though the structure itself is relatively new, the lagoon that surrounds the Palace is a remnant of the ancient tidal wetland that used to cover much of what is now the Marina District, creating a home for wildlife unlike any other in the city. Such historical and environmental background will inspire the development of this new work.

As with all We Players' productions, the audience will follow the show throughout the environment, moving from location to location along with the performers. The audience will notice, as they follow the action of the piece through the rotunda and surrounding areas, that the inspiration for character, movement, and design aesthetic is drawn from the Palace architecture, history, and the avian life of the lagoon.