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The First Ever Streaming Theatre Festival is Coming & It Looks Amazing

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La Vida Lobo by Linda Amayo-Hassan, 2019 (L-R) Jed Parsario, Livia Gomez Demarchi, Caleb Cabrera. Photo:


Quiet days. Empty streets. Bay Area boredom. We can all relate. It’s quite apparent during shelter-in-place that the arts are an essential aspect of city life and culture. On any normal night in a big city, there is a cornucopia of happenings. Without this structure, all we’re left with are books, Netflix, board games, and the occasional DJ set streaming in your living room. Until this month, that is.

PlayGround is bringing the theatre to you! This month marks the 25th year of PlayGround’s commitment to producing new developed works for the stage! Twenty-five! That’s almost how old you are. Wow. Normally showcasing their new works on the San Francisco Potrero and Berkeley Rep stages, this quarantine time calls for a thoughtful restructuring. PlayGround presents their first ever Zoom theatre festival, coming to a home near you! And surprise – most of the programming is FREE!

What does this Zoom festival offer?

– (FREE) 10 previously premiered full-length plays spanning PlayGround’s 25 year tenure

– (FREE) a four evening long program of short-films celebrating the intersection of storytelling and digital media

– (FREE) evenings of short play readings competitively selected from PlayGround’s archives of more than 150 Best of PlayGround Festival creations

– (FREE) works from finalists of the Young Playwrights Project in collaboration with Planet Earth Arts

– ($15 TICKETS) the Zoom Debut and Reading Premier of Disbelief by Garret Jon Groenveld &

– ($15 TICKETS) the Zoom Debut and Reading Premier of The Rendering Cycle by Genevieve Jessee.

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What does it all mean?

If you are a theatre connoisseur, you’re likely used to wading in the shallow waters of classic play adaptations. Perhaps during quarantine, you’re feeling adventurous? Time to break out your scuba gear and investigate some new terrain, try the obscure plays in the deeper waters.

1980 or Why I’m Voting for Jon Anderson by Patricia Cotter, 2017 Hillary Horvath, left; Evelyn Gaynor, right. Photo courtesy of Jackalope Theatre

If you’re not a theatre connoisseur, do not expect the style of average plays that you were forced to read and watch in high school. These plays are superior, relevant to this century, creative new works written and performed by your peers, yo! Dozens of plays are submitted every year from all across the country and only the cream of the crop are selected for development. For this anniversary, PlayGround is presenting the play picks of the litter, spanning 25 years! It’s bound to be awesome.

Surely you’ve heard of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Have you ever thought of the six degrees that separates you from an artist in the Bay Area? Believe me, you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who is an artist. And they may be in or know someone in this month’s PlayGround anniversary festival! PlayGround has teamed up with Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA, in one of the largest Bay Area union contracts ever. Together, they have hired over 140 principal artists under union rate wages for this 5 week long theatre festival, the first of its kind. These artists include actors, stage managers, directors, writers and more. This venture is greatly needed with the unemployment rate at an all time high, but it conveniently fits the integrity of PlayGround, which strives to keep diverse artists working and breaks boundaries to let up-and-coming artists be seen.

This festival stands as a community celebration of the new works PlayGround has incubated from their humble beginnings. So why not give them some of your attention?

Dear Santa by Nic A. Sommerfield, 2019 (L-R) David Stein, Cathleen Riddley, Angel Adedonkun. Photo:

May is a perfect month to support creativity. It’s your mom’s month and she created you, didn’t she? Also, the gig economy is suffering due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Theatres across the country are struggling to stay open. We don’t want these masses of culture to collapse. Let’s keep the Parthenon in Greece as the only major theatre in ruin. You’ve probably read that meme: “Stay home like you do when your friend invites you to their play.” Now you can live up to and make up for that! Stay home and watch your artist friends perform from a safe distance! Let this festival be a reminder that whenever you’re bored or at a loss, there’s at least one artist out there serving your hopes, fears and dreams in story form, always vigilant, always entertaining, and no more than 6 degrees away.

PlayGround’s Zoom Festival begins May 11th and runs through June 14th, 2020. Tickets and schedule for PlayGround Zoom Festival can be found right here.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.