Author: Awesome Theatre

Awesome Theatre’s commitments to Equity and Accountability.

UPDATE 9/29/20


Awesome Theatre is proud to stand with all members of our community to create a more equitable, more diverse environment for local artists to create, to be seen, and to be heard. To that end, we are releasing this document (and more documents to come) in order to be as transparent as possible with our former, current, and future business practices. Transparency is accountability. Within these documents, we hope you will see what changes we have made to further foster equity in our business and in our productions.


  • In order to make our shows non cost prohibitive, our ticket prices do not exceed $25, discount codes are regularly distributed, half price tickets are made available and we have a generous group discount. By continuing these practices and by telling stories from multiple backgrounds and experiences, we hope everyone has the opportunity to see themselves on our stage. We pledge to increase our outreach to communities that have been historically excluded from and made to feel unwelcome in theatre spaces.

Hiring and Casting

  • In 2021, auditions for our planned stage productions will be conducted virtually. This is to accommodate health concerns due to COVID-19, but also to accommodate actors who may have to spend significant travel time to attend a 5 minute audition.
  • We exclusively produce new works written by local artists. This is one of the central tenets of our company’s artistic identity.
  • In 2021 We will be commissioning 13 local writers for theatre, film and radio projects. At least 50% of them will be BIPOC writers and at least 50% of the directors will be BIPOC. In addition, at least 50% of writers and directors will be female identifying or non-binary artists.
  • In March, we committed to ensuring our production teams and our casts in 2021 will also comprise of at least 50% BIPOC artists and at least 50% female identifying or non-binary artists. This also applies to our remaining 2020 presentations.


  • We are a volunteer run organization, however all artists we work with receive an expense stipend comparable to any other artist working on the project. These payouts will increase by 25% until we are able to classify everyone as a regular employee with an hourly wage. In the coming weeks, we will release summaries of our 2020 and 2021 budgets to show exactly how much we spend, where we spend it, and our plans to increase those levels. 
  • Because all of our plays are commissioned, development periods for each play are needed which involve readings. Awesome Theatre is doing away with the unpaid “Living Room Reading” model and will be conducting all developmental readings virtually and providing a stipend to each artist.

Values Statement

  • In addition to our mission statement,  and our policy on only hiring local artists, we will add a corporate values statement to our website. This values statement will focus on our business practices. Highlighting our commitments to financial equity, the treatment of everyone we work with, and creating a work environment where everyone feels welcome. 

Code of conduct in all artists agreements

  • While our artist agreements already provide language stating the expectation that respectful language and behavior must be practiced at all times, in 2021, we will provide an additional code of conduct for everyone to sign and adhere to. This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in our productions/invited into the Awesome Theatre community. This code of conduct will be posted at all rehearsals, filming, meetings, and backstage.

Interim Marketing Director

  • We have hired Lorenz Angelo Gonzales to create a formal annual marketing strategy and increase outreach to new audiences.

Human Resources

  • In 2022, Awesome Theatre will add a human resources director to the team. This person will handle artist agreements, payouts, and most importantly, workplace conduct. If any person working with Awesome Theatre in an administrative or artistic role, needs to file a complaint, report misconduct or needs to speak in confidence, the human resources director will assist those people. This also takes a responsibility usually given to the Director or Stage Manager (who are often not in a position to give issues the immediate attention they sometimes need) and creates a neutral place where accountability can happen in a safe and meaningful way.

At the beginning of 2021, we will release our next update with new policies. And while we are proud of these changes, the work is never really done. But we hope that these new commitments, in addition to ones we have already introduced will help Awesome Theatre better serve the entire Bay Area Theatre Community.

UPDATE: 8/5/2020


We have read the recently released BIPOC Equity Action Plan, and want to thank everyone involved with its creation. To take hundreds of painful and unjust experiences and to use them to create a blueprint for how we can create equity in the art world is a gift. While several demands have been addressed in our prior statement (see original statement below), far more have not. We are committed to meeting them head-on and to the best of our abilities. The entire company and our Board of Directors support these demands 100%. To that end, and as promised, Awesome Theatre will be releasing a comprehensive Accountability Report in September that explicitly states our goals, the work we’ve already done to meet these goals, and the work we intend to do moving forward. This will include several new policies focused on accessibility, financial transparency, and outreach.  As time goes on and we increase in size, we will be able to grow to meet more of the financial demands outlined in the BIPOC Equity Action Plan.

While we are a small, volunteer-run nonprofit arts org (for now), we are not immune to the needs of the moment and of our community. We aim to be an example for other micro-theatre companies, both locally and nation-wide to show what role we can play.

To our BIPOC friends, collaborators, and allies: Thank you, we see you, we hear you, and we will fight against oppression and systemic white supremacy in our community and in all that we do. 



In light of the unrest and growing strife in our country, Awesome Theatre put out the following statement last week: 

“Awesome Theatre was created to make the things we thought should exist, to create art that was the change we wanted to see. We cannot stand silently by in the face of social revolt. Silence is complicity. This is the time to recognize injustice, to recognize the strife of our fellow humans, and to recognize the privilege we’ve so often either taken for granted, or flat out denied. To produce theatre is a privilege. To tell stories is a privilege. To tell the truth is an imperative.

We at Awesome Theatre can’t push on the lever of justice and bend the world. But we can tell stories. Your stories. We will use this privilege, this platform, to empower black voices, proactively create opportunities for artists in marginalized communities, to showcase the truth no matter how difficult it is to hear, and continue to be the change we want to see in the world, not just through our art, but in how we do business.

Black Lives Matter. Justice for all.”

After discussing as a company what our next steps would be to keep these promises, we believed a more in depth statement was necessary, so here it is:

From the beginning, Awesome theatre made a commitment to encompassing diverse voices and telling diverse stories. But we’ve failed in many ways. We have been complicit in the systemic prevalence of white supremacy in this country, and we will no longer be party to ignorance, fear, and hate, whether wittingly or unwittingly.

We could trot out pathetic excuses for why our actors, technical staff, and board members lack the full diversity we so genuinely want to represent. We could place the blame for our inaction at the feet of others. But the fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves. We can do better. And we will do better.

Today we’re making a promise. A promise to improve our culture, improve our hiring practices, and a promise to represent voices of color in all that we do. Here are our goals for the upcoming year, and all the years moving forward.

We have hired Nikki Meñez, an incredible artist and creative voice in Bay Area theatre, as our casting director. With their help, we will be working to bring diversity to our productions and will work to create a more equitable and safe place where all artists feel welcome. They will help us develop as a company, and will help us commit to the following policies:

  • All shows must feature a cast that is at least 50% Women, Trans, or non-binary.
  • All shows must feature a cast that is at least 50% POC.
  • All shows must feature a design team that is at least 60% Women, Trans, or non-binary, and 50% POC.
  • Our Artist in residency program will be exclusively offered to women/trans/non-binary and/or POC.
  • We will seek to diversify our board, and will include at least one black voice if not more.
  • We will compile a public accountability report every year to be as transparent as possible as to how we’re living up to these promises.

We recognize that this is only a start, and a late start at that. We will strive with all the love, understanding, and compassion we can muster to stand with and listen to the black and other disenfranchised voices in our community. We will be here. Listening. Learning. And Growing.

With love and sincerity,

Awesome Theatre

The Awesome Theatre Hour Presents: COFFEE LADY.

This summer, “The Awesome Theatre Hour” RETURNS with six brand spanking new episodes, featuring ALL NEW CONTENT! Starting in June, on the second and fourth thursday of every month at 8PM, tune in to Facebook for a wonderfully weird time. Hosted by Awesome Theatre’s Artistic Director, Colin Johnson.

The second season of The Awesome Theatre Hour kicks off with a special look at COFFEE LADY, a new play by Bridgette Dutta Portman. Originally scheduled to open in June 2020, this world premiere is now postponed until February 2021. So what do you do when you already have a great cast, a hilarious new play, and a brilliant director? YOU TAKE IT TO THE INTERNETS! Tune in for interviews with Director Nikki Meñez, and our new segment, DRUNKATURGY with local comedian Alexandria Love.

Joanne hates her job at McCarby’s: minimum wage, irritating customers, an overbearing boss, and a geeky coworker. When Jo’s sister, Char, comes up with a scheme to spill hot coffee on herself and sue McCarby’s, Jo goes along with it. Can they pull it off, or is it too tall an order? Will someone spill the beans? How many coffee puns can we cram into this synopsis? And why is a mysterious old woman following Jo? Inspired by the 1992 McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit, Coffee Lady is a comedy about corporate greed, individual responsibility, sibling rivalry, the dangers of denial, and the power of truth.

Written by Bridgette Dutta Portman, Directed by Nikki Meñez and Featuring Jess Rankin, Isabel Siragusa, Ankur VG, Matt Gunnison, and Barbara Cecchetti.

Hosted by Colin Johnson
Featuring “Coffee Lady” by Bridgette Dutta Portman, an Interview with Nikki Meñez and “Drunkaturgy” with Alexandria Love.
Thursday, June 11, 8 PM PST
Facebook Live and YouTube

Watch it now!

Wanna know more about upcoming episodes? Wanna watch past episodes?

The Awesome Theatre Hour: THE KAYLABRATION!

This episode of The Awesome Theatre Hour is a KAYLABRATION! We put a spotlight on our Artist-in-residence program. Featuring our 2019 A.I.R., Kaylamay Paz Suarez with footage from her incredible workshop production of THE KAYLAMAY PROJECT, and an appearance by our current A.I.R., Puja Tolton. And our special guest is a poet, performer, DJ and the Artistic Director of Kearny Street Workshop, JASON BAYANI!

The Awesome Theatre Hour- MERCY KILLING!

This inaugural episode featureS in its entirety, “The authorized, unauthorized bootleg” of 2018’s MERCY KILLING! Filmed live at PianoFight from the front row, we’re stoked to share this never before seen footage of one of our favorite shows.

“Mercy is a barista in San Francisco. She’s also a serial killer. The only one who knows is a Grim Reaper named Thana, her girlfriend, sort of, it’s complicated. The two of them navigate a tenuous romance while trying to evade detection by the authorities on either side of mortality.”

Written By Alandra Hileman, Directed by Claire Rice and Featuring Stephanie Whigham, Olivia Brown , Haley Bertlesen, and Noe Flores

Awesome Theatre’s statement on COVID-19


Due to City Ordinances caused by COVID-19, our home venue PianoFight has closed its doors for the next 8 weeks. This will result in the cancellation of our current show, Clickbait, and the postponement of Your New Favorite Musical. While it is sad and a little bit scary, we support their decision 100%. We want to thank the playwright, Tonya Narvaez for her brilliant, dark, and gutsy play. It was an honor to Produce. Thank you to our Stage Management team, Kerri and Tonya, our intrepid director Claire Rice and our wonderful cast Carly, Sam, Caroline, and Jorden. This is never how we want a show to end, but we are grateful for the time you shared with us.

While Awesome Theatre is small and runs on a modest budget, we are not impervious to the financial ramifications of canceling a show. Part of our deal with PianoFight is that a part of our rent is paid in the backend, simply put, ticket sales pay our rent. We have also committed to paying all of the actors and production staff the remainder of their expense stipends. When it is all said and done, we will take a loss north of $2000. 

Now let’s be honest, there are a lot of companies that need help, (big help). So what we are asking is to “Buy a ticket”. If you had tickets and got refunded, if you were planning on coming and didn’t buy a ticket, even if you would have bought a ticket if you lived nearby or wasn’t so dang busy, now is your chance to help.

Just follow this link and make a donation of $25, the price of a ticket to ClickBait. This small thing will help us immeasurably, it allows us to recoup the money we would have made through ticket sales, and make sure people are able to spread their generosity around to all the companies in need.

This brings us to PianoFight our home venue and partner. Their closing affects not just us but incredible groups like Killing my Lobster and The SF Neo-Futurists. It affects all the people working there who suddenly have no job for 8 weeks. In order for PianoFight to help its employees during this time and cover general expenses, they need $50K a month. So if there is one group you should heave money at, it is them. Awesome Theatre would not exist without PianoFight, they are a huge part of the SF Arts scene and like many small buisnesses, desperately need our help. 

So yes, throw us a little cash, $25 will do (If you give us $100, we can give you a T-shirt or something), but without PianoFight, we’re not much. So please show support and generosity to this wonderful bar, restaurant and performance venue that is an artistic home to so many. 

Donate to PianoFight Here

It’s a scary-ass time that becomes more real every day. The greatest thing we can have right now is hope. The belief that in 8 weeks or so we can begin living our lives again. You will be hearing from us on Social Media and our website, so stay tuned. We cannot wait to sit in a theater with all of you again. 

Anthony, Colin, Jess,Claire, and Kerri

Pitch your musical to Awesome Theatre!


Do you have part of one?

Do you have an idea for one?


YOUR NEW FAVORITE MUSICAL is a live musical theatre competition where 6 writing teams will be selected to do 15-minute pitches of their original musical to 3 celebrity judges in front of a live audience. 3 on April 15, and 3 on September 23 at PianoFight. The Judges will pick two winners to be developed into 30-minute workshops. One of those will become a fully produced musical by Awesome Theatre.

Send us a 5-minute video pitch with: Who you are, a brief synopsis, character description, and music samples. 6 winners will be chosen to participate in the competition.

The Judges

Leslie Waggoner (Director / Choreographer, Ray of Light Theatre Co, BAM, and Custom Made Theatre Co.)

Dave Moschler (Musical Director, Awesome Orchestra)

Nikki Meñez (Director, Awesome Theatre, Custom Made Theatre Co. )

The Rules

  • This must be a new and unproduced musical. No prior productions or workshops. 
  • Writing Teams must be complete and consist of a Writer and a Composer.
  • The entire writing team must be SF/Oakland/Bay Area residents.
  • No musicals based on, or adaptations of Copyrighted material you do not have the rights to.

Send your five-minute video pitch to



I am the writer AND  the composer, is that OK?

It sure is.

What are we looking for? 

As far as content, don’t worry about it, just pitch the idea you’re excited about. Criteria wise, we want to know the story, who the story is about and what the songs sound like. But also, why do you think it should be produced? Show us why you’re passionate about your idea.

Who picks the top 6?

The staff of Awesome Theatre

So is this a performance?

Think of it as a “Performed Pitch”. You are selling your show to our judges and the audience, It can be as elaborate or simple as you want.  The pitch itself should not only give us an idea of your musical and it’s potential, but it should be entertaining as well. 

Is there money involved? 

Yes, the six teams selected to pitch also win $75 each. The two teams chosen for workshops also win a cash prize.

Can someone else perform the songs

Yes, do whatever you want. 

What if I have a director already attached?

We can talk about it.

This feels like a mix of “Gutenberg, The Musical” and “Shark Tank”.

Yes, exactly.


Written by Tonya Narvaez
Directed by Claire Rice

Thursday Nights at 9 PM
Feb 6 – March 26
PianoFight, 144 Taylor, SF

$22 online advance, $25 at the door

Two internet celebrities spend the night in an abandonded cabin. You won’t believe what happens next.

Beckah and BryBry are self-obsessed internet celebrities who take on crazy challenges for their YouTube channel. When the challenge is to survive one night in a deserted cabin, it is their own duality that is the biggest threat. Along with their Producer, Owen, and their new cameraperson, Sam, who both have their own dreams of fame and their own agenda, the game becomes deadly real, or real deadly, either way.

Local writer Tonya Narvaez’s (SF Neo-Futurists) one-act play takes a dark and satirical look at influencer culture and the difference between who we are online and who we are IRL. Directed by acclaimed Bay Area artist, Claire Rice (Let’s Kill Jessica), CLICKBAIT blends video and live-action to create a dark, modern and stylized story about what we do for fame.

Featuring: Samuel Barksdale, Caroline Boyll, Carly Van Liere, and Jorden Charley-Whatley

Production Staff: Claire Rice, Kerri Blake Cavanaugh, Colin Johnson, Dani Spinks, Sara “Edie” Saavedra, Alexandra Danylyszyn, Puja Tolton, Tunuviel Luv, Tanya Acosta, Tonya Narvaez, Anthony R. Miller, Jess Thomas, and Stephanie Whigham


Q & A Tonya Narvaez explores dark side of YouTube fame in new horror play. – Lily Janiak, SF Chronicle – 2/4/20

Awesome Theatre’s ‘Clickbait’ is ready to scare the ‘Tube’ out of ‘You’ – David John Chavez, Bay Area Plays, 2/4/20

CONTENT WARNING: This play contains realistic depictions of verbal and physical violence.

…there is also a strobe light.

What is a “ThursPlay”?
It’s your new favorite thing to do on a Thursday night. A 60-minute play designed for a fun and casual theatre experience. Always new, always entertaining, always weird. Come early for drinks and food and bring your beverage right into the theater. Perfect for the first time theatre-goer. 

The Kaylamay Project

Written and Performed by Kaylamay Paz Suarez

with Jason Bayani

Directed by Claire Rice and Jess Thomas

November 15 & 16, 8PM
Arc Gallery, 1246 Folsom, SF
$15 Online advance, $20 at the door

“Come laugh at my trauma”

Kaylamay Paz Suarez- a First generation, Philippine-American performer, begins to trace the source of her fears, insecurities, and strengths with a cast of her friends, family, and selective memory through a wild ride of the intersections of her mind and media. This is just the beginning of a lifelong project.

Every year, Awesome Theatre invites one local artist to spend the year developing a new show from the ground up totally conceived and created by them.  This culminates in a workshop production facilitated by Awesome Theatre. We hope this special presentation is just the first step in the development of Kaylamay’s “One-Human show”. 

Blending theatre, multimedia and heart, The Kaylamay Project promises to be an exciting new piece by an emerging Bay Area Artist