Shotgun Players is a non-profit company that has been creating artistically excellent, innovative theatre in Berkeley since 1992. Founding Artistic Director Patrick Dooley started our company with four eager actors and a bucket of black paint. Now approaching our 20th season, nothing pleases us more than to tackle projects other companies believe would be too expensive, too unwieldy or just plain impossible. Before purchasing The Ashby Stage in 2004, our first permanent home, we spent the first twelve years of our existence performing in 44 different locations. No longer nomadic, we are able to redirect that precious energy into even more thoughtful artistic development and ambitious projects. Stability also allowed us to double our subscriptions and individual giving in just two years.
There are many ways we could have chosen to celebrate our 20th Anniversary of creating innovative theatre. We decided to make 2011 our most ambitious by presenting a season of commissioned plays. Nothing is more daring than creating a play from scratch. Our success with new plays is due to the extended, thorough support we provide to playwrights through workshops, readings and constructive feedback. We are proud that many of our most critically successful productions have been original plays.
We also believe that it is not enough to create exceptional works of theatre; but also to make a difference in your community. How we interact with our neighbors, who we support with our business, and how we use materials all have an impact on our community. Artistic Director Patrick Dooley has a passion for the environment; he has been composting at his home for several years and wanted to do as much as possible to make The Ashby Stage a “green theatre”. In 2007 one of our board members suggested a truly innovative idea: to convert The Ashby Stage to solar power. Within one year we raised the funds to install 88 solar panels on our building, making The Ashby Stage the first 100% solar powered live theatre in the country.
We didn’t stop there. We began composting, replaced our light bulbs with green certified elements and received our Green Building Certification in 2010. We also eliminated bottled water from our concessions; we now offer filtered water free of charge. Shotgun Players also serves all beverages in glass containers so that we are no longer reliant on plastic cups. We strive to make an impact with our work; we also strive to reduce the impact of our carbon footprint as a company. Shotgun Players is proud to be a leader in the arts community and an example of what we can all do to protect our environment.
Karen McKevitt, former editor of Theatre Bay Area Magazine, wrote the following regarding our company: “With its seasonal mix of classic and daring new work – coupled with the fact that it is well supported by the Berkeley community – Shotgun is poised to become, I believe, one of the top flagship Bay Area theatre companies in the next decade.”
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