Z Space, one of the nation’s leading laboratories for the development of new theater works, celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 2013. Among the artistic highlights of this anniversary year are world premiere works by Word for Word, Mugwumpin, Joe Goode Performance Group, Margo Hall & Marcus Shelby, and a 20th Anniversary gala featuring new works by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Mark Jackson, among others. Z Space will also bring back its offbeat fundraiser, RentWalk, for which Z Space’s visionary founder David Dower will return to San Francisco.
Z Space has roots in a collective of theater artists (The Zuni Collective) who came together while working at San Francisco’s popular Zuni Café. The Collective, formed in 1987, developed a devoted following for its provocative productions of challenging scripts. Six years later, in 1993, the collective disbanded and Dower, one of its members, founded Z Space in an effort to support a large and evolving community of Bay Area theater artists.
Operating out of a studio in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, Z Space provided developmental support to theater artists and produced plays at theaters and venues throughout the city. When Dower left Z Space to become Artistic Associate at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage, producer Lisa Steindler was appointed Artistic Director.
Shortly thereafter, in 2009, Z Space secured a long-term lease to Theater Artaud, a 13,000-square-foot theater space located in the Mission District, allowing the organization to deepen its support to the artistic community in San Francisco. Today Z Space is the thriving home to more than 40 weeks of public multidisciplinary arts programming a year, and actively commissions, develops, and produces works from a variety of disciplines, including theater, dance, visual art, music, and performance art.
Among Z Space’s signature programs are Z Space New Work, a development program that supports artists and ensembles from conception to completion, Word for Word, an in-house theater company that transforms works of literature verbatim to the stage, and Youth Arts, Z Space’s outreach to schools, promoting literacy and engaging students’ creativity.
“The years I have been with Z Space have been some of the most satisfying times for me as an Artistic Director – it’s been an exhilarating ride with an organization that I respect and appreciate,” said Steindler. “The combination of Z Space’s mission and history offers a singular opportunity to fuel the San Francisco arts community, and the audiences and patrons who value it. Being a part of that community is humbling and outrageously exciting.”
Z Space’s 20th anniversary programs include:
Word for Word: You Know When the Men Are Gone “The Last Stand” and “Gold Star” by Siobhan Fallon
January 31 – February 24, 2013
Word for Word, a program of Z Space, gives its signature theatrical treatment to Siobhan Fallon’s gripping portrayal of the home front during the Iraq War, You Know When the Men Are Gone. The two interconnected stories, “The Last Stand” and “Gold Star,” show experiences of war – how those who are left behind to carry on survive their daily lives, as well as what it’s like for the wounded vet “returning to normal.” Word for Word’s ensemble is charged with the mission to tell great stories with elegant theatricality, staging performances of classic and contemporary fiction. Founded in 1993 by Susan Harloe and JoAnne Winter, Word for Word believes in the power of the short story to provide solace, compassion, and insight into our daily lives.
Mugwumpin: The Great Big Also
Directed by Christopher W. White
March 7 – 24, 2013 Award-winning theater ensemble Mugwumpin returns to Z Space in March with its unique blend of bracingly original staging, precise physicality, and sharp-toothed humor. Inspired by the riotous variety of prophetic movements throughout America’s history, Mugwumpin’s immersive performance escorts the audience through an unstable terrain of wrought-iron certainty and gnawing doubt. The ensemble brings its unsettlingly humorous and clear-eyed view to examine what America has promised us and what is asked of us in return.
May 18, 2013
After a five-year hiatus, Z Space is bringing back its favorite fundraiser, RentWalk. Participants will start at Fort Mason and wind their way to Baker Beach, the site of the first Z Space public performance. It’s a beautiful walk followed by a beach barbecue, in the company of actors, playwrights, dancers and artists of all stripes. Z Space founder David Dower returns to San Francisco for this special event.
Word for Word: Sodality: A Celebration of Stories by Zona Gale
August 15 – September 8, 2013
The Word for Word Charter Members come together to present stories from the acclaimed author Zona Gale (the first female to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama). These are stories about a small American town in the beginning of the last century, that speak of the “sodality” of women, of community, democracy and of a group that has been together for many years in good times and bad. Among the stories features will be “The Face of Friendship Village” which centers on election day in the village, the women’s frustration at seeing how the men take their democratic right for granted, and at not being able to take participate.
Joe Goode Performance Group: Hush
September 26 – October 6, 2013
Z Space reprises its partnership with dance theater visionary Joe Goode and Joe Goode Performance Group. This time Goode is integrating his unique style of dance theater with Foley effects via a collaboration with sound effects artist Sudhu Tewari. A meditation on belonging and the various ways we are “hushed” as we are marginalized in society, Hush combines dance, visual effects and innovative ambient sound techniques drawn from film.
Z Space’s Fundraising Gala
October 10, 2013
Z Space hosts a 20th Anniversary fundraising gala featuring three new commissioned works: two short plays and one story. Z Space Playwright in Residence Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and actor, director and playwright Mark Jackson, who was just named theater’s MVP of 2012 in the San Francisco Chronicle, are among the writers who will contribute new works.
Title TBD: A new work by jazz composer Marcus Shelby and actress Margo Hall
November 8 – 24, 2013
Z Space is currently working with jazz composer / bandleader Marcus Shelby and actress Margo Hall on a theatrical work based on Hall’s childhood growing up in Detroit. This work-in-progress will draw on Hall’s father’s work as a bandleader and feature original compositions by Shelby, with an original score performed live by The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra.
All events take place at:
450 Florida Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tickets and more information available at www.zspace.org