Shotgun Players is a company of artists on a mission to create
bold, relevant, and affordable theatre. We believe in the power
of theatre as a mechanism for examining ourselves, our community,
and the world.
Founding Artistic Director Patrick Dooley started the company
in 1992 with ten eager actors and a bucket of black paint. Before
finding our permanent home at the Ashby Stage in 2004, Shotgun
Players performed in 44 different spaces, always striving for
the same core values we believe in today: artistic excellence,
social relevance, and community engagement. Now in our 21st
year, nothing excites us more than taking on projects that other
companies might deem too expensive, too unwieldy, or just plain
impossible. As a result, audience and industry members alike
have come to expect astonishing theatre from Shotgun Players.
Our commitment to new play development has made Shotgun Players
a vital part of the arts community in the Bay Area and beyond.
We commission at least one new play each season, and we celebrated
our 20th anniversary with an entire season of new works.
Keeping with this spirit of innovation, we encourage our playwrights
to dream big; we tackle everything from poetic dream plays about
the ghosts of our neighborhood to epic outdoor dramas featuring
dozens of actors and drum battles. We support these efforts
with a commitment to funding workshops that ensure each new
play has the necessary time and space for development.
Not surprisingly, many of our most successful productions have
been original works. In the last several years, both Dog
Act (2004) and Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage
(2008) were awarded the Will Glickman Award for Best New Play;
The Salt Plays Parts 1 and 2 (2010) as well as Phaedra
(2011) and God’s Plot (2011) were all nominees.
In 2011, San Francisco Weekly named Shotgun Players
Best Theater Company, and the last few years have seen original
works by company members regularly included in the San Francisco
Chronicle’s annual list of top ten productions.
We believe that it’s not enough to create exceptional
theatre; we’re also committed to making a difference in
our community. Shotgun Players is dedicated to keeping ticket
prices affordable, and we offer pay-what-you-can performances
for opening week of each production. Through our Make a Difference
Campaign, we give away over 1,000 tickets each year to students,
youth groups, seniors, and community organizations. We also
take pride in supporting local businesses: we feature goods
from our neighbors in our lobby, and we offer programming that
speaks directly to our neighbors by putting their stories onstage.
Supporting our neighbors is just as important as how we use
materials that impact our community. In 2007, Shotgun Players’
Ashby Stage became the first 100% solar-powered live theater
in the country. Since then, we have become a Green Certified
Business (www.greenbiz.ca.gov), and we work diligently to ensure
that the resources we use are returned to our neighbors via
At Shotgun Players, we are fiercely committed to producing provocative
and relevant theatre; equally important is providing the opportunity
for everyone to experience that theatre. In our ongoing mission
to create fearless art and become a force for change in the
community, our company now has over 20 artists, we’ve
produced over 100 plays, we have a full-time staff of five,
and we are supported by an active and passionate Board of Directors.