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 community outreach.

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.

  Shotgun Players | 1901 Ashby Avenue | Berkeley, CA 94703 | 510-841-6500