Welcome to the Asawa SOTA Theatre Department!


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Theatre Department Staff

2020-             Matthew Travisano, Director

2018-2020     Elizabeth Carter, Director

1990 - 2018   Phillip Rayher, Director
1982 - 1989   Lewis Campbell, Director

Illinois schoolteacher Harmony Green has told her fourth grade class that Menard County's most beloved homegrown hero, Abraham Lincoln, was gay. When Honest Abe is "outed" in a reimagined Christmas pageant, controversy and chaos engulf the town. As the trial of the century begins, big-city reporters and Congressional candidates descend, and family skeletons are forced out of the closet. Top hats and beards abound in this hilarious, poignant, and timely look at prejudice past and present.


2020 Vision: an anthology of advanced class plays: Haun, Aren: 9798649644129: Amazon.com: Books
 An anthology of plays by the class of 2020 at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts. Love, danger, and a mystery. Detective Dan has been waiting for a new case. A relic of a bygone era, where all that mattered was the mystery. (It Was a Cold Winter Night… by Owen Berry). A crook tries to rob a helpless girl whose engagement was broken off a few hours earlier. (If I Were a Rich Man by Tiana Bishop). Two petitioners’ argument escalates into chaos when they can’t decide who should stay on a street corner. ((Com)petition by Sophie Bobadilla). A seemingly high stakes, end of the world, adventure turns out to be an innocent game between siblings. (It’s the End of the World by Gracyn Garrett). Kenny and his uncle Michael have the experience of a lifetime in a Lush store. Inspired by true events. (Aromatherapy by Tessa Holtzman). 13 year old Mia and her father’s girlfriend, Amelia, attempt to celebrate Mia’s birthday at a hotel near Disneyland but end up discussing and bonding over their bleak pasts. (15 Miles From the Happiest Place On Earth by Tessa Holtzman). In a world where adults act like children, and children act like adults, two 5 year olds imagine their future selves. Will they be disappointed when they meet again? (Recess is Too Short by Natasha Janowski). A hair-do turns into a hair-don’t when a great heist at Whole Foods goes completely south for besties Katherine and Joanne. (Feeling Whole by Finbar La Belle). A b-list celebrity’s career is at stake after his manager mother alerts the paparazzi of his shady behavior. (The Dangers of Twitter and Ginger Shots by Kayla Mak). A phobic man bursts into a frantic meltdown as his wife drags him to his dreaded dentist appointment. (The D Word by Kayla Mak). Two rival Mafia groups face off but end up finding more in common than they imagined. (European Mafia by Abigail Mills). What happens when two child detectives stumble across a real-life murder? The Downey Detective Agency is on the case! (Downey Detective Agency by Sarah Mitrani). When Bryce goes to the doctor and refuses to get a shot things take an unexpected turn. (Angry Birds by Chava Novodgrodsky-Godt). An unlikely trio ends up together on a school camping trip. When two of them break the rules and unlikely hero saves the day. (Drug Monster by Chava Novodgrodsky-Godt). Two high school juniors argue about scootering, filming, and girlfriends. Things get tense when one has a weird secret about his love life. (What a Character! by Michael Shagalov). A couple in their mid 20’s is awaiting breakfast in their getaway suite when they find out their room has more than just service issues. (At the Hotel by Michael Shagalov). Tobias, a troubled teen is caught cheating on hw and is confronted at dinner. What other secrets will unfold at the dinner table tonight? (Oh Tobias by David Zavala). Aaron and Claire a couple get into a confrontation of Claire's constant lying. The couple tries to make up with sex, will it work? (Sex Is For Normies by David Zavala)
All profits will benefit the Drama Department at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco.

Department Mat Room

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555 Portola Drive • San Francisco, CA 94131
(The Studio Theatre is located on the Quad Level across from the Main Building)

Join the Theatre Department for the exciting season we are planning!  ​

Tickets: Adults $15  • Students (K-12) $7 • Seniors (65+) & Alumni $10 • Season Passes Accepted • Tickets also available at the Box Office 30 minutes prior to curtain.

Goodbye to  Director of the Theatre Department Elizabeth Carter.

Elizabeth is thrilled to take on a new role as Director of the Theatre Department. She first joined Asawa School of the Arts as a Guest Judge for the 2003 Shakespeare Evening contest. Later she joined the department  as an Artist in Residence in the 2004-2005 school year, teaching Voice and Shakespeare where she had remained as a core part of the staff for the past 14 years. Elizabeth's has also performed with numerous Bay Area theaters over the past 25 years including California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Magic Theatre, Word for Word, Aurora Theatre Co, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Shotgun Players and TheatreWorks amongst others. A graduate of Mills College with a BA in Dramatic Arts, she also studied in London with teachers from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her favorite roles include Rose in Fences,  Mistress Ford in Merry Wives of Winsor, and Agnes in Agnes of God, Mai Tamba in the Convert, Millie in Aurora Theatre Co’s Trouble in Mind, which won 6 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, and most recently Carina in Eureka Day!. She has been nominated for several TBA Awards and BACC Awards as well as being featured in Theatre Bay Area Magazine as someone to Keep An Eye On.  As a director Elizabeth enjoys new works and has helmed projects for ACT, TheatreFirst, AlterTheatre, and African American Shakespeare Co. Her teaching career has led her to work with students from of all ages from Kindergarten to adults actors, and has trained teachers in alternative ways to access literature through theater. She has spent the last 23 years teaching acting, voice and Shakespeare performance across the Bay Area for companies such as California Shakespeare Theatre, Berkeley Rep and Brava! For Women in the Arts. She was also the Education Director for the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre.

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About the Theatre Department

Congratulations to Lucas Baisch, Asawa SOTA Theatre Department class of 2010 for winning this year’s The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust Playwright Award on .Dec 21, 2020. As a winner he will receive a $10,000 prize. The annual award which recognizes an early-to-mid-career playwright. He was also the March 2018 “6 Theatre Workers You Should Know” in the American Theatre Magazine. He was one of the youngest playwrights ever commissioned by Goodman Theater’s Playwrights Unit.

2020 Senior Class

Congratulations to Michelle Selene Ang (Theatre ’12)  for being cast as Courtney Crimson in the new Netflix Series ’13 Reasons Why’. Click here to watch!

Ruth Asawa San Francisco

School of the Arts Theatre Department

Sorry, we have no group picture of 2020 Theatre Department graduates as we had no graduation ceremony!

2017-2018 Theatre Department Facilities

Calendars & Schedules

Congratulations to our 30th annual Shakespeare Night monologue and sonnet competition! 1st place Helena Chuang, 2nd place (3rd from left), Tessa Holtzman (center) , and 3rd place David Zavala! (2nd from left). Special thanks to our accomplished judges Eric Ting (Artist Director of Cal Shakes, left), Rebecca Ennals (Artistic Director of SF Shakes/Free Shakespeare in the Park, 2nd from right)) and Jomar Tagatac ( Actor and TBA Award recipient, right).

Matthew Travisano returns to Asawa SOTA after many years away. He  just joined the faculty of the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts (SOTA) in San Francisco as the director of both the Musical Theatre and Theatre programs and a member of the English Department Faculty. He was the Artistic Director and formerly the Chair of the Theatre program at Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) where he was also on the faculty of the English and Social Science Departments.

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