Stage Left

Stage Left is a brisk and brow-raising documentary film in celebration of a unique theater community. Inspired by a Western history of risk taking and exploration, a climate of political and social activism, a particular multicultural mix, and a geography that is seismically unstable, San Francisco theater artists have focused on pushing the boundaries of the form. Their interest in redefining performance—where it takes place, how it is staged, and what it encompasses—has had a lasting influence on theater in the United States and around the world. Stage Left brings together the directors, actors, composers and playwrights, the artists and the eccentrics that have made the Bay Area theater scene an experimental, multidisciplinary and political hotbed: Herbert Blau (Actor’s Workshop), R.G. Davis (SF Mime Troupe), Peter Coyote (actor), Joan Holden (SF Mime Troupe), Luis Valdez (El Teatro Campesino), Bill Irwin (Pickle Family Circus), Robin Williams (actor), Oskar Eustis (Eureka Theater, The Public Theater), Tony Taccone (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Carey Perloff (American Conservatory Theater), Scrumbly Koldewyn (the Cockettes) and many more.

It was moving and fascinating to watch the history of Bay Area theater unfold — so many beloved faces and so much I didn’t already know. In particular I loved the first 20 minutes, as I am so close to the Pickles and the Mime Troupe folks and loved seeing their early days. ~ Carey Perloff



Stage Left screened on public television stations around the country. Visit the Screenings page for more information on 2013 – 2014 Airdates.

Stage Left nominated for a Northern CA Emmy® Award! The Emmy® Award is presented for outstanding achievement in television by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). San Francisco/ Northern California is one of the twenty chapters awarding regional Emmy® statuettes. Northern California is composed of media companies and individuals from Visalia to the Oregon border and includes Hawaii and Reno, Nevada. Entries were aired during the 2012 calendar year.

Stage Left wins Best California Film at the California Film Awards.

Read about Stage Left at KQED Arts. “Deftly organized and edited, Stage Left gracefully weaves in every important movement and company without us ever feeling that a (politically correct) box is being checked off.” Article by Michael Fox.

Read about Stage Left in the Bay Area Reporter. “Stage Left is about what came before, when San Francisco was a petri dish that had a magnetism in a national culture transitioning away from lockstep conformity.” Article by Richard Dodds.

Read about Stage Left in the San Francisco Chronicle. “When making a documentary about the history of theater in the Bay Area, you have to expect a little drama. Maybe even a lot.” Article by Chad Jones.

Read about Stage Left in Variety. “Stage Left is a valuable record of regional innovation… an entertaining documentary mixing intriguing archival materials with explanatory insights from observers on both sides of the footlights… with some footage that leaves one begging for more.” Review by Dennis Harvey.