HomeTheatreAMERICAN THEATRE | Bay Space’s PianoFight to Shut After 15 Years

AMERICAN THEATRE | Bay Space’s PianoFight to Shut After 15 Years


ShortLived VI, a brief play competition, at PianoFight in 2017. (Picture by Daniel Burke.)

SAN FRANCISCO and OAKLAND, CALIF.: PianoFight has introduced that its two venues will shut in March. The Bay Space establishment will host scheduled occasions, together with SF SketchFest, by means of March 18.

“After all it’s unhappy to shut, however we’re so grateful, and so pleased with what we’ve been in a position to do,” government director Dan Williams stated in an announcement. “We’ve hosted comedy, performs, music, dance, drag, magic, burlesque, circus, podcasts, movies, online game tournaments, and recreation exhibits. We stated sure to all the pieces as a result of we may, we needed to, and it was extra enjoyable than saying no.”

PianoFight started as a brand new works producing collective in 2007, evolving to venues in two cities with 4 phases, rehearsal studios, a restaurant and bar, workplace area, and an artwork gallery. PianoFight has generated $25 million for the native economic system and paid roughly $1.3 million on to Bay Space artists.

PianoFight’s authentic venue closed in 2011, however their present San Francisco location opened in 2014. The Oakland location opened in 2020 and has been the after-school house of center and highschool college students from the Oakland Faculty for the Arts. The corporate has additionally produced site-specific work within the Bay Space, toured California, and produced work in Los Angeles.

Along with SF SketchFest, PianoFight has been the house of Leela Improv Theatre, the SF Neo-Futurists, and the Previously Incarcerated Individuals’s Efficiency Venture, amongst different native theatre teams.

“PianoFight began as a result of we thought there might be a special and enjoyable means of doing issues,” inventive director Rob Prepared stated in an announcement. “We needed to decrease the barrier to entry so extra individuals may carry out and supply infrastructure so artists may give attention to artwork. We needed all that to be sustainable, and till COVID struck, it was.”

The pandemic floor PianoFight’s ahead momentum to a halt. In 2020, the San Francisco arts neighborhood raised $100,000 to assist PianoFight stay open by means of the yr, however the pandemic’s persistence affected operations prices too enormously.

“We made numerous assumptions concerning the pandemic, most of which ended up being unsuitable,” operations director Duncan Wold stated in an announcement. “Essentially the most off-base being that when we reopened, artists and audiences could be so hungry for dwell efficiency, the enterprise could be there. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.”

Wold stated that enterprise has hovered at 35 p.c of pre-pandemic ranges and that the venues hosted about 500 fewer exhibits in 2022 than in 2019.

“On a basic degree, PianoFight operated by simply saying sure to principally all the pieces,” Prepared stated. “We thought that SF wanted a spot the place somebody may present as much as see a world premiere play, seize dinner, catch a band after, and hang around with all of the artists within the bar—or be the individual making any of these. We really feel very lucky. This has been the expertise of a lifetime.”

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