In The Beginning . . .
Left Coast Theatre Co. was formed in the spring of 2012 by Rodney “Rhoda” Taylor and Joseph Frank, two members of the successful gay men’s writing group, GuyWriters Playwrights. After working on several successful productions of the Eat Our Shorts series of short plays, Rodney and Joe left GuyWriters to create a new company with the broader mission of developing and producing new queer-themed plays written by local and national LGBT playwrights. To further LCTC’s development objective, Rodney and Joe began hosting monthly writing workshops for playwrights to hone their work in a judgement-free, constructive space.
In September of 2012, LCTC made its debut with Family Programming at the Shelton Theater in the bustling Union Square district of San Francisco. Family Programming featured seven short plays written by Bay Area playwrights as well as our first national submissions. These quirky, absurd, and over-the-top comedic shorts took audiences on a journey to discover the characters and characteristics of queer family life — both the chosen family and the family we were given. The 4-week run was a success with both audiences and critics alike.
LCTC continued building its reputation, its expertise and its group of contributing playwrights with I’m Not OK, Cupid in the fall of 2013 and Twisted Fairy Tales in the spring of 2014. Twisted Fairy Tales was not only a hit with critics and audiences, it went on to be recognized by Theatre Bay Area with a nomination as Best Anthology at the first-ever Theatre Bay Area Awards in November 2014.
For the 2014/2015 season, we presented two more anthologies. Shock & Awww and #WTFamily. Family has always been a fertile subject for our stories and we struck gold with #WTFamily. It was our most artistically complex anthology to date and earned us the Theatre Bay Area Award for Best Anthology for 2015.
Always striving to grow artistically, we took new – and very divergent – paths for our next shows. Screaming Queens, our first Halloween offering, brought an LGBT perspective to classic horror subjects from haunted houses to the Zombie Apocalypse. San Francisco, Here I Come! was our most challenging production to date. Whereas LCTC’s earlier shows had combined the best of the submissions received from writers in the Bay Area and beyond, SFHIC was the first LCTC production to be conceived and written in-house by our excellent and growing group of affiliated playwrights. Set in a single San Francisco apartment, SFHIC gave the audience six stories of LGBT experience from a noir-ish-1949 to a tech-crazed 2018 and explored the complicated relationship our community has with the City by the Bay. Critics deemed it “important” and a clear indication that LCTC was maturing in its writing, acting and production. Audiences laughed and cried and raved about the experience.
Recognition and Pride
When the nominations for the Theatre Bay Area Awards were announced in the fall of 2016, both Screaming Queens and San Francisco, Here I Come! were included in the Best Anthology category. We are proud of the work we have done in our first four years and are eager to take on new challenges in the future, which will include an expanded schedule and a move to a more permanent home at the iconic Shelton Theater.