Cowan Palace: The Woman Behind BOA 2013

Ashley Cowan asks Sara Staley a thing or two about BOA’s Program I and II.

It’s been a busy week for the Bay Area theatre scene. With plays opening, auditions on the horizon, and new works being brought to life, it’s a fun time to play for this artistic community’s team. The Bay One Act Festival officially began its run over the weekend and behind that magic is Producing Artistic Director, Sara Staley. Sara kindly agreed to answer a few questions in the midst of the excitement.

First things first! How did you first get involved with BOA (Bay One Acts Festival)?

I first directed for the Bay One Acts Festival in 2008 for Three Wise Monkeys Theatre, which is now just the name of the non-profit organization that is connected to BOA, and that founded the festival. The festival was helmed by Richard Bernier (who passed away in 2010), and held at the Eureka Theater for many years.

Out of all the many hats you’ve worn being involved with the festival in the past, which has been your favorite?

As Producing Artistic Director for the first time in this BOA go round, I really enjoyed the process of selecting plays (with the help of my BOA Lit. Committee), coming up with an engaging and dynamic line-up for both BOA programs, and then having so many great “page to the stage” moments during final dress rehearsals. And it’s all because of this talented and dedicated BOA 2013 company.

How is this year different than BOA festivals of the past?

We have a new venue at Tides Theatre and many of our 13 Producing Partner theater companies, directors, playwrights, actors and production staff are involved in BOA for the very first time. We have new to the bay area theater companies on board, and we have BOA actors like Siobhan Doherty and Brian Trybom, who are directing for BOA for the first time. So there is a mix of old and new, different but the same.

What is something about this year’s festival we may not know? (Keep in mind, a lot of us have done our fair share of facebook stalking and would love a juicy scoop!)

Well, for you Theater Pub beverage lovers, Rob Ready stocked our concessions at Tides Theatre, so we are ready to serve you. AND we have Kirsten Broadbear covering a lot of BOA bases with graces as my Festival Coordinator AND she’ll be running concessions for Program One AND understudying TWO roles in TWO plays on Thursday in Program TWO. So get your tickets now because they are only $13 (shameless plug).

Cheers to that, those are my favorite plugs! Now, everyone always wants to talk about women in the industry, am I right? And how there continues to be a lack of opportunity for us lady-folk. As a woman in charge of a huge theatrical festival, do you have any observations or words of wisdom to share on the topic?

Well, I can say that I am proud of the diversity of BOA 2013 across the board from playwrights, to directors, cast, to our production team, which does happen to be all female. I feel like opportunity should be given to those who want to do engaging or innovative work, or tell a story that needs to be told, or support artists and community in a positive and productive way, regardless of their gender, color, or sexual orientation.

What’s the biggest surprise you’ve encountered while working on this show?

There was a surprising connectedness in the themes of the plays, and I had to see both programs open this weekend and I had to see the work on stage to really see those common threads come to the surface. There were obvious theme connections that drew me to the 13 plays in BOA 2013, but there was another connection that formed between direction, vision, risk taking, vulnerability, humor, fear, loss, and magic that connected the programs together in way that was pretty unexpected for me. You’ll have to come see both programs of BOA 2013 to find your own connections. 😉

In ten words (or less), what can we expect to see at this year’s festival?

Thirteen new plays, thirteen theater companies, one BIG BOA 2013.

Many thanks to Sara for giving us a moment of her time! Between a stocked concessions stand, new plays, and ultimately, a celebration of Bay Area theatre, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to be a part of BOA 2013. Now running through October 5 at the Tides Theatre (533 Sutter Street, San Francisco). For more information, check out: bayoneacts.org or https://www.facebook.com/bayoneacts.

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One comment on “Cowan Palace: The Woman Behind BOA 2013

  1. […] of the realities of the stark gender ratios in theatre. BOA Artistic Director Sara Staley pointed out in an interview with Ashley Cowan that the production team for BOA 2013 is all female. Thus, it seems reactionary rather than […]

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