The mission of EXIT Theatre is to develop theater artists by providing opportunities to perform. Our focus is on providing open access opportunities for all theater artists so they can develop and experiment. We do this by commissioning, developing and producing new plays; providing production support and low cost theater rentals to small companies; hosting theaters and playwrights-in-residence; and by producing the San Francisco Fringe Festival, the largest grass roots theater festival in the Bay Area.
We operate five storefront theaters, with a total of 300 seats, in the Tenderloin district of downtown San Francisco. Our theaters range in size from 25 seats to 80 seats and annually host 100 independent theater companies.
EXIT Theatre was founded on Eddy Street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in 1983 when a group of method actors and retired vaudevillians came together under artistic director Christina Augello to perform a new play in the lobby of a residential hotel and passed the hat for funding. The local alternative press has named EXIT Theatre “Best Local Venue”, “Best (3,000 miles) Off-Broadway Theater”, “Best Off-Beat Theatre” and the artistic director has been named “Best Producer” and “Working Woman of the Year.”
Christina Augello is the founder and artistic director of EXIT Theatre and is an actress, arts activist and arts administrator. She has been involved with American theater for over 50 years, growing up in the 1950s as the daughter of the proprietor of a famous theater saloon and piano bar in the theater district of downtown Buffalo. In the 1960s she performed in high school theater, CYO competition plays and avant garde storefront theater in her hometown before hitch hiking cross country to San Francisco. There she founded several cooperative and women owned businesses in the Haight Ashbury while pursuing acting. In the 1970s she performed at the original Intersection for the Arts in North Beach, the first ever theatrical production at Theatre Artaud, at the Oakland Ensemble Theatre, at the Poverty Theatre and other venues. She has studied acting with Wendell Phillips, Eric Morris, Stephanie Priest and Phillip Pernaud. In 1983 she founded EXIT Theatre, in 1992 she founded the San Francisco Fringe Festival, in 2002 she founded DIVAfest and in 2007 she co-founded FRIGID New York. She was appointed by the Board of Supervisors as the small arts representative to the San Francisco Cultural Affairs Task Force, served on Theatre Bay Area’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee and was honored as Working Women of the Year. She has performed as part of various ensembles and toured her one-women shows around the world, including performances in Prague, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Victoria, Edinburgh, New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. She has dedicated her life to creating and supporting small independent theater.
Richard Livingston is the managing director of EXIT Theatre. For over 40 years he has directed innovative non-profit organizations in San Francisco including in the 1960s the pioneer youth organization Huckleberry House, in the 1970s the ex-offender organization Reality House West,where he co-curated the first statewide exhibit of California prisoner art, and the Cadillac Hotel, the original non-profit owned residential hotel in San Francisco. In the 1980s he was a fellow at the San Francisco Foundation and then helped create and for over twenty years was the executive director of the Myrtle Fitschen Charitable Trust, which provided millions of dollars in small grants to aid elderly residents of San Francisco. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the San Francisco Citizens Advisory Committee on Open Space, which he co-chaired and in the Tenderloin neighborhood he founded many community development, advocacy and refugee organizations, for which he received the Daniel Koshland Civic Unity Award from the San Francisco Foundation. Since 1983 he has been managing director of EXIT Theatre, responsible for its administration.
Amanda Ortmayer is the production manager of EXIT Theatre, the San Francisco Fringe Festival and DIVAfest. She studied theater at Sonoma State and has designed for various theatrical productions and festivals in Sonoma County and San Francisco.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Geoffrey Link, President
FINANCES AND ADMINISTRATION
EXIT Theatre (incorporated as EXITheatre) is a nonprofit tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revue Service. Tax returns for recent years are available at www.guidestar.org.
156 Eddy Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Christina Augello, artistic director