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The Marsh's vision is to give artists the venue and tools to develop their "voice." At The Marsh, the First Amendment is a living practice, supporting freedom of speech by finding a way to say yes to the stories of our times. The Marsh also seeks a diversity of voices and stories as part of its commitment to "citizen performers"-- people who have not had a luxury of life in the arts but have an important, often little-heard piece of our collective story to tell. And through all this we have built a wonderful community of artists and teachers.
The Marsh, develops new performance. Located in San Francisco, The Marsh has lived up to its moniker as a breeding ground for new performance and has grown into one of the Bay Area's most visible and highly respected performance venues. Each year, through its developing work series and mainstage performances, The Marsh presents nearly 400 performances on its two stages.
Founded in 1989 by its current Artistic Director, Stephanie Weisman, The Marsh came out of several months that she spent living near a marsh, writing and watching the landscape's rich interplay, a perfect metaphor for artistic development in the urban environment.
Work developed at The Marsh has received local, national and international critical acclaim and has moved on to venues across the country and abroad. In fact, this year, productions developed and premiered at The Marsh received The Will Glickman Award For Best New Play (Dan Hoyle's Tings Dey Happen), the Critics Circle Award for Best New Solo Play (John O'Keefe's adaptation of Walt Whitman's Song of Myself), the National Harmony Award for Musical Theater (Marsh Youth Theater's production of Jip, His Story). Other premieres include performances by: Marga Gomez, Brian Freeman, Josh Kornbluth, Brian Copeland, Ron Jones, Liebe Wetzel and Charlie Varon, also receiving awards including two past Will Glickman Playwright Awards, Bay Area Critic's Circle and Dramalogue Awards and the American Theater Critics Association Osborn Award.
In addition to its developing work and mainstage performance series, The Marsh offers a year-round roster of classes, an artist-in-residency program and its newest program, the Marsh Performance Initiative, provides a nine-month workshop to both develop full-length performances and teach the business of theater culminating in a Festival of New Voices.
The Marsh also has a vibrant multi-arts children's program, Marsh Youth Theater, which is open to all children regardless of financial resources. In addition to its MainStage performances and classes, Marsh Youth Theater presented its first family holiday show in December with its own version of Siddhartha: The Bright Path.