The San Francisco Playhouse – Where Culture And History Unfold

San Francisco's theatre district is a remarkable bubbling cauldron of culture. The many theatres found in the district all have unique stories, and they all seem to have a certain something that still speaks to us today. But here we're going to focus on the historic SF Playhouse.

The SF Playhouse is located in the heart of the city's cultural centre. But it isn't just another theatre in a city known for its culture. It's a true character in the vibrant and colourful story of San Francisco. The doors are wide open, so why don't we step inside and have a look to see what lies inside?


Discovering The San Francisco Playhouse

Discovering The San Francisco Playhouse

Even if you've never been here before, your first glance tells you that it's a historic theatre. The building stands out among the plain concrete structure of the city's downtown. Stepping inside, the interior feels cosy, with wooden panels and warm fabrics, and is decorated to make you feel right at home. Founded in 2003, the SF Playhouse is on a mission to become a continuously-expanding company with a focus on bringing playgoers top-quality productions found nowhere else in the city.

Here's a bonus — we've also heard they have a pretty great cocktail bar that you should visit before the show. And if there was ever a time to visit the SF Playhouse this year would be it, because 2017 marks the 15-year anniversary of its opening.

History of the SF Playhouse

Red Velvet

The SF Playhouse building wasn't always a theatre. In fact, it used to be part of the Elks Lodge! Back in the early 1980s a local architect transformed the building into the wonderful playhouse that it is today.

But its history goes back even further and can be traced to the mid-1920s. When you enter the building, it's easy to imagine that you have been transported back to the magical era when the theatre's Gothic architecture was new. This makes sense when you discover that the theater company has put significant effort into preserving the original 1920s feel of the building.

It was in 2012 that the SF Playhouse theater company moved to this location, where they now produce about nine plays each year. (The theater shares the building with the Kensington Park Hotel.) The company's productions are varied and range from Broadway musicals to contemporary plays with a stated aim "to provoke thoughts and discussions on subjects of self-awareness" and present stories that are intended to warm our hearts.

Performances Past & Present


The company's past productions include works like Neil Gaiman's Coraline, the timeless classic My Fair Lady, musical sensations like Into the Woods, and Broadway smashes such as Camelot. The 2016/2017 season was brilliant as well. There was The Roommate, a play about two middle-aged women who have to learn to deal with ageing and identity; and something just a bit darker, You Mean to Do Me Harm.

The 2017/2018 season features seven plays showing from September 2017 through to September 2018. The first play to kick off the new season is Washed Up on The Potomac written by Lynn Rosen. It tells the story of three proofreaders and the murder of one of their colleagues.

We could carry on about the wonderful productions to be seen here, but there is more to the SF Playhouse. Great plays and talented actors aren't the only thing that makes the theater worth a visit. One of its missions is to promote new plays and introduce theatre to young people who live the Bay Area. Some of their initiatives are specifically crafted to draw young people into the world of theatre. The Sandbox series, for instance, produces plays that are written and performed by newcomers, to show off their rising talents.


SF Playhouse Resources

If you're going to be here for a couple of days or more, you can be sure that a visit to the Playhouse will be a unique and memorable theatre experience unlike anything else in San Francisco. With so much history and passion, it's a place not to be missed. And, with the theatre in the heart of the buzzing and colourful Union Square, it's a short walking distance from other sights and some great restaurants.

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