THE MISSION OF THEATRE RHINOCEROS
is to develop and produce works of theatre that enlighten, enrich, and explore both the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of our queer community.

The People Behind Theatre Rhinoceros

Administration

John Fisher

Executive Director

John Fisher (Executive Director) is a playwright, director, actor and teacher.

John Fisher, Executive DirectorRecent play writing credits include his play Shakespeare Goes to War (nominated for six 2016 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards) and To Sleep and Dream (2014 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Script) as well as his direction of and acting in the Theatre Bay Area Award-winning production of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art and the TBA Recommended Production of Breaking the Code (nominated for five 2016 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards.)

In the 2014-15 season John also directed the West Coast Premiere of David Mamet’s The Anarchist.

John’s plays include The Joy of Gay Sex, which was produced Off-Broadway, and Medea: The Musical, which was produced as a part of the HBO Comedy Arts Festival and ran for eighteen months in its original San Francisco production.

John is a two-time winner of the Will Glickman Playwright Award, and a recipient of two NEA Project Grants, an SF Arts Commission Grant, a GLAAD Media Award for Best L.A. Theatre, two L.A. Weekly Awards, a Garland Award, two Cable Car Awards, a San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie Award, and five Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards.

He holds a Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from UC Berkeley and has taught at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, A.C.T. and at the Yale School of Drama. Recent work includes SexRev: The José Sarria Experience, a Theatre Rhino production at CounterPULSE. Recent directing projects include A Lady and Woman at the Eureka Theatre and Food Stories for Word-for-Word.

Since 2003 John has been Executive/Artistic Director of the GLAAD Media Award Winning Theatre Rhinoceros, the longest running LGBT theatre in the nation.

Joseph Tally

Development Director/
Assistant to the Executive Director

Joseph Talley, Assistant to the Executive Director

Saucybooks Professional Bookkeeping

Bookkeeper

The Board of Directors

Josh Dunsby, PhD

President

Josh Dunsby, PhD

Kim Larsen

Vice President

Kim Larsen

James McCunn

Treasurer

James McCunn

Arya Kamangar

Secretary

Arya Kamangar

Jeremy Laurin

Development Chair

Jeremy Laurin

Catherine Brannigan

Member of the Board

Catherine Brannigan

Lawrence Dillon

Member of the Board

Ely Qrquiza

Member of the Board

Ely Orquiza

Craig Souza

Member of the Board

Craig Souza

The Story of the Longest-Running Queer Theater in the World

Theatre Rhinoceros, the world’s longest-running continuously producing professional queer theater, was founded in San Francisco, in August 1977, by the late Allan B. Estes, Jr. Its first play, The West Street Gang by Doric Wilson, was staged in a South of Market leather bar, The Black and Blue.

The production was so successful it provided the impetus for a move to The Rhino’s first home in the Goodman Building on Geary Blvd., where The Rhino produced until 1981. From 1977 until 1984, Estes and Theatre Rhinoceros produced works by New York writers that included Doric Wilson, Robert Patrick, Lanford Wilson, Terrence McNally, and Harvey Fierstein (including the one-acts—“The International Stud” and “Fugue in a Nursery”— that become part of his 1983 Tony Award-winning play A Torch Song Trilogy), as well as several San Francisco playwrights including C.D. Arnold, Robert Chesley, Cal Youmans, Philip Real, and Dan Curzon. Audiences also experienced the works of several lesbian writers, among them Pat Bond, Jane Chambers, and Adele Prandini. This period of growth led to a move in 1981 to the Mission District’s historic Redstone Building.

In 1984, Theatre Rhinoceros was catalyzed by two significant events: Estes’ death from AIDS and the premiere of The AIDS Show: Artists Involved with Death and Survival, a ground-breaking work co-authored by twenty San Francisco Bay Area artists. This play was the first work by any theater company in the nation to deal with the AIDS epidemic, and brought The Rhino national attention. Directed by Leland Moss and Doug Holsclaw, the show ran for two years, toured the United Sates, and was the subject of a 1987 PBS documentary, directed by Academy Award-winners Rob Epstein and Peter Adair, and garnered a 1987 Media Award from the Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Artists.

Under the artistic direction of Kristine Gannon (1984-1987), The Rhino flourished as it continued to realize Estes’ vision of a theater for both gays and lesbians. Committed to exploring the impact of AIDS on the gay community, The Rhino produced several important new plays, including Doug Holsclaw’s Life of the Party and The Baddest of Boys, Leland Moss’s Quisbies, Robert Pitman’s Passing, Anthony Bruno’s Soul Survivor, and the Henry Mach–Paul Katz musical Dirty Dreams of a Clean-Cut Kid. Charles Solomon (1987-1988) and Kenneth R. Dixon (1988-1990), the first African-American to run a non-African-American theatre, expanded The Rhino’s boundaries of inclusiveness by staging a production of African-American playwright Eve Powell’s Going to Seed, Cherie Moraga’s Giving Up the Ghost, and a historic inter-racial production of Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band.

Artistic Director Adele Prandini (1990-1999) solidified the Rhino’s reputation for diversity and artistic quality with works by Chay Yew, Guillermo Reyes, Wayne Corbitt, Sara Felder, The Five Lesbian Brothers, Split Britches and Bloolips. The company forged partnerships with many groups, including Luna Sea, Teatro de la Esperanza, Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience, The Asian AIDS Project and the Latino/a AIDS Festival. It received commendations from the City of Berkeley, the City and County of San Francisco, and the State of California on its fifteenth and twentieth anniversaries.

Theatre Rhinoceros Wins a 2008 GLAAD Media Award

Slideshow of Pictures!