The Thunderbird Theatre Company is a collective of writers, actors, stage technicians and others in San Francisco who have joined together to produce original comedic stage plays. We aspire to bring audiences to tears of laughter.
When was the Thunderbird Theatre Company founded?
The Thunderbird Theatre Company began producing original staged productions in San Francisco in spring, 1998.
How did it form?
A group of friends, who met in Chico, California’s rich Theatre community, caught up with each other in San Francisco and decided to stop saying, “we should get together and do some Theatre sometime,” and just make it happen. That group of friends – Martin Chavira, Christy (West) Gomez, Kathy Hicks and Bryce Allemann – gathered for the first official meeting at the Blue Danube café on Clement street in San Francisco in the spring 1998.
At the meeting, everyone agreed they wanted to produce original works.
Who were the creators and some of the first people to join?
The founding members are Martin Chavira, Christy (West) Gomez, Kathy Hicks and Bryce Allemann.
More people quickly climbed on board to form the core of the group. This is included Crissy (Follmann) Chavira and Dawn Roth who, like the founders, were also transplants from Chico, California.
Patrick Musni soon joined as our technical director and designer. He was our first member who hadn’t lived in Chico. Thanks to Dawn’s friendship and extensive work with Patrick at the San Francisco Opera, she knew he’d be an invaluable addition to our team.
The first actor we asked to participate was the wonderful and talented Susan Gard.
Once the idea and scope of our first production were formed, friends, co-workers and others began to express an interest, and offered to act, direct, write and help back stage.
Why did you form your own Theatre company?
We were new to San Francisco and wanted to do theatre. Unfortunately no one was doing the type of theatre that we wanted to do. The only solution was for us to start our own company and produce the type of theatre we were interested in. We were lucky enough to find other artists who liked the style of theatre we were producing. It was through their contributions that the Thunderbird managed to stay fresh (and smelling great).
Where did the name come from?
We came up with Thunderbird Theatre Company after deciding on our first production, a 1950s pulp-style show. We wanted to reflect the style of that production, and also show our appreciation for Chico, California, where most of us had met. In downtown Chico there is a motel called the Thunderbird Lodge.
In the quaint downtown area, the motel’s neon sign makes it stand out as a landmark. For a short time, we considered using the name Thunderbird Motor Inn.
What theaters have you played in?
Our first show played at the now gone Jewel Theatre on Geary street in San Francisco. Since then, we’ve also performed at San Francisco’s Bannam Place Theatre, the New Langton Arts, the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, the EXIT Theatre and, of course, the Phoenix Theatre. Also, we’ve done several shows at the Blue Room Theatre in Chico, California.