TheatreFirst reboots

Oakland’s TheatreFirst, the intrepid troupe led by founding artistic director Clive Chafer that has managed some fantastic shows in the face of an impossibly nomadic existence, is moving into the next phase of its existence.

Chafer is stepping down as artistic director and Dylan Russell and Allison Studdiford are stepping in as the new artistic and producing team.

The management change comes along with news that TheatreFirst is in negotiation for a permanent theater space in the Uptown Arts District of Oakland near the Paramount Theatre.

“This was the perfect opportunity to hand over to new leadership,” Chafer said in a statement. “I have been at the helm since 1993, and it’s time for a new vision to guide the company on the next stage of its journey.”

Russell has been a freelance director in the Bay Area and directed two TheatreFirst productions: World Music and last spring’s Future Me. Studdiford has been acting in the Bay Area for 25 years and has worked with TheatreFirst in Future Me, Death and the Maiden and Racing Demon.

“TheatreFirst could not be in better hands,” Chafer said.

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