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Campo Santo | Intersection for the Arts

Campo Santo

Campo Santo is the resident theater company at Intersection for the Arts. Founded in 1996 by Margo Hall, Luís Saguar, Michael Torres and Sean San José, Campo Santo is now entering its 15th year, having produced more than 45 critically acclaimed premiere productions under Executive Director Deborah Cullinan. Campo Santo works in long-term relationships with writers of all genres—poets, novelists, and screenwriters as well as playwrights—to develop and create new works for the stage. Intersection and Campo Santo have developed the first plays by many of our great contemporary writers, including Jimmy Baca, Jorge Cortiñas, Junot Díaz, Dave Eggers, Chinaka Hodge, Denis Johnson, Greg Sarris, Luís Saguar, Vendela Vida, and others. They have also developed and produced multiple new plays in their ongoing relationships with Philip Kan Gotanda, Jessica Hagedorn, Naomi Iizuka, Octavio Solis, Erin Cressida Wilson, and more—most recently the first play from Chinaka Hodge, Mirrors in Every Corner, the latest theater piece helmed by Cherrie Moraga, La Semilla Caminante, and Habibi, the debut play by Sharif Abu-Hamdeh. Nobody Move is the first of Campo Santo’s new plays exploring and performing in a variety of spaces—theater and non-theater spaces—including works with Junot Díaz (Pura Principle), Dennis Kim (Tree City Legends), Luis Alfaro (Alleluia, The Road), Felonious (1st element) and Richard Montoya from Culture Clash (The River).

Sean San José (project director, program director: theater) is a native of San Francisco, of mainly Filipino and Puerto Rican background. San José is a writer, director, performer and the program director of theater for Intersection for the Arts. He has produced and overseen more than 75 premiere productions of theater, dance, and interdisciplinary performances. He is also the program director and one of the co-founders of Campo Santo. He was the creator and project director of Alma Delfina Group–Teatro Contra el SIDA (1994–2002) and Pieces of the Quilt, a collection of more than 50 short plays, including original works by Rhodessa Jones, Danny Hoch, Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Maria Irene Fornes, David Henry Hwang, Craig Lucas, Tony Kushner, Herbert Sigüenza, Migdalia Cruz, and many others who confronted AIDS in their works. The plays were written to be performed solely as benefit, with productions in clinics and community centers in addition to the theater premiere at the Magic Theater in 1996—where all single ticket sales went to AIDS service organizations. Select projects include: creating and directing an original production based on The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel by Junot Díaz; creating and directing A Place To Stand, an original production from the poetry and prose of Jimmy Baca and Ntozake Shange; and co-writing with Naomi Iizuka an original production, Hamlet: Blood in the Brain. Recently, San José has joined the board of directors of Theater Communications Group; taught and directed as an artist in residence in the department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at U.C. Berkeley; and received with Richard Montoya one of a select playwright collaboration grants from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation for a new play, The River.

The Project

Campo Santo, led by Intersection Theater Program Director Sean San José and members of the Campo Santo Familia, kicks off a new series, creating and presenting new performances in surprising places and showcasing a new era of Intersection programming at 5M, its location in the Chronicle building.

Block by Block features multidisciplinary pieces with hip-hop theater collective Felonious and writings from Junot Díaz. This series launches new projects that will come from Intersection and Campo Santo in the coming seasons with Dennis Kim, the Living Word Project, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Luis Alfaro, Richard Montoya, Jessica Hagedorn, Denis Johnson, California Shakespeare Theater, and more.

The Collaborating Partner

Intersection for the Arts is San Francisco's oldest alternative non-profit art space (est. 1965) with a long history of presenting new and experimental work in the fields of literature, theater, music and the visual arts, and also in nurturing and supporting the Bay Area's cultural community through service, technical support, and mentorship programs. Intersection provides a place where provocative ideas, diverse art forms, artists, and audiences can intersect one another. Intersection's Theater Program is well established especially in the fields of new work development (more than 45 world premiere plays with Campo Santo), multi-disciplinary work (dance theater group the Erika Chong Shuch Project); experimental merging of theatrical forms (more than 75 new works have been developed through the Hybrid Project with the Living Word Project and Felonious); and a history of investment in long term relationship developing, supporting and premiering works with artists throughout the years including Claudia Bernardi, Ala Ebtekar, Whoopi Goldberg, Joe Goode, Margo Hall, Rhodessa Jones, Marcus Shelby, Howard Wiley, and countless others. At Intersection, experimentation and risk are possible, debate and critical inquiry are embraced, community is essential, resources and experience are democratized, and today's issues are thrashed about in the heat and immediacy of live art.

Photos of Campo Santo on Flickr