San Francisco Mime Troupe Playwright Joan Holden Dies at 85

Holden was best known for her work with the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

By: Feb. 27, 2024
San Francisco Mime Troupe Playwright Joan Holden Dies at 85
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BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that Joan Holden, playwright best known for her work with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, has died at age 85.

The playwright died on January 19, the day after her 85th birthday, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Holden wrote or collaborated on many plays, notably including “The Independent Female,” “The Dragon Lady’s Revenge” (Obie Award Winner), “False Promises,” “San Fran Scandals,” “Seeing Double” (Obie Award winner), among others, for the Mime Troupe.

During her tenure at the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the company won the 1987 Regional Theatre Tony Award.

Ms. Holden retired from the Mime Troupe in 2000, according to The New York Times. She then went on to work on “FSM” and an adaptation of “The Alchemist” for Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and “Nickel and Dimed" for Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe provided the following statement regarding Holden's passing:

If we have been uncharacteristically silent about the death of longtime San Francisco Mime Troupe playwright Joan Holden on January 19, 2024, it is because we are deeply stunned and saddened by the passing of our dear comrade and friend. Also, out of respect for her family’s wishes, we have stepped back to let them grieve their loss privately and undisturbed.

Joan was a giant in a small body whose sudden absence highlights her importance to the SFMT and our larger artistic community. Her sharp intellect and desire for justice fueled her writing. With precision and wit, she invented stories that laid the workings of power bare and characters who - when confronted with wrong - strove to do right. Her work at the Mime Troupe shaped the company and its mission, contributing mightily to our legacy and longevity and launching the careers of numerous mentees.

Joan was many things to many people across the globe. Her tiny shoes will be impossible to fill. Yet we have the comfort of memories made with her and lessons learned from her. In due time we will gather to reminisce publicaly in celebration of her achievements and life well-lived. Please watch this space for more information.​

Condolences can be sent to her family at 1219 South Van Ness Avenue, Apartment #2 SF, CA 94110.



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