PianoFight turns 10: Celebrates with the Nation's Largest Audience-Judged Theater Competition, ShortLived
PianoFight, the San Francisco born and bred theater arts Production Company and venue operator, will celebrate its tenth anniversary this Summer with the sixth installment of the nation's largest, audience-judged theater competition ShortLived. The competition, which helped define the interactive and inventive PianoFight aesthetic, pushed the company to grow from a three-man producing team to a business that boasts a creative company of 70 artists of all stripes, and a downtown venue that hosts and collaborates with hundreds of artists producing over 1,500 shows each year. The first round of ShortLived kicks off on Thurs, June 15 at 7pm on the Main Stage at PianoFight, 144 Taylor St, in San Francisco. Tickets are $20-$40 and can be found at www.pianofight.com
In its tenth year as a creative entity and its third year of operating its multi-stage theater complex with restaurant and bar, PianoFight has grown from humble beginnings to one of the most prolific, homegrown arts companies in California. As a creative company PianoFight produces a most eclectic mix of theater arts and in its ten year history, has honed the company's short, funny, idiosyncratic, multi-disciplinary and outside-the-box aesthetic.
PianoFight invents and nurtures new formats like ShortLived (audience judged theater competition), FORKING (a choose-your-own-ending play), Pint Sized Plays (short plays in a bar), and Throw Rotten Veggies at the Actors Night (exactly what it sounds like). And the company produces everything from world-premiere plays to evening length dance shows, poetry nights, live music, theater in a bar, variety shows, game shows, burlesque, drag, magic and more. PianoFight has also spawned in-house sketch groups like Mission CTRL, Chardonnay and SHIT Show Revival, and it's own house improv team The Original Jokes (a nod to the longtime former tenants of 144 Taylor St, Original Joe's). Beyond live performance, PianoFight's digital wing has created short films, records, comic strips, and a popular podcast.
This wide range of tastes influences programming at its venue, located in the heart of the Tenderloin, which hosts a massive community of artists and companies. Killing My Lobster, Faultline Theater, SF SketchFest, Sylvan Comedy, Awesome Theater, Musical Cafe, Naked Empire Bouffon, and the SF Improv Festival are just a handful of the companies who call PianoFight home. During the day, the venue also plays host to neighborhood non profits like Code Tenderloin and Vets Alley, who use the theaters for job readiness classes and veteran's painting classes respectively.
For PianoFight, the goal is always to build community by providing space and infrastructure to artists so they can carry out their creative vision. PianoFight handles all ticketing and technical requirements for every producer in the venue, and provides logistical and marketing support as well. With classes, open auditions, year-round script submission opportunities, and over 30 performance slots every week, PianoFight lowers the access point to creating so that anyone can make art.
The venue helps further these goals. The theater complex and restaurant and bar took four and a half years to complete and $1.3 million in private funding, including $131,000 on Kickstarter, at the time making it the largest Theater Kickstarter campaign for a new live venue in the sites history. Now in its third year of operations, PianoFight regularly serves local, live performance, classic cocktails and American bites to over 50,000 patrons each year.
Around 2,000 of those folks see PianoFight's marquee product, ShortLived. Each of the first six weeks of competition are Regular Season Rounds, featuring six short plays per week, that range from dramatic plays, comedic sketches, devised work, musicals, movement-based pieces or solo acts. The audience scores each piece. The piece that scores highest in each round clinches a spot in the The Finals (August 3-5). Additionally, the top two scoring plays from the entire regular season which did not win their rounds, will be admitted to the The Finals as wild card entries. Of the eight total plays in The Finals, the team that scores the highest will win the $5,000 Grand Prize.
PianoFight will celebrate its ten year anniversary throughout the summer run of ShortLived, June 15 - August 5, with performances happening Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7pm on the PianoFight Main Stage. Tickets can be purchased at www.pianofight.com