Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

San Francisco International Arts Festival Has Published Schedule of Performances

Article Pixel
San Francisco International Arts Festival Has Published Schedule of Performances

San Francisco International Arts Festival has shared the full schedule for the 2020 Festival that will run at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture from May 19 - 31.

The theme for SFIAF 2020 is IN DIASPORA: I.D. for the New Majority. I.D. asks artists to contemplate the changing demographics of the USA of America and / or apply the ideas of social justice to reflect on the conditions of minority, migrant, disenfranchised and/or displaced peoples in other countries.

The Festival box-office will be open and Early Bird Tickets (discounted by 40%) will go on-sale on Sunday March 1

As is customary SFIAF will feature multiple world premieres of new works by American artists and U.S. premieres from around the world. The lineup includes a number of ground breaking International Artists making their U.S. debuts.

St Petersburg's Pop-Up Theatre present "Fuel" about the life and unlikely success of Chinese-Russian programmer David Yang (the founder of Abbyy) in transforming Russian society.

Cinematic Theatre from Hong Kong focus on the Housing crisis in Kowloon (and make shrewd observations about comparable Bay Area situations) in "My Luxurious 50 sq. ft. Life."

From Scotland Mele Broomes presents "VOID" meshing experimental dance and abstract glitch-video landscapes that evokes themes of dystopian worlds, liminal spaces and urban paranoia witnessed through the lens of a black female protagonist.

More seasoned practitioners (i.e. they have presented their work in the U.S. before) include Oriza Hirata and his Seinendan Theatre from Japan who make timely observations about the upcoming Tokyo Olympic with "Control Officers." Also the west coast premiere of "Deep Time" by Virpi Pahkinen of absorbing work that evokes our primordial origins to better understand the present day.

Festival director Andrew Wood said of the program, "As we look to present a body of work evoking the ideas of multiple emerging American identities, we are simultaneously interested in comparing these concepts with related stories from alternative perspectives and viewpoints from around the world."

International Artists: Cinematic Theatre (Hong Kong), Janusz Prusinowski Kompania (Poland), Mele Broomes (Scotland), Pop-Up Theatre (Russia), Ramiro Boero Trio (Argentina), Sinnoi (South Korea), Seinendan (Japan), Surplus 1980 (USA) in collaboration with Christine Bonansea Dance Company (Germany) and Virpi Pahkinen Dance Company (Sweden).

Bay Area Artists: Adrian Arias, Anita Felicelli, Art Critique Comedy Club, Bandelion, Bay Area Theatre Sports, Bons Tempos Theatre Company, Brian Copeland, Chitresh Das Institute, Chris Carlsson, Eth-Noh-Tec, Fanna fi Allah, Florante Aguilar with Michael Dadap, Juliana Delgado Lopera, Heesoo Kwon, INI TAT, inkBoat, Jenna Bean Veatch, Karl Evangelista Quartet, Kiandanda Dance Theater, Laleh Khadivi, Luminance, May-lee Chai, Melody of China, Meron Hadero, Rosewater Vigilante, Nancy Au, Nejad, Notoriety Variety, Pulp, Purnamasari, Rhea Speights, Safehouse for the Arts, Samudra Dance Creations, Speakeasy Storyteller Series, STEAMROLLER Dance Company, Stephanie Hewett, Tien Hsieh and Us in the U.S.

The 2020 Festival will feature work by seven young artists as part of its Northern California Post-Graduate Performance Program (the Alumni Project for short). These artists names are in bold in the list above. They graduated from UC Berkeley, the San Francisco Art Institute, California Institute for Integral Studies, Stanford University, Sonoma State University, Mills College and CSU East Bay.

The San Francisco International Arts Festival is presented in partnership with the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and co-presented by the Eyes and Ears Foundation.

SFIAF is funded in part by the following: Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Bernard Osher Foundation, Bunkacho-Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs, California Arts Council, Creative Scotland, Cynthia Lohr, Hong Kong Arts Development Council, National Endowment for the Arts, New Place Fund, Sam Mazza Foundation, Swedish Ministry of Culture, Trust for Mutual Understanding and the TourWest program of the Western Arts Federation (WESTAF).

The full line up of artists with dates, times, venues and ticket prices is as follows:


Notoriety Variety (USA)
The Doomsday Follies (World Premiere, 75 minutes without intermission)
Chapel. Saturday May 23 2:00pm, Sunday May 24 5:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Close your eyes: it's 2050! -Our planet on the brink of Armageddon- Climate Change, famine, disease, war, shortages, you name it. A ragtag group of artists dare to show people how to laugh again. But, can laughter heal even the unhealable? Are a dog and an Archangel humankind's best friend?


Jeremy Talamantes and Jordan Cerminara (USA)
The Art Critique Comedy Show (90 minutes, no intermission)
Southside Theatre. Saturday May 30, 9:00pm. Tickets: $9 - $28.
Jeremy Talamantes and Jordan Cerminara {comedians roasting thrift store art} put the best stand-up comics in front of the most ridiculous second-hand disaster pieces they can find. You'll love this treasure trash so much, you'll wanna bid on it for the chance to take it home in the post show auction!

Dance (listed chronologically)

Mele Broomes (Scotland)
VOID (US premiere, 45 minutes without intermission)
Southside Theater. Thursday May 21 8:00pm, Friday May 22 9:30pm, Saturday May 23 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Void reimagines JG Ballard's cult novel Concrete Island through the lens of a black female protagonist - staged as a meshing of experimental dance and abstract glitch video landscapes. "Instead of a tragic figure trapped in the amoral technological jungle of modernity, we see a desperate figure outside the system, trying to break in through the layers of privilege, patriarchy and institutional racism." Broadway Baby

Four Corners (world premiere, 30 minutes plus intermission)
Firehouse. Friday May 22 7:00pm, Sunday May 24 5:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Shared bill with Rhea Speights
Choreographer Jenna Valez, artistic director of Pulp, presents Four Corners-a piece that explores the isolation and beauty of an empty room.

Rhea Speights (USA)
Horrible Ballet (world premiere, 30 minutes plus intermission)
Firehouse. Friday May 22 7:00pm, Sunday May 24 5:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Shared bill with PULP
Horrible Ballet is a self-portrait and a solo performance, choreographed and performed by Rhea Speights.

inkBoat (USA)
The Storm in My House (world premiere, 70 minutes without intermission)
Cowell Theater. Friday May 23 8:00pm, Saturday May 24 3:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
The Storm in My House excavates the perceived lines between peoples, lands and values. We cannot know the outcome. We question and embody what can be done to survive, live in a home, be kind, play and embrace the changes that will come. We also ask for grace as we face the storm.

Bandelion (USA)
FolkSing Practice (50 minutes)
Fort Mason Venue TBD. Saturday May 23, Sunday May 24. Times TBD. Tickets: FREE
Bandelion is exploring dance/theater modalities that feel like sitting around the campfire, sharing stories and songs. FolkSing Practice is an experiment in community-building, artistic intimacy, the merging of dance/theater/music into one unified form, improvisation, and the returning of contemporary performance to grass-roots, accessible settings.

Surplus 1980 with Christine Bonansea Company (USA & Germany)
Runscape (world premiere, 50 minutes without intermission)
Cowell Theater. Saturday May 23 8:00pm, Sunday May 24 3:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Runscape is a first-time collaboration between art rock ensemble, Surplus 1980, and the Berlin-based Christine Bonansea Company. The fusion of dance and music focuses on the construction and strategizing of building, only to destroy and dismantle what was built, leaving everything to be deconstructed.

Steamroller Dance Company (USA)
Pelikula (world premiere, 60 minutes without intermission)
Firehouse. Saturday May 23 5:00pm, Sunday May 24 2:00pm. Tickets: $12 - $25
Pelikula is STEAMROLLER's new, site-specific work taking place around the Firehouse to create the narrative of a Filipino telenovela. Performers guide audience through the site using sound and lighting elements and STEAMROLLER's trademark physicality to look at a contemporary first generation Filipino-American experience.

Joe Landini (USA)
Dancing on the Edge of the World (90 minutes without intermission)
Firehouse. Saturday May 23 9:00pm, Sunday May 24 8:00pm. Tickets: $9 - $20
Dancing on the Edge of the World is a showcase curated by Joe Landini (SAFEhouse Arts) featuring a wide-spectrum of Bay Area artists and features dynamic movement, provocative performance installations and theatrical experiences.

Charlotte Moraga and Alam Khan (USA)
Classical Indian Dance and Music (90 minutes without intermission)
Chapel. Sunday May 24, 2:00pm Tickets: $22 - $35
A rare concert featuring two acclaimed artists: Charlotte Moraga, Kathak artist and disciple of Pandit Chitresh Das and Alam Khan, Sarode artist and disciple of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. The Chapel's intimate environment provides an up-close and personal immersive experience into the art of Classical Indian Dance and music.

Stephanie Hewett (USA)
(E)cho (Q)ueue (world premiere, 60 minutes without intermission)
Firehouse. Saturday May 30 6:00pm, Sunday May 31 5:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $25.
(E)cho (Q)ueue is an interdisciplinary performance which aims to reclaim techno music as a Black American invention. Its goal is to dissect the compositional architecture of the music as it communes with the Black body's response to its rhythms.

Samudra Dance Creations (USA)
Earth Speaks (World Premiere, 75 minutes without intermission)
Cowell Theater. Saturday May 25, 3:00PM. Tickets: $15 - $28
Earth Speaks is a dance-music production that explores humankind's intricate physical, emotional and spiritual relationship to the EARTH (PRITHVI in sanskrit). When that connection, that umbilical cord is disturbed or even severed what happens to our being, our existence? The production incorporates Indian and Greek mythology and contemporary stories to tell the story of Mother Earth in HER voice.

Virpi Pahkinen Dance Company (Sweden)
Deep Time (2017, US Premiere. 60 minutes without intermission)
Cowell Theater. Saturday May 30, 8:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Deep Time moves in music's archaeology; from Hildegard of Bingen's sacred songs to shimmering marimba techno. Deep Time offers underwater humour and a sensational calm. Swedish/Finnish choreographer Virpi Pahkinen is well known for her stunningly chiseled shapes and otherworldly moves that act like an incantation, creating a mysterious, meditative atmosphere.

Kiandanda Dance Theatre (Congo and USA)
350 + Millions of Moving Targets (world premiere, 50 minutes without intermission)
Firehouse. Saturday May 30 9:00pm, Sunday May 31 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
The 350 + Millions of Moving Targets is an intergenerational, multidisciplinary dance theater performance that addresses the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. The work draws on Byb Chanel Bibene's experiences as a refugee during the Congolese civil war and the role dance, music, and theater plays in healing trauma.

Music (listed chronologically)

Karl Evangelista with Guests Andrew Cyrille, Alexander Hawkins & Francis Wong (USA & UK)
Apura (120 minutes with intermission)
Chapel. Thursday May 21, 8:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Filipino-American guitarist/composer Karl Evangelista presents Apura (Tagalog for "Very Urgent"), a thrilling new composition meant to explore the relationship between jazz-based musical improvisation and social transformation. Apura unites legendary jazz drummer Andrew Cyrille, Asian American Jazz icon Francis Wong, UK Based firebrand pianist Alexander Hawkins and experimental music powerhouse Evangelista.

Janusz Prusinowski Kompania (Poland)
In Concert (60 minutes without intermission)
Southside Theater. Saturday May 23 9:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28.
The members of Janusz Prusinowski Kompania are leading practitioners of Polish traditional music. They are founders and promotors of contexts for culture, through the initiative of the Wszystkie Mazurki Świata, in Warsaw, of which Prusinowski is the artistic director. Prusinowski creates moments for the meeting between the old rural masters of Polish folk and the new generations of musicians interested in traditional music.

Luminance and KoMaGa (USA)
An Evening of Jazz Harp and Contemporary Fusion (120 minutes with intermission)
Chapel. Thursday May 28 8:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $30
Led by Amelia Romano Luminance (harp, cello and trumpet) celebrates the trios compositional innovation and reprises classics with creative flare. Led by Motoshi Kosako KoMaGa Trio (harp, fretless electric bass, tabla, percussion) brings a dynamite cast to perform a set of jazz and ethnic fusion featuring a power house trio.

Michael Dadap & Florante Aguilar Duo (USA)
The Dadap-Aguilar Duo (60 minutes without intermisison)
Chapel. Friday May 29 7:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Classical guitarists Michael Dadap and Florante Aguilar perform a collection of all-Filipino works written and arranged for two guitars. Featuring Philippine dances, folk songs, kundiman, harana and contemporary compositions.

Fanna-Fi-Allah Sufi Qawwali Ensemble (Canada and USA)
Sufi Qawwali Party (120 minutes with intermission)
Cowell Theater. Friday May 29 8:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $30
Experience the fervor & passion of Sufi Qawwali music with internationally renowned ensemble Fanna-Fi-Allah. Qawwali music is an ancient devotional art form that invokes deep remembrance of the Beloved through powerful song and dynamic rhythm. Fanna-fi-Allah's has spent over 20 years learning this classical art from the greatest masters of qawwali in India and Pakistan.

Tien Hsieh (USA)
Musical Postcards (60 minutes without intermission)
Chapel. Saturday May 30 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Musical Postcards will feature Pianist Tien Hsieh exploring works by Teresa Carreño (Venezuelan), Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn (German), Manuel Ponce and Ricardo Castro (Mexican), Amy Beach and Justin Levitt (American) paired with timeless humanitarians Beethoven and Liszt.

Ramiro Boero Trio (Argentina and USA)
Chapel. Saturday May 30 7:00pm (90 minutes with intermission. Milonga at 8:30pm. Tickets: $15-$38
Featuring Bandoneonist Ramiro Boero, Guitarist Maxi Larrea & Pianist Sumi Lee followed by an Argentine milonga

Melody of China and Nejad Music (USA)
Along the Silk Road (75 minutes with intermission)
Cowell Theater. Sunday May 31 3:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Melody of China teams up with Mohammed Nejad Music to present a concert of Chinese and Persian music. Melody of China artists are joined by members of Nejad Music performing traditional instruments. The program includes traditional repertoire as well as the world premiere of two new works for mixed ensemble.

Purnamasari (USA)
The Weaver (world premiere, 70 minutes without intermission)
Chapel. Sunday May 31 5:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
The Weaver is a suite of songs, narration and dance, telling stories of two families in Indonesia navigating the transition from a colonial past to a globalized future, performed by Purnamasari, a Bay Area group that features Indonesian gamelan instruments and musical styles integrated into a rock band lineup.

Performance Art (listed chronologically)

INI TAT (USA & Brazil)
Waiting for the Bride as the Serpant Rises (90 minutes without intermission)
Chapel. Friday May 22 6:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Jessica F. Cooke crawls as a bride, activating Guta Galli's profane artwork devoted to female immigrant artists: brid(g)e (2017). As Cooke crawls to the Chapel, Galli performs Cooke's new piece inspired by Galli's pregnancy: Serpent God. When Cooke reaches the Chapel, both artists reconvene for an anthropophagic marriage that celebrates INI TAT.

Heesoo Kwon (USA)
Conversion to Leymusoom (60 minutes)
Chapel. Friday May 22 9:30pm, Saturday May 23 6:00pm. Tickets: $9 - $18
The Leymusoom community will activate the Fort Mason Chapel as the site for its first public conversion ceremony. Leymusoom is an autobiographical feminist religion that encourages followers to experience a metamorphosis by recontextualizing personal/familial histories through creating new, feminist rituals and collaboratively developing the movement's utopian, digital world.

Jenna Bean Veatch (USA)
The Not-Creepy Gathering for People Who Are Brave and Want to Fall In Love (120 minutes)
Chapel. Saturday May 23 9:00pm, Sunday May 24 8:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28.
This structured, participatory event is all about real connection. This is not a show! But it is art -- made out of people and words and desires and honesty and humor and vulnerability and loves notes and you. Come not to judge or be judged, but to connect. Bring a notebook!

Us in the U.S. (USA)
About Women (75 minutes without intermission)
Southside Theater. Friday May 29 7:00pm, Saturday May 30 6:00pmTickets: $10 - $20
Russell City: an unincorporated town in Hayward, demolished in 1966 by the Alameda making a comeback. What's known as the Industrial area of Hayward, was a rambunctious, cultural hub of immigrants dancing the Blues. Us in the U.S. tells the history of the company's hometown Hayward. Us in the U.S. will revive the vibe the colony of artists that is: Russell City in the 1920s.

Adrian Arias (USA)
DREAM #8.1 (2019, 90 minutes without intermission)
Chapel. Sunday May 31 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28.
Adrian dreams that he is at a table, that he flicks a black flag with hollow stars, that he creates his own garden out of a suitcase, while a typewriter sounds every time a dead body is found on the border. Oscar, Valeria, Isabel, dead while trying to cross the frontera, appear in this dream, bringing memories of childhood, joy and pain.

Spoken Word & Literary Performance (listed chronologically)

Abdul Kenyatta (USA)
The Speakeasy Storyteller Series (120 minutes plus intermission)
Chapel. Wednesday May 20, 8:00pm. Tickets: $9 - $17
The second year of the Speakeasy Storyteller Series founded by poet and storyteller Abdul Kenyatta as a forum for storytellers celebrating the art and craft of story-making. The Series promotes and encourages participation in storytelling and storytellers in the Bay Area- in a supportive atmosphere.

Literary Program (USA)
Women's Words (90 minutes without intermission)
Friends of SF Public Library Bookstore. Saturday May 30 6:30pm. Tickets: FREE
Readings of new work by six Bay Area women writers: Anita Felicelli, Juliana Delgado Lopera, Laleh Khadivi, May-lee Chai, Meron Hadero, Nancy Au,

Theatre (listed chronologically)

Seinendan (Japan)
Control Officers (2019 US Premiere, 30 minutes) 100 Meters (world premiere, 30 minutes)
Southside Theater. Tuesday-Wednesday May 18-19 8:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
A double bill of one-act plays. Control Officers is set in the waiting room for doping inspection at the Japanese national swimming championships to select male swimmers for the Olympic Games. Surrounded by inspectors, athletes drink water and wait for the call of nature. 100 Meters realistically depicts what goes on in the athletes' waiting room in the 30 minutes right before the 100m takes place.

Nancy Wang (USA)
Shadows & Secrets (world premiere, 75 minutes without intermission)
Southside Theater. Friday May 22 7:00pm, Sunday May 24 2:00pm Tickets: $18 - $25
Chin F. Foin- Famous and wealthy; bold, handsome, intelligent and smart. Called the 'wealthiest Chinaman in America" and "Prince of Merchantdom" - he has lived the American Dream. He arrived an immigrant in 1906 at age 16. Then, just 18 years later, Chicago Chinatown 1924. A freak accident, or was it? A stormy night, a flooded basement, now a famous Chinese restaurateur, he lies dead on the wet and cold basement floor. Did he really accidentally plunge down his own elevator shaft, or was he pushed? The tong wars raged, he is dead the night before he is moving his family to China. Was he protecting them? Running? From who and why? Who wanted Chin F. Foin dead?

Bons Tempos Theatre Company (USA and Mexico)
Qaddafi's Cook (2016, SF Premiere, 60 minutes without intermission)
Southside Theater. Saturday May 23, Sunday May 24 5:00pm and 8:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $23
Taste the tyrant. Two Mexican chefs, followers of Ayahuasca and Jack Daniels, caught in the tailspin of dictator Muammar Qaddafi, that bloody foodie and Lockerbie plotter. Mostly based on true events, an NYC and San Diego Fringe hit, "Intense and immersive experience that beautifully connects food, passion, and power."

Cinematic Theatre (Hong Kong)
MY LUXURIOUS 50 SQFT LIFE (2015, US Premiere, 60 minutes without intermission)
Firehouse. Tuesday-Wednesday May 26-27 8:00pm, Thursday May 28 7:00pm, Friday May 29 8:15pm, Saturday May 30 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
My Luxurious 50 sqft Life is a multimedia performance featuring the housing problem of Hong Kong. It explores how living in 50 square feet sub-divided units could influence people's interpersonal relationships and family communications. Through installations, live video projections, exhibitions, physical performance, audio effects, and interaction with the audience, the theatre work investigates the issues of inhuman living conditions and the reasons for the emergence of sub-divided units.

Pop-Up Theatre (Russia)
Fuel (2017, US Premiere, 75 minutes without intermission)
Southside Theater. Thursday May 28 8:30pm, Friday May 29 930pm, Saturday May 30 3:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28.
Fuel is a monologue based on interviews with David Yang, a founder of ABBY, one of the largest tech companies in Russia. A man walks onstage and begins to speak. His delivery is simple, calm. It is as if he is giving a lecture: a more casual, quotidian TED talk, or maybe a toned-down Moth Story Hour performance. A complex, contemplative text, part narrative and part philosophical contemplation. Take stock of the moment. Acknowledge that this moment will end. Did end. Never to be experienced again.

Rosewater Vigilante (USA)
The Lavender Files: Season One (world premiere, 88 minutes with intermission)
Southside Theater. Sunday May 31 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Lavender Black runs an illegal privacy and anti-surveillance store in Baytown, Independent California. When their investigation of a disappeared customer leads them to femme fatale Veronica and her missing ex, Lavender discovers how people disappear when privacy is dead and what family will do to get you back.

Brian Copeland (USA)
THE WAITING PERIOD (2010) (75 minutes without intermission)
Southside Theater. Sunday May 31, 7:00pm. Tickets: FREE
Brian Copeland has taken the personal struggles of depression and channeled them into The Waiting Period, a powerful solo show chronicling the 10 days he spent waiting for the permit to get the gun he needed to kill himself. With intense honesty and unrelenting humor, Copeland shares his insider's perspective on the deepest wells of depression.

Walking Tours

Chris Carlsson (USA)
The Hidden Histories of Fort Mason, Black Point, the North Shore (90 minutes)
Chapel. Saturday May 23 12:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
The tour begins in the shadow of the Fontana Towers at Van Ness and Bay and conclude at the Fort Mason gates. During our excursion we'll traverse the grounds of the old military base and discover nearby histories of farms, soldiers, lost lagoons and water flumes, and an epic World's Fair.

Related Articles View More San Francisco Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You