Our Mission and History
Our mission is to create theater and programs that engage, ignite, and celebrate diverse Bay Area audiences through a thriving conservatory, a professional main stage season, educational outreach, and a commitment to the development of new family musicals. In support of our mission, we maintain and enhance the historic Julia Morgan Theater. A commitment to community, diversity, inclusion, and empowerment is at the heart of our work.
About Berkeley Playhouse
Berkeley Playhouse produces theater that is "intelligent, relevant, and soul-stirring." We bring together performers and audience members of all ages. We strive to provide experiences that fully engage performers and audiences.
Berkeley Playhouse also offers educational programs. We provide classes, camps and performance training in acting, singing, dancing, and technical theater. Children in our programs receive training from the best Bay Area teaching artists – many of them directors or performers in our Professional Season shows
Berkeley Playhouse performance is a new type of theater experience for many theater-goers. Audience members are encouraged to become involved with the production on a number of levels. Audiences are inspired to think critically, act creatively, reflect imaginatively and connect more deeply with the worlds they are about to experience. In this way a Berkeley Playhouse production redefines the way an audience experiences the theater. Audience members enjoy casting that is non-traditional, multicultural, and multi-generational. And interpretations of New Works and familiar classics are alive with fresh energy and new perspectives.
Julia Morgan Theater is the home to Berkeley Playhouse. The Julia Morgan Theater was built in 1910, and is a community treasure. The 328-seat theater provides an intimate space for patrons of our shows that feels like "home."
Our Two Divisions
- Five high-quality productions each season, most running for six weekends
- New Works program that infuses new life into the family music theater repertory
- Outreach programs to schools and community organizations
Theater Arts Education
- Camps & Classes
- Beginning, Intermediate and skills-based classes in acting, singing, dancing and technical theater
- Youth Productions
- Full-length productions performed on our main stage
About Our Founder, Elizabeth McKoy
Berkeley Playhouse was founded in 2007 by Artistic Director, Elizabeth McKoy, a professional theater actor, director, and teacher for over 20 years. Elizabeth has directed many shows for the Berkeley Playhouse since founding the company in 2007, including for the Professional Season: Peter Pan, Cinderella, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Sound of Music, A Little Princess, Tarzan and James and the Giant Peach. She has also directed over 30 YouthStage shows including The Drowsy Chaperone, Hello, Dolly!, Pirates of Penzance, Zombie Prom, Narnia, Once on This Island, Into the Woods, 13, and many others.
Over the years, Elizabeth has developed the vision and programming for the Berkeley Playhouse and helped grow the organization from a small youth theater camp to a thriving musical theater company and youth education program serving thousands of students and over 30,000 patrons per year. In addition to directing for the Berkeley Playhouse, she is currently working to develop and sustain the Playhouse’s unique vision for new musical works for inter-generational audiences and grow and deepen our programs with schools and the community. She has commissioned 8 new musicals, including the acclaimed new musical Bridges which had its world premiere at the Playhouse in 2016 and was recently seen again in New York. The Riffs, her newest school partnership program for Middle Schoolers, began at Emerson Elementary in Oakland and now is at Willard Middle School. She is also a proud mama of five amazing children.