Our Mission and History
Our mission is to create theatre 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 was founded in 2007 by Artistic Director, Elizabeth McKoy, a professional theatre actor, director, and teacher for over 20 years. Berkeley Playhouse produces theatre 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 theatre. Children in our programs receive training from the best Bay Area teaching artists – many of them directors or performers in our MainStage shows.
Berkeley Playhouse performance is a new type of theatre experience for many theatre-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 theatre. 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 theatre 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
- A New Works program that infuses new life into the family music theatre repertory
- Outreach programs to schools and community organizations
- Beginning, Intermediate and skills-based classes in acting, singing, dancing and technical theatre
- Beginning and Intermediate performance-based summer and winter camps
Staff Directory & Meet the Staff
Berkeley Playhouse @ Julia Morgan Theater
Mailing Address: 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
Box Office: 510.845.8542 x351
Elizabeth McKoy, Founding Artistic Director
Elizabeth McKoy is the Founding Artistic Director of Berkeley Playhouse, where she most recently directed A Little Princess on the main stage in the 2013/14 Season. Elizabeth has directed many shows for Berkeley Playhouse's MainStage and their acclaimed YouthStage including: Pirates of Penzance: A Rockin' Musical, Starmites, Mulan Jr., Bravado, Once on This Island, The Music Man, Into The Woods, Honk Jr., and many others. In addition to performing professionally as an actress, Elizabeth has always felt inspired and passionate about teaching all ages about the joy and power of live theatre. Before coming to Berkeley, Elizabeth taught theatre for many years in New York and Seattle, including over five years for the renowned Seattle Children’s Theatre. After performing and teaching in Seattle she moved to Berkeley and became the Education Director for an affiliate of New York’s Lincoln Center Institute which brought arts education to thousands of school children and teachers in the Bay Area. In addition to directing and teaching for the Berkeley Playhouse, she is currently working to develop and sustain the Playhouse’s unique vision for music theatre and theatre education.
Gretchen Feyer, Managing Director
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Gretchen Feyer is delighted to be joining the Berkeley Playhouse. She was most recently Associate General Manager at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. Gretchen spent six years in New York City, where she was Company Manager for over a dozen plays and musicals at The Public Theater, including Love’s Labour’s Lost at Shakespeare in the Park and Richard Nelson’s Apple Family Plays. Before joining the Public she held various management and producing positions at Encores! New York City Center, New York Musical Theater Festival, Prospect Theater Company, The Acting Company, La Vie Productions, and Cesa Entertainment. Gretchen spent two summers as Company Manager for the Weston Playhouse Theater Company in Vermont (where she met her husband, music director Dan Feyer), and helped reopen the Napa Valley Opera House as Artist Services Manager and House Manager. Gretchen was born and raised in Oakland and St. Helena, California. She holds a BA in Theater from the University of Vermont and an MFA in Theater Management from Florida State University.
Kimberly Dooley, Associate Artistic Director
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Kimberly has been directing, choreographing and teaching theater in the Bay Area for 15 years. She is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. At the Berkeley Playhouse, she has directed and choreographed Once On This Island, Seussical, Mary Poppins, The Wiz, Lucky Duck, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and several Youthstage and Teenstage productions. She's grateful to call this her creative and professional home.
Rachel Eisner, Director of Education
510.845.8542 x376 email@example.com (For registration or enrollment, please contact 510.845.8542×379)
Rachel is thrilled to be returning to the Berkeley Playhouse family after recently completing her Education Fellowship at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Rachel has worked as a teaching artist for the past four years in both the LA and Bay areas. Before Rachel discovered her passion for theatre and education, she worked in various aspects of theatre arts including acting, choreographing, stage management, and was able to direct in Cal Performance’s Zellerbach Hall. In her final year at Cal, Rachel sat on the Board of Directors as the External Affairs Director for BareStage Productions Cal's student theatre group. Some of her favorite stage roles include Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress, and Ethel Savage in The Curious Savage. Rachel has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from UC Berkeley with a minor in Education.
Cameron Pence, Production Manager
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Sean Griffin, Patron Services Manager
Nikki Johl, Marketing & Design Associate
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Nikki is a designer and writer who is thrilled to be a part of the Bay Area theatre community. She has worked for non-profits and arts organizations in marketing, design, and comminication roles. She received her B.A. in American Studies at UC Berkeley, where she also managed marketing and art direction for Cal's Entertainment Board, bringing concerts, films, and other shows to the campus. Outside of Berkeley Playhouse you can find Nikki drinking coffee, rock climbing, and making greeting cards.
Michael Patrick Wiles, Casting Director and Resident Music Director
Michael has been a professional actor and musical director in the Bay Area and beyond for the last 15 years. As an actor he has appeared in over 45 professional productions, including work with the American Conservatory Theater, American Musical Theater, Aurora Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater, Capital Stage Company, Center Repertory Company, Magic Theater, Marin Shakespeare Company, Pacific Alliance Stage Company, Pacific Repertory Theater, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and Tacoma Actor's Guild. Also a pianist and musical director he has served in that capacity on over 75 productions including work with Bay Area Children's Theater, Capital Stage Company, Center Repertory Company, Contra Costa Civic Theater, Contra Costa Musical Theater, Pacific Repertory Theater, San Francisco Opera Guild, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, The Village Theater, and The Willows Theater. He is Resident Musical Director for Fantasy Forum Actor's Ensemble and is the Co-Founder, Co-Director, and Musical Director for Center Repertory Company's Young Rep Musical Theater Conservatory. BFA in Acting, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.
Joel Roster, Conservatory Production Associate
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Joel Roster is a multiple award-winning actor, director, designer and playwright, born and raised in the Bay Area. For the last three years, he served as the Artistic Director for Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette, and for the three years before that, served as their Director of Education. He has been a Teaching Artist in the Bay Area since 2001, teaching over 1500 students over 15 years. As an actor, Berkeley Playhouse audiences might have seen Mr. Roster in their productions of Fiddler on the Roof (Perchik), To Kill A Mockingbird (Heck Tate), Peter and the Starcatcher (Black Stache), and Hairspray (Wilbur/Male Authority), for which he received a Theatre Bay Area nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. He is honored to join the incredible team at Berkeley Playhouse.
Lexi Diamond, Conservatory Program Associate
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Lexi Diamond is a writer, director, performer, and teaching artist with a BA in drama, music, and education from Vassar College. She came to the Bay Area after receiving the Peter F. Sloss Literary/Dramaturgy Fellowship at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and stayed on after her fellowship to work with The Ground Floor, Berkeley Rep’s center for the development of new works, and with the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre as a teaching artist and outreach coordinator. Before moving to the Bay Area, Lexi worked in the literary office and education department at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI, and as an assistant director with the Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA program. Lexi studied comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles, and she is a performer, coach, and producer at Endgames Improv in The Mission, where she plays weekly with house teams Chivalry Club and EOP. She also dramaturgs and directs at theaters around San Francisco and the East Bay.
Jason Ayestas, Office Admininstrator
Stewart Lyle, Technical Director
Kathy Brown, Facilities Manager
Tara Vargo, Finance Manager
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