Footloose is an arts-presenting organization that produces original theater, dance, music, comedy and multimedia works with artists and technologists from all fields, especially emerging and established women artists. Programming includes collaborations, residencies and co-presentations with other producers. The company provides resources for artists to develop their work from initial through exhibition stages of the production process in order to promote their professional careers.
The company’s site specific, public art works are called Theatechture where theater, tech and architecture are the main artistic values as stimulus for interactive play for local residents, tourists, shoppers, students, and workers to participate in and/or observe. The mission is "to offer people a customized experience of the urban landscape."
Successful partnerships between Theatechture and 24 Days of Central Market Arts Festival, Central Market Community Benefit District, Friends of Mint Plaza and Yerba Buena Community Benefit District provided safe, family friendly events for improving interactions people have with each other and their environments. Outdoor events 2010-2013: Chalk is Cheap on Market Street sponsored by Blick Art Supplies; BYOD—Bring your Own Dog on Mint Plaza; and Honeycomb Zone on United Nations Plaza for Central Market Arts and at Contemporary Jewish Museum for Yerba Buena Night.
Footloose was founded in 1972 by Irini Nadel. Mary Alice Fry was appointed Artistic Director in 1982. From 1996 to 2004, Venue 9 was our premiere performance space in San Francisco’s SOMA district which was highly regarded by artists, audiences and the media. Fry’s commitment is to original material, especially by women artists. She started the acclaimed annual Women on the Way Festival at Venue 9 which later moved to Dance Mission Theater, The Garage, Shotwell Studios and ODC Theater.
For 23 years, Shotwell Studios in the Mission was shared by community groups, resident artists, companies, dancers and teachers. When Shotwell closed in May, 2013, Footloose moved its productions to The Garage at 715 Bryant in San Francisco, where we continue to present new work.
Beginning March, 2014, Footloose will be in residence at One Grove Street in San Francisco’s Central Market district, which is undergoing a cultural revitalization. We will be situated at this prime location to network, coordinate and rehearse new work. We will be able to build on the brand and momentum of partnering with Central Market Now. We will evolve and adapt over the next year as we highlight a nexus of artists, architects and technologists who will experiment, hone and share at weekly Thursday night labs.
AIM: Artists in Motion is the name for our performing arts residency program. An individual or group whose residency culminates in a showcase may also invite guest artists to share the bill. This ongoing, year-round series features live performances of dance, theater, music, spoken word and multimedia hybrids. Artists are considered for a variety of venues and programs; and, are offered free rehearsal space, publicity and marketing, technical and administrative support and mentoring on how to self-produce.
Footloose presents full-length theatrical productions, one person shows, play/poetry readings each season. The popular series Bitch and Tell: a real funny variety show showcases professional, international talent, including stand up comedians, musicians, circus acts, dancers and magicians. See/Sound/Move is an interactive performance jam for creative play fueled by open source digital media where the audience is invited to participate in the zone. Dancers, musicians and sound artists lay the groundwork for making improvised art which is layered by computer wizards using video processing visualizations and other technology.
Leadership: Board members are professionals in their fields who share project duties as designers, directors, performers, writers, stage/house managers, social media mavens and fundraisers. They are invested in ensuring San Francisco artists, merchants, sponsors, government, residents, and hospitality industry work for all.
The Artistic and Executive Director of Footloose is the dynamic, multi-talented Mary Alice Fry, who chooses the projects, hires the talent, plans marketing/publicity and presents original art in a professional format. Fry’s lifelong career in the performing arts, her passion for creating original dance and theater, plus her employment in law, marketing and sales made possible the success of hundreds of productions and eleven Women on the Way festivals.
Fry has been the driving force behind many community art spaces. From 1986-89, she was director of the Haight Ashbury Community Coalition, a nonprofit that operated cultural, after-school and job programs for youth at the Park Branch Library. She was on the planning team to convert the abandoned Polytechnic High School's two gymnasiums into community spaces--now the San Francisco Circus Center and Acrosports. From 1990-2013, she managed Shotwell Studios in the Mission. From 1996-2004, she built the reputation of Venue 9 in SOMA during the dot com boom into a premiere theater. In 2010 and 2011, she was project manager of 24 Days of Central Market Arts Festival.
Performing, writing and directing credits of Fry’s own multimedia and collaborative pieces include these highlights: Cactus, Falling Back to Earth, Sound Advice, To Infinity and Beyond, In Mourning by Karin Cabello Moriarty, Tokens by David Schein directed by Bob Ernst, A Thousand Grey Birds, and Mudwings with British director, Angus Balbernie; hOPPomage by Zack; Bring your Own Dog and Honeycomb Zone. She is writing two new Theatecture projects: Ash Boys and I’m Not in Charge set for 2015 productions.
Footloose has received support from San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund/Grants for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission Grants Program, Zellerbach Family Foundation, W. & F. Hewlett Foundation, W.A. Gerbode Foundation, The Argosy Foundation and generous businesses and individuals. Corporate sponsors include Copy Central and the SF Bay Guardian.