Who We Are

The Sanctuary Theatre, Inc., was founded in 1984 in the old sanctuary of Calvary United Methodist Church (now, Casa del Pueblo). During our first six years, we produced a wide variety of shows, from our opening show, Jesse and the Bandit Queen by David Freeman, to a host of internationally significant plays such as Ti-Jean and his Brothers by Derek Walcott, Fanshen by David Hare, and The Tree Climber by Tawfiq al Hakim. We left that space in 1989, but the space still carries our name.

In years past we specialized in producing culturally significant, yet under-recognized plays and playwrights from around the world.  During the theatre’s first vibrant decade, The Sanctuary earned a small, but national reputation.  Then, we shifted our activities to mostly educational theatre, for many years working at CentroNia, a multicultural learning center for families and children, and then at The New School of Northern Virginia where Michael Oliver founded The New School Theatre, producing more than two dozen plays, directing his students in ten.

While The Sanctuary still produced the occasional show between 1990 and 2007, our Capital Fringe production of The Fate of a Cockroach, another script by the famous Egyptian playwright Tawfiq al Hakim, marked our returned to Washington’s theatre scene . We followed with a revival of Bag Lady in 2009 and then Bag Ladies, Bodies, Poems, a multidisciplinary event which featured two one-woman shows, four poets, and two documentary films.  We had rediscovered our stride.  It was a much shorter one than the one we used during our heyday, it still promises many surprises and challenges, for both us and audiences alike.

The biggest surprise was the 2010 initiation of The Performing Knowlege Project: where performance and education meet.  Fusing the goals of performance with the goals of education, we began creating original interdisciplinary performance-pieces, opening Embodying Poe: Poetry in Performance at the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival, a widely acclaimed production which put The Sanctuary back on the cutting edge.

Our next venture is another interdisciplinary piece which promises to push the theatre even further: MOTHERSTORY.  Set to open in the summer of 2012.  Song of Myself: the Whitman Project is also in development, set to open in January 2013.

We can be reached at sanctuarytheatre@gmail.com