What better way to christen a brand-new theatre space than with the blessing of a saint? That's Saint Joan in the case of Berkeley's Aurora Theatre Company, who stage the George Bernard Shaw play as the first in their new Addison Street space. Saint Joan plays Oct. 26 Dec. 2 with an opening Nov. 1.
Aurora's artistic director Barbara Oliver directs this Nobel Prize-winning adaptation of Joan of Arc's life, beginning in her girlhood when she was led by the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret to liberate France from England. The piece ends with her death, when the English burned her as a witch. Aurora has been working its way through the works of Shaw; recent productions include Candida, The Philanderer and Mrs. Warren's Profession.
Emily Ackerman (a Bay Area Critics Circle Award winner for Best Ensemble for her part in The Weir) takes the title role. Also in the cast are Paul Silverman (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's King Lear) as Dauphin, L. Peter Callender, Gabriel Marin, Owen Murphy, Soren Oliver Ric Prindle and W. Francis Walters (Aurora's The Weir).
Single tickets are $26-$30. The new Aurora Theare is located at 2081 Addison Street. For tickets, call (510) 843-4822. The Aurora Theatre Company is on the web at http://auroratheatre.org.
* The Aurora Theatre Company's new space at Addison Street replaces the old one at the Berkeley City Club. While that theatre sat only 67 patrons and had no space for rehearsals, no set storage and no backstage area, the new theatre has 150 seats, a rehearsal room, administrative offices, dressing rooms, a Green Room and plenty of storage space. Designed by architects Jim Novosel and Gene Angell, who designed Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the new Aurora Theatre shares an entrance with Berkeley Rep's Nevo Education Center. Aurora Theatre Company has a 40-year lease on the space.
— By Christine Ehren