Bay Area Educational Theater Company was established in 1996 by a group of ambitious and dedicated parent volunteers who identified a need for theater education in the community. They wanted to provide theater training and performance opportunities to anyone and everyone who had the desire to be involved in theatrical productions, regardless of age, cultural background, prior experience or level of ability. The vision of the founding board of directors was to expand the traditional idea of educational theater to include adults as well as children, giving all members of the family and the community at large the opportunity to grow together. The philosophy that adult roles would be played by adults and children’s roles by children’s led to a new genre of theater company that bridged the gap between children’s theater and community theater.
Bay Area ETC’s first productions were rehearsed at the Doelger Center in Daly City and performed at McATeer High School Theater in San Francisco (now San Francisco School of the Arts), the use of both venues having been donated by the community. Company business was conducted at participants’ homes and other donated venues. Sets were constructed and stored in volunteers’ garages.
ETC employed talented and professional artistic staff members to provide guidance and professionalism to the fledgling company. It was important from the beginning that we assert our dedication to our mission to provide a quality theater experience.
Through sheer determination, and a great deal of luck, the company gained a fair amount of success early on. The Company opened an official office in Foster City and moved rehearsals to the Peninsula. The company soon outgrew that space and moved to Belmont and then San Carlos, while continuing rehearsals in San Mateo.
In 1998 Bay Area ETC combined forces with San Mateo Department of Parks and Recreation to offer a Summer Theater Camp. Those programs have blossomed over the years and today we offer four programs for children ages 6 – 14. Temporarily altered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue to offer Summer Camp following safety guidelines and reduced group size and age restrictions.
In 2007 Bay Area ETC began performing its Mainstage Productions at Canada College Theater in Redwood City, its current primary performance venue.
In 2016 the board launched an effort to upgrade their theater management and finance systems. The theater management system features a registration system, online payments, a participant portal (called “backstage”), and an online store. The finance systems were upgraded and moved to the cloud. All of these efforts were designed and completed by volunteer board members and resulted in significant time and cost savings.
Due to construction at Cañada College in the fall of 2017, eTc began performing at alternative venues including Carlmont High School (Fall, 2017) and Woodside High School (Spring, 2018)
In the fall of 2017, eTc celebrated 20 years with an Anniversary Party. Over 200 eTc alumni, friends and family gathered for a wonderful evening that included performances and rekindling friendships.
Bay Area Educational Theater Company continues to be led by a volunteer Board of Directors, while employing talented theater professionals to ensure the artistic integrity and educational value of the company. ETC is committed to creating transformational experiences for young people and families while setting a new standard for educational theatre.