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Mission & History

Founded in 1985, Actors’ Theatre has a long history of being a vital part of the greater Santa Cruz area’s theater community, known for its productions of contemporary, cutting edge theater and new plays.

Our Mission

Serving Santa Cruz County since 1985, Actors’ Theatre supports, champions, and provides an outlet and venue for the performing arts.

To this end, Actors’ Theatre:

  • Produces the acclaimed 8 Tens @ 8 Short Play Festival each year, which supports emerging and established playwrights from around the globe with full productions of their winning plays. Over the years it has represented thousands of talented theater artists and writers and is internationally recognized.

  • Provides resources and a performance venue for theater and other performance artists to explore their creativity, develop their craft, and present their work to the community.

  • Collaborates and partners with other groups to create a stronger presence for theater in Santa Cruz County.

  • Presents new and established works by local, national, and international authors.

  • Cultivates and educates audiences and practitioners of the theatrical arts.

Our History

Actors’ Theatre has a long and illustrious history contributing to the area’s cultural life by representing contemporary playwrights and producing new and exciting theater works for Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay audiences. Actors’ Theatre is greatly loved not only by the theater-going public, but also by the theater community as an outlet to develop their skills.


Founded as a non-profit theater company in 1985, we have continually produced work representing hundreds of playwrights, designers, directors, and actors – as well as provided practical work experience for technical theater artists including lighting designers, set designers and builders, scenic artists, sound engineers, and costume designers.


Our theater space is located inside the Santa Cruz Art Center at 1001 Center Street in downtown Santa Cruz, where we have also been able to provide a venue for many other theater companies to showcase their work.


Santa Cruz has a large, flourishing community of gifted writers, artists, performers and scholars whom we strive to represent and serve. We plan for a future in which we will continue to represent the finest in live theater and showcase work that will both inspire and delight our audiences for years to come.

We were so sad to lose our  beloved Producer and Board President, Bonnie Ronzio, in 2020.

Bonnie was the driving force in the company for decades, She not only worked with love and strength as a producer, director, and stage manager, but her creative leadership offered us all a strong vision which allowed Actors’ Theatre to flourish even during difficult times.

We honor her life and her contributions. She will be greatly missed.


Read Wallace Baine's article on Bonnie HERE

Former Artistic Director Wilma Chandler, in conversation with Wallace Baine, remembers Bonnie Ronzio.

picture of Bonnie Ronzio

Bonnie Ronzio

Chandler Remembers Ronzio

Bonnie Ronzio and Wilma Chandler

photo of Bonnie Ronzio and Wilma Chandler in the theater
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