Shows coming to San Francisco Bay Area Nov. 14-21, 2015

EMERYVILLE, Calif. (Oct. 20, 2015) – StoryWorks, the groundbreaking artistic-journalistic collaboration that seeks to explore today’s news through live theater performances, is coming to the San Francisco Bay Area for a one-week run from Nov. 14-21 at The Flight Deck in Oakland, California.

StoryWorks’ new play, “North by Inferno,” is its sixth iteration on blending the art of theater and the facts of investigations from reporting by The Center for Investigative Reporting. The play, written by Jon Bernson, is based on the reporting of CIR’s Jennifer Gollan, who wrote a series of stories in June looking at the impact and reasons behind the deaths of men working in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. The play is directed by Jennifer Welch and includes an ensemble cast of actors including Christian Phillips, Michael Carlisi, Jeff Graham and John Terrell.

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Originally produced in partnership with Tides Theatre, CIR’s StoryWorks has presented seven shows in the Bay Area and has taken two of its programs on the road to communities in Oxnard, California, and across the state of North Dakota.

The play is running for six shows from Nov. 14-21 at The Flight Deck at 1540 Broadway in Oakland.

For a full list of dates and times and to purchase tickets, go here.

Questions? Contact Meghann Farnsworth, CIR’s managing director of distribution, engagement and operations, at or 510-809-2213.


Jon Bernson (Playwright, “North by Inferno”) is an interdisciplinary playwright, musician and multimedia artist from San Francisco. In 2013, he wrote the play, “A Guide to the Aftermath,” for the inaugural StoryWorks, which highlighted the struggles of homeless female veterans living on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Another recent play called “PDX to SFO” was written as a site-specific, interactive overnight Amtrak journey for 20 passengers and four actors. As a 2015 artist-in-residence at the de Young museum in San Francisco, he wrote “Distant Future Symposium,” a play about a series of transmissions that were sent back in time from a future spacecraft called Vessel XII. Bernson is a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwright Initiative, a four-year residency that “provides resources for the pursuit of creative theater projects, increases the visibility of Bay Area writers and fosters artistic community.” As a musician, he has released more than 20 albums under multiple names, including Exray’s, whose music was featured in David Fincher’s Academy-Award winning film, “The Social Network.” He has toured the U.S. numerous times and scored more than a dozen plays and films, including his recent soundtracks for Rajiv Joseph’s “Gruesome Playground Injuries” and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” “Beautification Machine,” his multimedia collaboration with Andy Diaz Hope, opened at the Catharine Clark Gallery, was presented by Miami Project 2014 and then acquired by the Nevada Museum of Art. Bernson is a columnist at Decoder Magazine, a company member at Tides Theatre and the founder of Sunset Media Wave, where he has taught writing, music and multimedia art for 15 years.

Jennifer Gollan (Journalist) is a reporter for Reveal, covering worker safety, mistreatment and corporate malfeasance. Her work has appeared in various media outlets, including The New York Times, Guardian US, Politico Magazine and the PBS NewsHour. Gollan’s 2015 investigation, “In North Dakota’s oil boom, there will be blood,” which revealed how major oil companies avoid accountability for workers’ deaths, prompted the federal government to step up enforcement and scrutinize speed bonuses in the Bakken oil fields. She has won many awards for her coverage of corruption, fraud and waste in state and federal government. Most recently, she and Reveal reporter Matt Smith won a first-place award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for exposing the financial mistreatment of Indian technology workers recruited to the U.S. Gollan has worked for The Center for Investigative Reporting, which runs Reveal, since 2012. Before that, she worked at The Bay Citizen, where she exposed California’s lax oversight of vocational schools. The series prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a new state law. Gollan was a government watchdog reporter at the South Florida Sun Sentinel from 2006 to 2010.

Jennifer Welch (Director) is the director and co-creator of StoryWorks, a groundbreaking project launched in 2013 that transforms journalism into theater, from The Center for Investigative Reporting, one of the longest-running investigative nonprofit news outlets in the country. Welch is a member of Tides Theatre, the executive producer of the Des Voix festival and a founding member of the Howells Transmitter Arts Collaborative. She focuses on new play development and theater for impact, social conversation and change. Her directing credits include: “Alicia’s Miracle,” “This Is Home,” “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” “Sweet Bird of Youth,” “Waiting for Godot,” “The Little Foxes,” “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Buried Child,” “The Trip to Bountiful,” “A View From the Bridge,” “The Rose Tattoo,” “The Night of the Iguana,” “Lysistrata,” “The Real Inspector Hound,” “Killer Joe” and StoryWorks. Her most recent stage credits include Margaret in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (winner of the 2014 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle best actress award), part of a StoryWorks ensemble, and Stella in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” She currently teaches acting for Tides Theatre in San Francisco.


HEADLOCK was written by William Bivins and directed by Jennifer Welch based on Ryan Gabrielson’s investigation into abuse at California’s adult care facilities.

A GUIDE TO THE AFTERMATH was written by Jon Bernson and directed by Jennifer Welch, inspired by Mimi Chakarova’s documentary about female veterans suffering from PTSD and military sexual trauma.

THIS IS HOME was written by Tassiana Willis, Donte Clark, Will Hartfield-Peoples and Deandre Evans and directed by Jennifer Welch and Jose Vadi in response to Amy Julia Harris’ reporting on corruption and squalor in Richmond, California, public housing.

ALICIA’S MIRACLE was written by Octavio Solis, translated into Spanish by Brandon Mears and directed by Jennifer Welch in response to Bernice Yeung and Andrew Donohue’s investigation into the use of fumigants in California’s $2.6 billion strawberry industry.

Information for Calendar Editors



                          Written by Jon Bernson

                          Directed by Jennifer Welch

SHOWS: 11/14 Saturday Matinee 2 p.m.

                          11/15 Sunday 7 p.m.

                          11/16 Monday 7:30 p.m.

                         11/17 Tuesday 7:30 p.m.

                          11/18 Wednesday 7:30 p.m.

                          11/21 Saturday 2 p.m.

WHERE: The Flight Deck

1540 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

TICKETS: For tickets ($10-$20) or more information, visit Eventbrite.

Correction: A previous version of this press release had incorrect author information for “This is Home.” That play was written by Tassiana Willis, Donte Clark, Will Hartfield-Peoples and Deandre Evans.


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