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The Bonfire Makers is an Oakland, California-based theater collective that creates political performance. We believe that theater, like a bonfire, has the power to draw diverse audiences around a shared experience. By building evocative performances gathered from community stories and ensemble collaboration, we illuminate our diverse experiences, spark dialogue, and ignite change.

We recognize that we live under systems that entrench inequalities, a reality deeply felt in the Bay Area, and our work springs from, speaks to, and seeks to heal these injustices. We embrace theater as a people’s tool for resistance, reimagining, healing, and transformation.

Through community interviews, personal stories, original music, and physical exploration―and a deep dive into Oakland’s past―The Bonfire Makers built two plays; WE GO BOOM! a play exploring the impact of the tech industry on Oakland, and PLACE TO LAND (an oakland love story), a play that imagines what the future of Oakland could look like if we disrupt current cycles of oppression. We also worked together with STORYBANK to create the Prop 10 Toolkit, an interactive evening of discussions, readings, songs, and more that folks can remix, collaborate with, and otherwise take from to spread the word to pass Prop 10 and fight for rent control. 

Our work is:

Time-Sensitive

Social Justice-Oriented

Documentarian

Personal

Invested

Rigorous

Visceral

Transformative

Reviews

"Rasheed Shabazz, who was born in Oakland, said, “It was an interesting performance of the narrative of displacement and how tech and diversity intersect in different people lives.” Shabazz said the play would be helpful for tech workers who are coming to Oakland to learn about the city’s culture."

Gabriela Arvizu | Oakland North

"Like Oakland itself, the play is an unruly tangle that’s hard to get a handle on. Along the way, however, it shines a light on a grab bag of pressing issues, dirty secrets and fond hopes for the future of this vibrant and deeply troubled city. If the play helps spark discussion of even a fraction of the vital topics that it touches on, then it’s doing its job."

— Sam Hurwitt & William Love | East Bay Times

Collective Members

TIERRA ALLEN

SONIA DECKER

MAURICE ANDRÉ SAN-CHEZ

SANGO TAJIMA

ALEX VAN GILS

MELISSA KAITLYN CARTER

PHIL WONG