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El Río

  • Brava Theater Center Second Stage 2781 24th Street San Francisco, CA, 94110 United States (map)

Brava with Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience present the
World Premiere play

El Río

Written by Andrew Saito
Directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe

Brava Theater Center Studio

Brava! for Women in the Arts with Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience present the World Premiere of Andrew Saito's new play El Río

Opening on the banks of the Río Grande, El Río tells the tale of Francisca Warrior, a Black-Seminole veteran who served time in Iraq, and her quest to honor her daughter’s memory while trying to save the life of Rosario, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, who she meets at the border. El Río gives voice to the Río Grande, people living on both of its banks, as well as those souls stuck in between. 

El Río features a stellar cast of Bay Area actors that includes Carla Pantoja, Halili Knox, Laura Espino, and Eduardo Soria.

El Rio Square no

Friday, September 27 – 8pm (Preview)
Saturday, September 28 – 8pm (Opening Night + After Party)
Sunday, September 29 – 3pm

Friday, October 4 – 8pm
Saturday, October 5 – 8pm
Sunday, October 6 – 3pm

Friday, October 11 – 8pm
Saturday, October 12 – 8pm
Sunday, October 13 – 3pm

Friday, October 18 – 8pm*
Saturday, October 19 – 8pm*
Sunday, October 20 – 3pm*

*Please join us after these performances for a discussion with playwright Andrew Saito and Director Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe.

$35 – Opening Night Performance & After Party
$25 – General Admission (no fees charged for online or at door purchases)
$20 – Earlier Bird tickets (there are a limited number available for each performance)
$Pay What You Can – September 27 preview performance only

(No one turned away for lack of funds; subject to availability.)

Join us in raising $5,000 in support of the presentation of El Río! To donate, simply click the button below, and then choose “El Río” from the fund dropdown menu. Donations to the project can also be made with your ticket purchase at checkout.

Donors at every level will be recognized on our website and in the print program and receive a signed El Río poster at the show. All donations to Brava are tax deductible.

Andrew Saito.png


El Río offers the first opportunity for Brava and BACCE to work with Andrew Saito, an established Bay Area playwright who has studied, worked and lived in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru and most recently on Papua New Guinea, where he was a Fulbright Scholar in Creative Writing. Andrew holds an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, where he received an Iowa Arts Fellowship, as well as a Stanley Award to conduct research for a play about the period Langston Hughes spent living in Mexico, a Kenneth J. Cmiel Human Rights grant to teach playwriting in Mayan communities Guatemala, and the Richard Maibaum Dramatic Writing Award for his script Dance of Pawns, about the internment of Japanese Peruvians in Texas during World War II. He has collaborated with numerous theatre companies and received grants from prestigious local and national funders. 


Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe is an accomplished local and national director and founder of Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience, a resident company at Brava. As a director, Edris has worked nationally at Trinity Repertory Company, Capital Repertory, Southern Rep in New Orleans, Mark Taper Forum, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Woolly Mammoth, Curious Theatre in Denver, and Arts Theatre, Ibadan, Nigeria. Edris’s Bay Area directing credits include the West Coast premieres of Relativity at the Magic Theatre, The Old Settler at TheaterWorks in Palo Alto, Crying Holy at Theatre Rhinoceros, and Urban Zulu Mambo and Blue/Orange at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. At Brava with BACCE, Edris directed the West Coast premieres of Sweet Maladies by Zakiyyah Alexander (winner of TBA Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble), In a Daughter’s Eyes by Oakland native A. Zell Williams, and Bootycandy and An American Ma(u)l by Robert O’Hara. She holds an M.F.A. in Directing from the University of Iowa.

Carla Pantoja

Carla Pantoja

Halili Knox

Halili Knox

Laura Espino

Laura Espino

Eduardo Soria

Eduardo Soria

El Río was funded in part by the Fleishhacker Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

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