Performing Arts and Social Justice majors first collaborated with Soapstone Theater Company in the spring of 2001 on an adaptation of Brecht's The Good Person of Setzuan. The piece was performed both at USF and at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater in downtown San Francisco, as part of our continuing mission to open the doors of the university to local artists, and to bring our student's work to the community.
Soapstone Theater Company was founded by Assistant Professor Roberto Gutiérrez Varea, and actors Walter Edison, Anthony Nelson and Elijah "Scoop" Haynesworth, in partnership with the San Francisco Sheriff Department's Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP.), and Community Works. Since 1997 it has brought to the stage five original productions created by the ensemble. All Soapstone members are ex-offenders and survivors of violent crime; men and women who demonstrate great creative courage during the development of the work, and the public performances that follow.
The subject of violence and its impact on people's lives is the main focus of Soapstone's work. At the heart of this work lies the belief that, people who have seen their lives changed forever due to an act of violence, can also be forever transformed by creativity and art.
Soapstone has performed in San Francisco at Brava! For Women in the Arts, The Lorraine Hansberry Theater, The Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens, the Mission Cultural Center and the Buriel Clay Theater at the African American Cultural Center, among other venues.