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Valencia theater asks for support in the face of development

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Stephanie Weisman, the founder and artistic director of the Marsh theater, says without protective conditions written into the building permit for a proposed mixed-use project at 1050 Valencia, next to the 24-year-old theater, the Marsh won’t be able to survive artistically or financially.

Representatives of the theater are asking supporters and neighborhood residents to come to Room 416 at San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 5 pm. They hope to convince the Board of Appeals to include conditions in the permit for the project that would include limiting loud construction noise during performances and make it possible for current residents of the Mission to buy the two affordable units that must be included in the project.

The Marsh is known for developing solo shows and has been instrumental in the careers of acclaimed performers including Marga Gomez, Dan Hoyle, and Josh Kornbluth. The Marsh presents about 400 shows a year on Valencia Street and hundreds more at their Berkeley location. The Marsh also has a youth theater and offers classes and camps for kids. No kids are turned away for lack of money.

In a recent editorial in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Weisman wrote, “The Marsh is a metaphor for the current displacement of people and culture in the Mission District.”

Weisman calls the Marsh a kind of safe house for artists as well as for kids to take classes and audiences to see affordable theater. She’s asking for people to come out to City Hall on Wednesday to keep things that way.

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