Berkeley Rep

Berkeley Repertory Theatre
••• Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Berkeley Lab/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Berkeley Rep is an award-winning San Francisco area theatre with a tradition of presenting ground-breaking, cutting-edge theatre as well as intriguing interpretations of classic works.

At its peak, Berkeley Rep staged 5 world premieres, including Itamar Moses' Yellowjackets and In the Next Room (or the vibrator play). Unfortunately, their recent track record isn't quite so goo.

When you go, expect the house to be full and the show to start on time.

Likes and Dislikes

I previously rated Berkeley Rep 5 stars out of 5 for memories of more amazing performances than we can count. Unfortunately, more recently I'd rate it 3.5 out 5 at best after a couple of seasons of forgettable shows - or even worse, ones you wish you could forget but can't.

If you're looking for old-style Broadway musicals and revivals, this isn't the place for you. But with all due respect to your taste, why not try something a little different for a change?

One of our complaints about Berkeley Rep isn't really their fault. There are a few nice restaurants within walking distance. To enjoy a meal as good as the play you'll be seeing, head for Gourmet Ghetto (Shattuck north of University) or Solano Avenue just over the city line in Albany. Five restaurant in the Hotel Shattuck Plaza serves a nice Prix fixed pre-show dinner and they know how to get you through your meal and out the door in time to catch the beginning of the first act.

Berkeley Rep Venues and Crowd Factor

Peet's Stage (formerly named Thrust Stage): We learned to love Berkeley Rep when this smaller "theatre-in-the-round" stage was all they had. There's barely a bad seat in the house; the size is just small enough to feel intimate - and their set designers are still finding new ways to use this open space.

Roda Theatre: A 600-seat theatre with a proscenium stage (in theatre-speak that means a raised stage with an arch where the audience directly faces the stage).

Both theatres have a reasonable (but not overly generous) amount of leg room, but long legs (or short ones that have a hard time staying still) will be better off in an aisle seat

When two shows are running simultaneously, it can get a bit crowded, mostly in the parking lot across the street.

Tips for Enjoying the Berkeley Rep

  • In the Roda Theatre, seats in boxes EE and FF can be very uncomfortable with the railing getting into your line of sight, especially if you're short.
  • Check their schedule for docent presentations and post-show discussions. They also host special teen nights and half-price nights for the under-30 crowd.

Tickets and Reservations for the Berkeley Rep

Buy your tickets online (but you'll pay a service fee). Go to a preview, weekday show or matinee and you'll pay less.

Discounts: It's not the most convenient way to get tickets, but it can save you money - the TIX ticket booth in San Francisco's Union Square sometimes sells same-day tickets at a reduced price.

The Basics

The Official name is Berkeley Repertory Theatre, but everyone (including their own website) just calls it the Berkeley Rep.

  • Season runs from September thru early July
  • Two stages in the same complex
  • Berkeley Rep website
  • Reservations highly recommended - the days of getting last-minute tickets at Berkeley Rep are mostly over

Where Is the Berkeley Rep?

Berkeley Rep is located at 2025 Shattuck Avenue near its intersection with Addison in downtown Berkeley.

There are more ways to get to the Berkeley Rep than there are shows playing in a season, including using BART. They do a good job of summarising all of them at their website.