Burien Actors Theatre or BAT is a nonprofit, professional theatre in the heart of Seattle. Their tagline, “Better Theatre Live”, is representative of BAT’s desire to serve the local community by producing professional work that is exciting, engaging and of the highest artistic caliber. They are committed to involving their community every step of the way, both locally and afar.
Duane Kelly, former DG Rep in Seattle, is one writer who has become part of the BAT community. “Every playwright yearns for a theatre company that exhibits faith in them as an artist, that finds merit in their work,” he wrote. “Many writers never find that. If it does happen, it’s more likely to happen locally than afar, particularly if the writer has made an effort to be an active member of the local theatre scene. I have been the fortunate recipient of that faith from Burien Actors Theatre. Some years back the company’s leaders selected my play Escorting Tom as the top choice in a biannual new play festival they produce and gave it a full production. That initial opportunity to work together led to their attending a production of another new play of mine, Visiting Cezanne. Their response was so enthusiastic that they included that play on their next season’s mainstage schedule. Then that production led through a roundabout way to Cezanne being staged by a group of Scottish theatre artists at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this coming August. I owe Burien Actors Theatre a great deal.”
BAT is a community theatre in the truest sense of the word. This past year, the City of Burien, which owns the building BAT and several other organizations call home, deemed the building unsafe and asked those organizations to vacate by the end of 2019. This would have been devastating to BAT because it would mean cancelling the second half of their season. The theatre community banded together and wrote to the Burien City Council. The outpouring of support convinced Council to allow BAT to stay through the end of their season and is helping them find a new home for their next season.
BAT participates in Playwrights Welcome, providing free tickets (when available) to DG members. The company is also taking steps become greener. All their materials, including posters and advertisements are printed on recycled paper using nontoxic soy ink, they participate in city-initiated recycling programs, and they even reuse some platforms and flats between productions. Lastly, BAT is using the money saved by reusing and recycling to try to make seeing theatre affordable and accessible to the whole community.