Originally opened in 1989, Bindlestiff Studio became the only permanent, community-based performing arts venue in the nation dedicated to showcasing emerging Filipino American and Pilipino artists. Bindlestiff Studio provides the often under-served Filipino American community access to diverse offerings in theatrical productions, music and film festivals, workshops in directing, production, acting, stand-up comedy, and writing, as well as a children and youth theater program.
Bindlestiff Studio was founded in 1989 by Chrystene Ells, Chris Brophy, and a group of local theater artists and for many years flourished as an experimental theater space. In 1997, Allan S. Manalo, artistic director for the Filipino theater company "tongue in A mood" became Bindlestiff Studio's Artistic & Managing Director. He transformed the theater into the cultural epicenter for Filipino-American performing arts in the Bay Area that exists today. In 2003, Bindlestiff lost its theater to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) which acquired its building for a low-cost housing project. In reaction to public outcry for the theater's preservation, SFRA committed to building the shell of a new 99-seat, black box theater for Bindlestiff in the basement of the newly rebuilt housing complex. After delays and negotiations, the new Bindlestiff Studio finally opened its doors on September 15, 2011. In a period of three months since its opening, Bindlestiff has produced 4 full productions attended by over 2100 audience members and serving over 80 artists.
185 6th Street, San Francisco
Chrystene Ells, Chris Brophy
Dates of Operation
Type of Space
Performing arts venue
Pilipino and Filipino American communities
Additional Information and Resources
About this Article
This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.