Best Black Box - 2013
Space 55 Ensemble
To be the best crappy little dump at which to see live theater, you have to present astonishing, diverse work that showcases excellence from writers, performers, directors, and designers. And if that were all that Space 55 does, it would have earned this award. However, the seven-year-old company and venue also hosts workshops for writers and performers, touring events from kitty-cat circuses to fringe festivals, and late-night encounters with sketch comedy, experimental political theater, solo performance (some vetted and coached, some fresh outta the butt), and forms of lunacy that blur the boundaries of even those already flexible genres. Meanwhile, along with popular themed series "7 Minutes . . ." and "A Bitch in Time" and holiday spectacle A Bloody Mary Christmas, there's a season of actual plays each year. Some are even recommended for children and families, like environmental puppet epic Of Plastic Things and Butterfly Wings and Charlie Steak's contemplative Woman and Girl, which starred Valley favorite Patti Hannon.