Live art that ignites radical collaboration, empathy, and curiosity
Mugwumpin creates collective live art for people with an appetite for questions and visceral experience.
Mugwumpin is an award-winning San Francisco theater and performance company, part of a wave of young American companies who are expanding the artform by questioning the primacy of text and narrative in theater and playfully transgressing received notions of the audience-performer relationship.
Mugwumpin was formed in San Francisco in 2004 by Joseph Estlack, Denmo Ibrahim, and Christopher W. White, with the aim of reinvigorating live performance as a communal event. Mugwumpin, directed by Natalie Greene since 2016, is among a new generation of American companies interested in creating relational, experiential work that questions the primacy of text and narrative in theater.
Since 2004, Mugwumpin has created 13 full productions and many smaller scale performances, all Bay Area world premieres. Our first show, Rabbit Causes Dog, was named Best Play at the 2004 SF Fringe Festival. In 2008, super:anti:reluctant thrilled international audiences at the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre. This Is All I Need was named a Best Play of 2010 by both the SF Weekly and SF Bay Guardian and successfully toured Europe in 2011.
In January, 2012, Future Motive Power, inspired by the life and work of inventor Nikola Tesla, performed at the historic Old Mint, selling out every performance. In March, 2013, The Great Big Also premiered in a co-production with Z Space; the immersive performance explored how the tradition of prophecy has shaped the American character.
Since 2010, Mugwumpin has also been creating the Occurrences series, performances created for non-theater spaces. These works—one-time experiments that develop a theme or idea without a vast input of resources—invite audiences inside our working process. Occurrences have continued evolving to include audience engagement events, such as an open conversation with cultural critic Greil Marcus and a joint in-process showing with Theatre of Yugen. Occurrences blur the boundaries between artistic creation, audience development, and final product.