Venue Details

1697 Star Starred
Aurora Theatre Company
2081 Addison Street Berkeley, CA 94704
Venue website Get directions
95 events
41 reviews
46 stars
Arrive promptly. Late comers are escorted to the business office, given a chair and then view a monitor until entering at intermission. I learned this the hard way!
The Heir Apparent
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95 events
41 reviews
46 stars
If you plan to dine before the play, be sure to reserve. The nearby restaurants, Gecko Gecko, Bella Osteria, Revitalization Bar fill up weeks in advance.
Little Erik
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Reviews & Ratings

"The First Grade"
54 ratings
4.2 average rating
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  • 4
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61 events
13 reviews
6 stars
attended Jan 30 2010

The actors were quite good...there were some funny lines..but I simply didn't get the point of the play. Although it was the winner of a playwriting competition, I don't understand what the judges thought was so special about it. A slice of life...continued

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geoffch Red Velvet
48 events
21 reviews
14 stars
attended Feb 03 2010

It's a dreadful play. Lots of sound and fury signifying nothing.

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87 events
31 reviews
25 stars
attended Jan 30 2010

Very well done, as usual at Aurora. Quirky play about quirky people. Very funny and also serious. A few loose ends in the plot, but that's okay.

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More Information


Aurora Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of lauded Chicago playwright Joel Drake Johnson’s The First Grade. Aurora Theatre Company Artistic Director Tom Ross directs this new play from Johnson, whom The Chicago Reader declared “balances gallows humor with acute insight and compassion. He creates characters so real you wonder what will happen to them after the final blackout.”

Exploring with great humor and passion the price one pays for being a totally engaged member of society, The First Grade follows the sometimes comic, sometimes frightening journey of a woman whose attempts to save her physical therapist from harm leads her into a chaos that includes a class of first graders, her depressed daughter, and an ex-husband with whom she still shares a home. The First Grade originated as one of last season’s Global Age Project (GAP) finalists and is the first main stage production to develop from the GAP. Playwright Joel Drake Johnson was also recently named a GAP finalist for a second year in a row for his new play A Guide for the Perplexed, which will make its main stage World Premiere next season at Victory Gardens, starring Kevin Anderson.

Aurora Theatre Company continues to offer challenging, literate, intelligent stage works to the Bay Area, each year increasing its reputation for top-notch theatre. Located in the heart of the Downtown Berkeley Arts District, Aurora Theatre Company has been called “one of the most important regional theaters in the area” by the San Francisco Chronicle_, while the Wall Street Journal_ has “nothing but praise for the Aurora.” The Contra Costa Times stated, “perfection is probably an unattainable ideal in a medium as fluid as live performance, but the Aurora Theatre comes luminously close,” while the San Jose Mercury News affirmed “[Aurora Theatre Company] lives up to its reputation as a theater that feeds the mind,” and the Oakland Tribune declared “it’s all about choices, and if you value good theater, choose the Aurora.”