Award-Winning Playwright Tanya Shaffer Joins Pioneering New Theater Company as Its First Resident Artist

Award-winning playwright Tanya Shaffer to help deliver on Remote Theater's vision to engage global playwrights and showcase their work digitally around the world.

Award-Winning Playwright Tanya Shaffer Joins Pioneering New Theater Company as Its First Resident Artist
Santa Clara, CA, March 17, 2021 --( Remote Theater, a new theater company committed to pioneering the art of mixed-media live performance, has announced that award-winning actor/playwright Tanya Shaffer will be its first resident artist. In that role, she will work closely with the Remote team to develop new works and identify plays from geographic regions that are currently underrepresented on the American stage.

A long-time member of the Bay Area theater community now splitting her time between the Bay Area and Ann Arbor, Michigan, Shaffer’s plays have been produced by Berkeley Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, San Diego Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle), and others, and have toured to more than 40 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Her musical The Fourth Messenger, a collaboration with composer Vienna Teng, enjoyed sold-out runs in Berkeley, Taiwan, and the New York Musical Festival. Tanya has also co-written two shows for the Tony-Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe. An alum of the Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwright’s Initiative, she has received Bay Area Theater Critics Award and been nominated for a National Theatre Critics’ Association Steinberg Award. Before taking a hiatus from acting to raise her two kids (now teenagers), she appeared regularly on Bay Area Stages both large and small, including TheatreWorks, Berkeley Rep, California Shakespeare Theatre, A Traveling Jewish Theater, Center Rep and more.

Shaffer collaborated with Remote Founder Giovanni Rodriguez at the theater’s inception in Spring 2020 on the company’s virtual staging of Obie-award winning play One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace. It was one of the first professional productions that explored the new medium of remote performance, employing actors in Vancouver, New York, Michigan, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Since then, she worked with Remote to stage the virtual premiere of her own play Manatee on Mars, a dramedy that explores the contemporary challenges of parenting children on the autistic spectrum.

Tanya has long combined her love of theater with a deep passion for global travel. In addition to her plays, several of which were inspired by her travels, she is the author of the travel memoir "Somebody’s Heart is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa," based on a year spent living in Ghana (a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2005). Her travel stories appeared frequently on the now-defunct Wanderlust section of and appear in more than a dozen anthologies. She is thrilled by the idea of expanding the scope of Remote Theater to a global stage through collaborations with international writers and performers.

“I admire Tanya not just for the depth of her vision, but for her commitment to people and stories largely absent from American theatre,” says Rodriguez. “She’s a core part of our team as we enter our second year with the intention of going global.”

Later this year - during the winter holiday season - Remote will stage a virtual concert of a reworked version of Shaffer’s musical The Fourth Messenger (with composer Vienna Teng), which asks the question, what if the Buddha were a woman, living in our time? Shaffer will also help select plays from a global community of playwrights for REMOTE RAW, a series of lightly rehearsed readings performed by top-tier professional actors. For more information on Remote Theater and its 2021 calendar, visit

About Remote Theater

Born during the pandemic, but with an eye on the future, Remote Theater is a new collective of artists exploring the boundaries of mixed-media live performance. We’re committed to developing and reimagining great plays and finding global audiences for them, while pioneering the art of “live cinema.” Artists we have worked with include Obie-award winning playwright Naomi Wallace, playwright/librettist Billy Aronson (the originator of the concept for the Tony-Award winning musical RENT), award-winning playwright Anthony Clarvoe, and renowned playwright/actor Tanya Shaffer, the company’s first resident artist.
Remote Theatre
Giovanni Rodriguez