Theatre Rhinoceros

A nonprofit organization

$1,540 raised by 16 donors

6% complete

$25,000 Goal

Help the world's longest-running LGBTQ+ theatre keep going and growing!

Theatre Rhinoceros, the world’s longest-running, continuously producing professional queer theatre, was founded in San Francisco in August 1977 by the late Allan B. Estes, Jr. The company’s first play, ‘The West Street Gang’ by Doric Wilson, was staged in a South of Market leather bar, The Black and Blue. Early in its 44-year history, The Rhino was the first theatre company in the U.S. to deal with the AIDS epidemic by presenting ‘The AIDS Show: Artists Involved with Death and Survival,’ co-authored by 20 Bay Area artists. The show ran for two years, toured the U.S., and was the subject of a 1987 PBS documentary. After Estes’ untimely death from AIDS, Theatre Rhinoceros was headed by Kristine Gannon (1984-1987), Charles Solomon (1987-1988), Kenneth R. Dixon (1988-1990), Adele Prandini (1990-1999), Doug Holsclaw (1999-2002), and John Fisher (2002 - present).

From its inception, The Rhino has been dedicated to telling the stories of the queer community and creating a welcoming home for artists who are queer, or allied to the queer world. Our track record is one of bold, innovative, exciting productions emphasizing the historical underpinning of the LGBTQ+ experience while examining its present and bridging to its future by giving voice to exciting emerging artists and fresh narratives and formats.

In August 2022, Theatre Rhinoceros formally signed a rental lease for 4229 18th St. in the Castro, taking over the space from the community art gallery SparkArts. We had previously leased and semi-converted the space for theatrical productions beginning in 2019, demonstrating that a non-traditional theatrical venue can be converted for performance, with no decrease in artistic quality, financial return, and audience appreciation. 

With your generous support, Theatre Rhinoceros can continue to move toward stability in these trying and dangerous times, providing a safe home and incubator for LGBTQ+ creativity, fair financial compensation for local artists and collaborators, expanded and updated programming (including more accessibility implementations), and more rehearsal and production spaces.

Theatre Rhinoceros is:
John Fisher - Executive Artistic Director
Crystal Liu - Development Director & Company Manager
Raphael Buenaventura - Web Services
Amy Ballesteros - Bookkeeper

Board of Directors
Joseph Tally - President
Kim Kenneth Larsen - Vice President
Jeremy Laurin - Treasurer
Craig Souza - Secretary
Cath Brannigan
Lawrence Dillon
John Kennedy
Ely Sonny Orquiza
Allan Paisley

Organization Data


Organization name

Theatre Rhinoceros

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture


4229 18th St



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