The Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company

Now in our 12th Season!

The First Company
The Taming of the Shrew
Summer 2012

Mission Statement:

To produce Classic Theatre each summer in the Community of Half Moon Bay, California that is accessible, entertaining, challenging, educational and enlightening for both audiences and players alike.

Vision Statement:

By aligning ourselves with local arts organizations, businesses, trusts, and other entities in the San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula and Coast, we strive to be responsive to opportunities and challenges, both artistic and economic, that will produce theatre with a deep commitment to education, outreach and audience involvement. We also seek to celebrate diversity and to enrich and enliven the existing cultural and artistic atmosphere of our community and world.

Debbie Lynn Carriger (Artistic Director)

Since completing her undergraduate and graduate work at Baylor University and the American Conservatory Theater, Debbie has directed shows at the Exit, the Eureka, and the Magic Theatres for various SF Bay Area companies like Eastenders Repertory Company for which she also served as managing director. For a time, Debbie served as one of the Business Representatives for the Actor’s Equity Association in the Bay Area. Debbie has directed shows in Austin, Tx at FronteraFest and for ScriptWorks, a playwriting organization where she was board chair from 2012 to 2018. Debbie also served as the Membership Director for Austin’s B. Iden Payne Awards and helped shape the definitions of excellence in all award areas. While in Atlanta, Debbie performed and directed with NextStage Theater. Her most recent roles were Lenora in Conversation ‘Bout the Girls with Visions of Possibilities, Paulina in Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at Townhall Theatre and you may have seen her as the Nurse in Half Moon Bay Shakespeare’s Romeo y Julieta in 2017. Debbie loves to travel,  enjoys coaching actors and teaching voice and speech but daylights in corporate America as a Healthcare IT and Operations consultant.

Heather McAvoy (President)

Heather (she/her/hers) of La Honda has been a theatre consultant for 35 years and leads the San Francisco Bay office of Schuler Shook, a theatre design firm. She earned her BA in drama from Stanford and MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. A lighting design member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829, IATSE, she has designed for theatre, music, and dance in the US and abroad since 1986. She is President of the Board of Directors for the American Society of Theatre Consultants and serves on the advisory board of the Studio School of Design in New York. Her theatre planning projects include venues for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, A Noise Within, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and hundreds of commercial, civic, college, university, and secondary school performing arts facilities. Locally, she is a founding board member of the Stanford Coastside Club and a volunteer AYSO referee. She fell in love with Shakespeare (and theatre) in high school when she auditioned to play Olivia in Twelfth Night and was appointed stage manager instead. She and her late husband, Bruce Krempetz, led an after-school drama program in the La Honda-Pescadero schools for 15 years. They have four adult children and two grandchildren.

Lee Ellis (Co-Founder/Treasurer/Associate Producer)

Lee (she/her/hers) is a founding member of Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company. She began her love of the Bard while earning a B.A. degree in English at Westminster College and thereafter taught Shakespeare to her middle school and high school students. While raising a family, she occasionally returned to the classroom while also authoring and teaching community college seminars. She later earned a CPM and enjoyed a career in project management in a large public agency in the Bay Area. There she used organizational and communication skills toward the building of large public projects.  Lee has served as Associate Producer/Producer for all 8 seasons and manages the company’s business. Those productions include Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Macbeth, Romeo Y Julieta, Twelfth Night and As you Like It. Lee resides in Half Moon Bay, CA and is involved in various community organizations including college scholarships for local women students. She loves spending time with her 2 kids and 6 grandkids who reside in Danville, CA and Boulder, CO.

Jeanie Graham (Secretary)

Jeanie (she/her/hers) of La Honda has been on the board of the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company since 2016 and has volunteered for the Company since its founding. A Shakespeare fan since her teens, she got involved with local theatre when her younger child began acting in La Honda/Pescadero school plays and Coastside community theatre productions at the age of 8. In addition to performing secretarial duties for the Company, Jeanie creates the playbills for productions and helps with set build and strike, props, Carter Park cleanup, ticket sales, and working security or concessions during productions, often donating and pouring her homemade wines. She also volunteers for Coastal Repertory Theatre, where she produced four plays: Rabbit Hole, Artichoke, The Underpants, and Lion in Winter. She received a B.A. in journalism with a minor in chemistry from San Jose State University, and in non-theatre life is a manager of technical publications in the Federal Business Development group at SRI International, where she applies her love of a good story to help researchers and scientists write compelling grant and contract proposals on a wide variety of technical topics. 

Jeanmarie Donovan (Board Member)

Jeanmarie (she/her/hers) is the newest board member of Half Moon Bay Shakespeare and has had a love of Shakespeare since high school, where she was introduced to her favorite play, Julius Caesar. She also enjoyed participating in virtual performances of Shakespeare plays during the pandemic. While attending business school in London, she indulged in Shakespeare tourism, including visiting Stratford- upon-Avon and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. Jeanmarie holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and a master’s degree in Strategy and Leadership (Sloan Fellow) from London Business School.

Lisa Hansen (Board Member)

Lisa (she/her/hers) developed her love of Shakespeare attending Free Shakespeare in the Park in San Francisco, which happened to coincide with her birthday. She has had an abiding love for the Bard, outside and with a picnic, ever since. She has been known to host readings around the kitchen table while baking holiday cookies with her children (a family event known as Shake and Bake), and has driven her children all around the Bay Area for summer Shakespeare Camps. She became an active volunteer when her son started performing. In particular, she has put her sewing and cosplay skills to work assisting with costuming in a variety of Coastside productions. Lisa has a BA in Biology from UCSC and, prior to her retirement, spent over 30 years in the institutional investment business as a trader. In addition to volunteering for Half Moon Bay Shakespeare, she is a 17-year volunteer for the Greater Farallones Association, surveying beaches for the Farallones Marine Sanctuary.

Half Moon Bay Shakespeare is committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion through its programming, casting, education programs, and community outreach activities. Our goal is to provide a space where all participants, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education, or disability, feel valued and respected. 

Programming: We present classic plays in a variety of settings to show diverse perspectives, engage and challenge, and encourage communication, connections, empathy, and compassion among team members and with our audiences. 

Casting: We believe strongly that our productions need to reflect the diverse makeup of our community and the American population of the twenty-first century. We continually update our process for addressing issues of discrimination and harassment, and foster a safe and caring workspace. 

Education Programs: We strive to reach underrepresented communities through workshops, presentations, and summer camps at local schools to cultivate a safe space for learning and make theatre experiences accessible to all. 

Community Outreach: We support other local organizations (e.g., educators, other theatre companies, volunteer fire departments) and strive to create a welcoming environment for audiences and theatre practitioners. We also provide discounts to our performances for groups and young audiences. Our vision for the future expands on these basic tenets of DEI to include partnering with local organizations that aid underrepresented groups and/or work for social justice; offering scholarships for marginalized students; creating a more diverse board of directors; and one day providing free Shakespeare performances for all.