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2020 - 2021
Lead Artists

the performance primers

Performance Primers logo created and photographed by Zoe Donnellycolt, designed by Claire Rabkin

Photo: Performance Primers logo created and photographed by Zoe Donnellycolt, designed by Claire Rabkin

The Primers is an Oakland-based, grassroots collective serving early-career creatives. Grounded in DIY sensibility, Primers ask: what do local artists need? The Primers grow in direct response to continued evidence that our East Bay community needs accessible performance space, a caring community, and production support to thrive. In our constantly evolving context, we provide fluid structural support to artists of all kinds. The Primers team listens to artists’ needs because we are the artists we serve. We are intentionally based and remain in Oakland, Ohlone territory: a Black city with a legacy of radical mutual aid, deconstructing oppressive systems, and fostering artistic abundance; principals that we align within our work.

During our CER residency, the Primers co-curators continued to meet weekly to discuss the state of the world and the state of the arts and build our creative capacity, especially in response to the global pandemic. This year’s programming included curating and publishing a zine by 11 body-based performing artists that we distributed throughout our community and outside California. We co-produced a virtual showcase of all Bay Area-based indigenous artists with Crowded Fire Theater that concluded with a public feedback conversation on Twitch. We also invested time and funding towards a stronger virtual presence by creating a public Instagram account and building a professionally produced website with the help of Failspace design services, a radical tech collective based in New York City.

We All Touched This in a Way

A Primer Publication | December 2020

What would have been the Spring 2020 Performance Primer transformed into the Winter 2020 Primer Zine. It was born from a desire to practice collaboration in performance and now exists as a collection of collages, drawings, writings, photographs, a playlist, and space for you to participate. Featuring work by Annalise Constantz, Justin Ebrahemi, Emily Haydock, Soule, Agnes Palotas, Juliet Paramor, Ainsley Tharp, and the Primers Team (Hannah Ayasse, Chibueze Crouch, and Zoe Donnellycolt).

Photo of the printed Zine nestled in leaves

Living Folklore

Living Folklore is a project-based performance company that tells stories through a myriad of movement styles, including dance, Capoeira, theater, and acrobatics. The company  explores topics and themes, including fables and lore.Living Folklore is also a youth internship program for adolescent and teenage performing artists. With support from the CER program, participating teenagers l received stipends  to attend classes and workshops to support their continued growth and development as artists.  The project culminated with students participating in a two-day professional film and photo shoot.

Jarrel Phillips


Jarrel Phillips a.k.a Chumbinho, is a performing artist and capoeira instructor from San Francisco. He's been featured in When We Move, a short film by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA); Picture Bayview, a dance and theatre show produced by Joana Haigood founder of Zaccho Dance Theatre, and in the music video for Crazy For You by Michael Franti and Spearhead. Phillips’ work and practice has taken him around the world and includes photography, journalism, oral history, and gallery curating. Phillips currently teaches youth throughout the city of San Francisco and believes that through movement we embody, explore and share our stories; enriched with information, feelings and experiences. His work explores the important role stories play in our lives, pulling from his very own life as a SF native and world traveler. Phillips believes our individual and collective stories can build bridges across cultures and communities and spark dialogue that inspires personal and collective growth and transformation.

Headshot of Jarrel Phillips by Michole "Micholiano" Forks

Photo: Jarrel Phillips by Michole "Micholiano" Forks

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