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Bay Area Labor Theatre records

Identifier: larc-ms-0246

Scope and Contents

Records include governance documents including some minutes, the articles of incorporation, by-laws, and balloting results.

Records from activities recount stage and radio presentations including radio program by Bill Shields on KPFA underwritten by a $5000 NEA grant. Activities also include promotion, outreach, classes, production ideas and agit-prop theater, poetry and arts and letters.


  • circa 1980-1982


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.


The Bay Area Labor Theatre was a multi-project political theater association of over 75 workers and artists from around the San Francisco Bay. BALT campaigned in support for local labor strikes, abortion rights, and against U. S. intervention in Central America. Internally work focused on skills development workshops. BALT projects included a picket line troupe, Front Line Action Collective (FLAC) which brought short, issue oriented sketches to picket lines, rallies and meetings through out the area; an improvisation workshop; a 25 voice Labor Chorus performing upbeat programs of songs, developing a musical revue to tour theaters and union halls; a KPFA radio project; and a publication, Critical Times. BALT also became involved in teaching, participating in a San Francisco Community College Labor Studies Department program (May 1981) entitled "Work, Workers and Workers Art."

Bill Shields, a co-founder of BALT with Kevin Benge and Vesta Gray and a member of the Board of Directors, 1980-1982, co-produced with Rose Panico, KPFA's Swing N 'Shift, offering up a biweekly smorgasbord of satire, song, drama and documentary. The show premiered on May 28, 1981.

Richard O. Jarrett was a past President and member of the BALT Board of Directors (1981-1982), and a member of the American Federation of Postal Workers. He was active in Bay Area cultural life as a performer, writer and teacher since the late 1940's.


0.75 Cubic Feet (<extent> (2 boxes)</extent>)

Language of Materials



Records include governance documents including some minutes, the articles of incorporation, by-laws, and balloting results.


Collection is available onsite.

Acquisition Information

This material was donated by Richard O. Jarrett in the fall of 1996, accession number 1996/063.

Related Collections

Bay Area Labor Theatre Records,, contains additional materials. This collection is unprocessed.

Inventory of the Bay Area Labor Theatre Records, circa 1980-1982
In Progress
Labor Archives and Research Center staff.
© 1999, revised 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in: English

Repository Details

Part of the Labor Archives and Research Center Repository

San Francisco State University
J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460
1630 Holloway Ave
San Francisco 94132-1722 USA
(415) 405-5571