History and Mission


India Street Poets Theater Gatherings, 1976

India Street Poets Theater Gatherings, 1976

Our roots begin in 1976 as the India Street Poets Theatre next to the Marquis Public Theatre at India and Washington streets. A weekly gathering of regional and visiting poets performed with musicians to a packed audience every Sunday Night for two years at the home of David Francis Banks and Paula Kaleel Banks.

Zopilote at the Old RUSE, 1988

In 1980 the Bear State Theatre Inc., a not- for profit organization, was formed in the sanctuary of the Main Baptist Church building on Tenth and E streets. This was also the year that Installation Gallery was formed on our founder, David Banks request. That was the year of the active downtown artists movement. We opened the Installation space with David's wake, as he died on July Fourth. RUSE was founded in Feb. 1988 in a downtown gallery, a 505 sq ft. storefront, vacated by Installation Gallery. In 1988 the Bear State Theatre and the newly formed Ruse Collective joined forces under the Bear State non profit status and convened in the Fifth Avenue Space until 1990. RUSE organized live SoundArt Installation performances, with text, video and sculpture. RUSE Music Collective is an offshoot of the movement started by the San Diego Artist's Nucleo, KIVA (in the Center for Experimental Music at UCSD,) and Tercero-Dow's SoundArt.

Brad Dow playing junkyard instruments, 1988

Isabel Tercero 1988

Isabel Tercero vocalizing, 1988

In October 1990, RUSE returned home to the Marquis Theatre space, producing an active theatre program and our Ruse Fest music events. A perfect size, 103 seats, and functioning space, equipped with lights, sound, storage and construction space. In 1995 we relocated to the ReinCarnation Art Center project in hopes of expanding our program. It had been a great year but we did not share the vision of the developer for this central arts facility. El Campo Ruse has established our own space again for our programs at 940 16th Avenue. We have new colleagues and neighbors; the740 group on Sixteenth Street.

Brad Dow on Acrylic Chance Flute

Bear State Logo

Organization's major accomplishments

In 1989, Bear State Theatre/RUSE received the first grant from the San Diego City's Commission for Art and Culture. The organization began to collaborate with local, as well as touring artists. We organized our Ist. RUSEFEST by commissioning new pieces to two local musicians Glenn Horiuchi and Turiya, these two performances were broadcasted live in collaboration with KSDS Jazz 88. RUSEFEST has presented major international artists such as, DNA (Germany-Holland), ROVA Saxophone Quartet (Berkeley), Dr. Jean Charles Francois (France), Arturo Cipriano (México), Isabel Tercero (Nicaragua), Une Igede (Nigeria), Vinny Golia, Bonnie Barnett(Los Angeles), Steve Buchanan (New York), Jorge Peña (México), Elliot Levin (Philadelphia). Scores of local musicians, such as Daniel Jackson, Joe Garrison, M'Chaka Uba, Bill Caballero, Jaime Valle, Dr. John Silber, Dr. Steve Schick; performance artists from Tijuana, Hugo Sánchez, and Gerardo Navarro.

Daniel Jackson

The Naked Theatre Company 1990

The Naked Theatre Club, has produced and performed A Fool for Love, Amadeus, The Lady Cries Murder, It had to be you, Ghostdance, and the recent Sam Sheppard festival with A Lie of the Mind, Cowboy Mouth, Holy Ghostly, and the world premiere of States of Shock. Also, several co-productions with community companies: such as Sleazeball Production's Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Sleeping Beauty or Coma, and Women Behind Bars; with the Pipparoos, A coal in your stocking; with Underground Productions The Lesson. The Naked Theatre Club, produces the All-City Free Shakespeare in the Park Festival. Since 1989, the Festival has presented A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, Julius Ceasar, Romeo and Juliet, and King Lear. The plan for the summer of '93 is to present Richard III, at Zoro Gardens in Park, and to tour A Midsummer Night's Dream, to various sites in San Diego County. The All-City Free Shakespeare in the Park Festival is an outdoor community event, and it's our principal outreach project. Our organization also sponsors Improvisation and comedy workshops.

Artistic Mission Statement

Bear State Theatre/RUSE is a multi-national, multi-disciplinary, artist collective, and alternative community performing center. We are performers, presenters, producers, promoters, art service providers, art trainers, and publishers. Bear State Theatre/RUSE is dedicated to the development of a community-based alternative performing space; by facilitating the growth of in-house performing groups; by commissioning new works; by presenting the annual RUSEFEST, and The All-City Free Shakespeare in the Park Summer Festival; by presenting and promoting individual artists and companies; by publishing Ruseletter and developing Ruseweb.


Carl Peck Sculptures

Scuptures of Carl Peck, 1988

the late Ted Blake

Currently, Bear State Theatre/RUSE artistic mission is

to develop as an alternative community performing space; the growth of the two in-house performing groups; to commission new works; to continue as festival presenters, RUSEFEST, and the All-City Free Shakespeare in the Park Festival; to present and promote individual artists and companies, during year-round, on-going programming; the recruitment and training of young talent; the publishing of ruseletter as a literary forum, and marketing tool; to provide assistance to individual artists, local theatre companies and musical groups;

Zopilote on Alto Clarinet

Zopi on Clarinet at old Ruse Gallery 1988

Zopilote on Alto Clarinet 1988 at Old Ruse Gallery

Our Community

We serve the entire community of San Diego County. We have presented and sponsored artists, whose audiences are as diverse as San Diego, including artists from Tijuana. We do not target to any specific type of population.

Bear State Theatre/RUSE is an artist collective. There is a strong mix of seasoned veterans, and young developing talent. We are constantly auditioning, recruiting, and training artists, technicians and support personnel. One long-range goal is to develop RUSE Conservatory. Currently, members of the collective conduct workshops at the theatre. Several community artists and producers have conducted classes, workshops, and auditions.

Zopilote and Gary Ghirardi, 1988

Hubcap Gongs, Junkyard Orchestra

the late Ted Blake on Bass in 1988

Concert as Immediate Freedom Orquestra at El Nopal Centenario in Tijuana, Mexico,
with Turiya Mareya, Zopilote, M'Chaka Uba, Johnny Macias, Dave Millard, 1988

Dutch DNA at Marquis in 1993

Taco Shop Poets 1995

Taco Shop Poets 1995

Zopilote and Adrian Arancibia at El Campo Ruse Stage, 1996

Zopilote and Adrian Arancibia at El Campo Ruse Stage, 1996

Elliot Levin at El Campo Ruse from Philliy

Elliot Lenin in from Philly to perform at El Campo Ruse, 1997

Poet Hung Tu at El Campo Ruse 1997

Poet Hung Tu at El Campo Ruse 1997

Outlate Jam Sessions every Friday midnight to 4am, 1996

Outlate Jam Sessions every Friday midnight to 4am, 1996

Elias Ramirez y Gary Ghirardi, 1996

Trago Amargo y Gary Ghirardi at Youth Conference in Tepoztlán, Mexico, 1996

Trago, Carmela, Pat in Tepoztlan

Trago Amargo Carmela Castrejón and Pat Payne at Youth Conference in Tepoztlán, Mexico, 1996

El Campo Ruse Office with Johnny Partida and Esmer, Zopilote on Guitar and Gerardo Navarro in contemplation

El Campo Ruse Office with Johnny Partida and Esmer, Zopilote on Guitar and Gerardo Navarro in contemplation

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