Our History


Our Mission

Our mission is to construct physical theater based on great literature. Counter-Balance celebrates the timelessness of the classics, re-telling stories viscerally to resonate beyond social class and geography.

Our Studio

Our HomeCounter-Balance trains, rehearses and holds workshop performances in the Grotowski Barn, located on the edge of the UC Irvine campus.

The Barn was originally brought to this site as the center for Jerzy Grotowski’s “Objective Drama” research from 1983-1986, and continues to be used for physical theater classes in Contact Improvisation and Counter-Balance construction.

About Us

Counter-Balance Theater was officially formed in summer 2012 as an umbrella for our devised theater production of “Jane Eyre;” however prior to this we have created several productions built on the same aesthetics.

The DwarfWe construct through two intensive workshop periods in the Grotowski Barn resulting in full production. To date we have constructed and toured “Jane Eyre”, Claire Trevor Theater, CA, and Edison Theater, St Louis; “The Dwarf” Claire Trevor Theater, UCLA William Clark Memorial Library, LA; “A Christmas Carol” Winifred Smith Hall, CA ; “The Lost Estate” eXperimental Media Performance Lab, Contemporary Arts Center, UC Irvine; “Café le Monde” ARK Theater, LA “Fetes de la Nuit” Winifred Smith Hall, CA; “War to End War” Claire Trevor Theater.

The-Physical-Actor-standingCounter-Balance productions are generally adapted and directed by Annie Loui (favorite review quotes) and constructed with the active creative participation of core ensemble members , the creative team and guest collaborators. One of our guest collaborators is Chuck Mee, and we have presented 2 world premieres and one Southern Californian premiere of his texts.

Counter-Balance physical theater training is explored in the book The Physical Actor (Routledge, 2009)

Counterbalance Theater Corporation

Counterbalance Theater Corporation is a Section 501(c) 3 not-for-profit corporation, exempt from federal and California income tax. As a registered public charity, all contributions, bequests and gifts made to further our educational and literary objectives are tax deductible for contributors and donors.

CounterBalance is governed by its Board of Directors and operates to carry out its business plan, in strict accordance with its obligations as a tax-exempt entity. Our current funding sources are a combination of performance/workshop revenues, private contributions and grants.

The materials supporting our successful 2015 application for tax exemption made to the Inland Revenue Service and to the California Franchise and Tax Board are publically available documents.