Common Grounds Theatre

San Diego, California

Learn More!

Since its establishment in the early 1990s, the Common Grounds Theatre in San Diego, California, has played a significant role in the development of the city's artistic scene. Numerous performances, from original works to adaptations of classic plays, have found a home in this tiny, cozy theater. Theatergoers and performers alike adore it because of its dedication to developing new talent and nurturing a feeling of community.


A collection of San Diego-based artists who were dissatisfied with the city's dearth of accessible performance venues established the theater in 1991. They made the decision to build their own venue, one that would be accessible to all artists, independent of origin or expertise. The theater's first home was a renovated warehouse in the city's North Park area, and it soon developed into a focal point for San Diego's creative scene.

From solo performances to elaborate musicals, the theater has housed a variety of events over the years. Local artists have a chance to display their skills and connect with a larger audience by writing and directing a large portion of these shows. Numerous concerts and events have also taken place at the theater, including the San Diego Fringe Festival, which features alternative theater and performance art.

Noteable Performances

"Zoot Suit," a drama by Luis Valdez about the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder trial in Los Angeles, was one of the theater's most important performances. The play, which debuted in 1978, was an innovative piece that addressed racial, ethnic, and social injustices. In 1998, the Common Grounds Theatre put on a performance of "Zoot Suit" that won acclaim for its potent performances and delicate handling of the subject matter.

Another noteworthy drama was Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," which was first presented in 1938. The play was presented by the Common Grounds Theatre in 2014, and it was praised by reviewers as a delicate and subtle interpretation of this timeless work. The theater has been successful in retaining a varied and active audience over the years thanks to its dedication to presenting both contemporary and classic plays.

Importance of Theatre

The importance of theater as a means of entertainment cannot be overstated. From ancient Greek tragedies to modern-day musicals, theater has been a way for people to connect with one another and explore complex issues through the power of storytelling. Theater has the unique ability to transport us to different times and places, and to challenge our assumptions and beliefs. In a world where many forms of entertainment are consumed alone, theater remains a communal experience. Watching a play with a group of strangers can be a transformative experience, as we share in the emotions and reactions of those around us. The Common Grounds Theatre has played an important role in fostering this sense of community in San Diego, providing a space where artists and audiences can come together to share in the magic of theater.

In conclusion, the Common Grounds Theatre in San Diego has been a vital part of the city's cultural landscape for over 30 years. Its commitment to supporting new talent and producing diverse and thought-provoking plays has made it a beloved institution for theater-goers and performers alike. As we continue to navigate the challenges of the 21st century, the importance of theater as a means of entertainment and community-building has never been clearer. We can only hope that theaters like the Common Grounds Theatre will continue to thrive and provide us with the transformative experiences that only live theater can offer.


Charles, Artistic Director CGT

As we continue the legacy of our founders and the late great Dr. Floyd Gaffney, we hope that you continue to support our endeavors.

Susan, Raleigh NC

Went to see Trailer Trash Christmas what a pleasant surprise here I loved every minute of this play. Awesome little theater and the cast was wonderful. I've never been to a play like it but will be back. They even passed out snacks through out the play it was part of it. Awesome job people.

Sterling, Brookfield WI

A great theatre that tackles some very complex themes. It is always a treat to come here! Common Ground Theatre is one of Southeastern San Diego’s jewels. Its focus on presenting work reflective of the African American experience is important.

Paula, Phoenix AZ

We discovered this little venue a few years back. Blink and you will miss the sign for it. Small but intimate. They put on great plays and it is open seating. Very small lobby area that fills up quickly, as a line forms to get in. Small concession stand. Small bathrooms! But they provide Quality entertainment and a great evening out!