MAY 10 - JUN 11 at Z BELOW


One of England’s finest and most loved writers, Alan Bennett, explores the uncomfortable and tragicomic gap between people’s public appearance and their private desires in this tender and surprising story. In The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson, a recently bereaved widow finds interesting ways to supplement her income by performing as a patient for medical students, and renting out her spare room. Quiet, middle-class, and middle-aged, Mrs. Donaldson will soon discover that she rather enjoys role-play at the hospital, and the irregular and startling entertainment provided by her tenants.A master storyteller dissects a very English form of secrecy with this story of the unexpected in otherwise apparently ordinary lives.  Directed by Amy Kossow.


WORD FOR WORD Performing Arts Company is an ensemble whose mission is to tell great stories with elegant theatricality, staging performances of classic and contemporary fiction. 

Co-Artistic Directors JoAnne Winter and Susan Harloe founded Word for Word Performing Arts Company in 1993 as part of the Artists in Residence program at The Z Space Studio (Z Space's original name).

The very first performance, to a packed audience in a rehearsal space on Howard Street, was Dorothy Parker’s “The Standard of Living.” It was directed by Amy Freed and featured John Balma, Susan Harloe, and JoAnne Winter.

Top left:  Rosie Hallett, Rudy Guerrero in "Night Vision" by Emma Donoghue | Top right: Stephanie Hunt, Rudy Guerrero in "Silence" by Colm Tóibín; | Bottom left:  Jeri Lynn Cohen, Howard Swain in "The Office" by Alice Munro | Bottom right: Jackson Davis, Søren Oliver, Rotimi Agbabiaka in  "Dancing Dan's Christmas" by Damon Runyon:  Holiday High Jinx

After early performances in public libraries and schools, Word for Word soon began performing short stories on stage, quickly becoming a local theatre favorite. In 1994, Word for Word became a program of Z Space and has maintained popularity ever since. In 1998, they established an arts education program known as YOUTH ARTS employing the Word for Word style of in-depth, literature-from-the-inside-out workshops in Bay Area schools.


In its vibrant history, Word for Word has performed over 70 stories by some of the world’s best writers. Many of these stories have been performed in front of the authors themselves. They perform regularly at Z Space since 1996 have toured annually throughout California and France.

In 1997, Word for Word received a special Bay Area Critics Circle Award for its unique concept and in 1998, 2002, 2003, and 2005, the Bay Area Critics Circle awarded the company numerous honors for productions including “The Halfway Diner,” “Winesburg, Ohio,” Stories by Tobias Wolff,” and “Immortal Heart.” In 2008, Word for Word received the Best Ensemble Award for “Sonny's Blues,” with composer Marcus Shelby receiving the best Original Score for the production.

Charter Group

The advisory board of Word for Word, the Charter Group, is also the core acting ensemble and directing pool for the company.  More information about the Charter Members >

Associate Artists Group

Word for Word's Associate Artists Group is a coterie of talented young theater professionals who are bringing Word for Word to a new generation of audiences.

Lisa Hori-Garcia
Jill MacLean
Andrew Packard
Ryan Tasker
Becca Wolff

Molly Benson
Amber Bryant
Andrea Day
Rosie Hallett
Gendell Hing-Hernandez

author's council

The following writers have had their work performed by Word for Word, and lend their names in support the work of our company.


Joanne Greenberg
Andrew Sean Greer
Daniel Handler
Barbara Kingsolver
Armistead Maupin
Octavio Solis
Amy Tan
Tobias Wolff

Greg Sarris | Honorary President

Julia Alvarez
T.C. Boyle
Dorothy Bryant
Sandra Cisneros
Siobhan Fallon
Paul Fleischman
Richard Ford
Ellen Gilchrist