About Us
...a roller coaster ride!

History in Brief
Steeplechase Productions was born on June 13, 2001 at Liberty Deli on Alki Beach.  When the resident company of Alki’s only dinner theatre gave notice they were moving on, restaurant owner Tom Ansart, with support and encouragement by actor extraordinaire Kady Douglas, decided to self produce.  The first show "What Happened Was..." opened Labor Day weekend and soon after terriorists struck the World Trade Center.  It’s been a roller coaster ride ever since.
Steeplechase was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) corporation in April of 2003.  Twenty-one shows were produced at Liberty Deli before the restaurant was forced to close in February, 2004 when the ownership of the property changed hands.  The company is known for neo-classical productions of lesser known works by great playwrights (Ibsen, Shaw, Sartre, Chekhov, Genet).  
A strategic planning process has lead to a goal to produce an annual festival of plays by French playwrights. 

In 2007 we produced our first Playing French Seattle festival featuring plays by Cesare Orioli and José Pliya.  The 2008 festival was dedicated to the works of José Pliya who travelled from Guadeloupe to present the keynote address. 

Playing French Seattle, the what and the why

The fourth festival of plays under the banner of Playing French Seattle was produced in November, 2010.  Although sometimes portrayed as a University of Washington student organization, or an arm of Steeplechase Productions, Playing French Seattle is really a loose knit group of actors, directors, producers and crew who love theatre and the French language and get together periodically to stage plays in French.  We have produced classics such as Racine' Phèdre, Rostand's "Les Romanesques," and, in 2010, Molière's "Le Médecin Malgré Lui."  We have produced plays by contemporary French playwrights like Orioli's "L'Atelier d'Ecriture," Pliya's "Nous Etions Assis sur le Rivage du Monde" and "Les Effracteurs" and Visniec's "Le Deuxième Tilleul à Gauche" and "Petit Boulot pour Vieux Clown."  In 2010 we are hosted plays by Jean-Michel Ribes staged by "Elles et Luis" (teachers from the Franco-American School of Puget Sound).  We have experimented with bilingual productions in Balzac's "Le Faiseur" and Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities."  Although best known for our annual festival at the Ethnic Cultural Theatre, we have also performed for the Alliance Française at the Good Shepherd Theatre, the Franco-American Chamber of Commerce at Seattle Center for Bastille Day, and the at the University of Washington for "World Languages Day."  Playing French Seattle is more of a happening than an organization or a place.  We're glad that you happen to be here and welcome your engagement.


Tom Ansart

Producer, Steeplechase Productions

Member, Playing French Seattle


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