American Conservatory Theater Heads to Kink Armory Drill Court

SAN FRANCISCO—Among other non-adult endeavors now making use of the massive drill court that is but one part of the historic San Francisco armory located in the city’s Mission District, the American Conservatory Theater will soon be using the space for its upcoming production of "Black Watch," which tells the story of “soldiers who served in Iraq with Scotland’s nearly 300-year-old Black Watch regiment.” The armory, which was constructed in 1914, was purchased in 2007 by, which for years has expressed an interest in allowing the drill court to be used for the benefit of the local community.

According to local ABC affiliate KGO-TV, the new Armory Community Center is charged with bringing community-oriented projects into the space. Manager Andrew Harvill assured the station that the center has its own entrance and that any “kinky stuff” created in other parts of the enormous armory is kept totally separate from the community center.

"It's not that adult content is our only existence, right?” he told KGO. “So, this is just another facet, another way for the company to express itself.”

In addition to the upcoming National Theatre of Scotland production, the drill court is also going to the dogs, literally. According to KGO, the California Highway Patrol brought in its canine corps for drills earlier this week. But it’s the embrace of the armory by A.C.T., which itself has been one of San Francisco’s most enduring and respected cultural institutions since its founding in 1965, that may solidify the space as a bone fide community service.

According to A.C.T Artistic Director Carey Perloff, "We looked everywhere. We looked in the East Bay, on the piers; then we found the armory, the drill court. It's like it was made for us.”

For the Mission Merchants Association, the production represents a watershed event, and called projects like it “game changers” for the area.

Not everyone has signed on to the new space, however. The Mission Cultural Center said it will pass for the moment, telling KGO, "The concern is focusing on the youth and actually developing a positive message that's going to encourage them to look for alternatives other than sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” Party pooper.

For more information about A.C.T.’s production of “Black Watch,” go here.

Image: Scene from “Black Watch,” courtesy of American Conservatory Theater.