The Dragon is a 20 year old non-profit arts organization based out of Redwood City, CA (RWC). We were founded by Meredith Hagedorn in 1998 in Los Angeles. After she moved from LA to the Bay Area in 1999, and was burned out from the fight of trying to be a performer in a sea of others with the same dream, Meredith decided that to do something in this business, you’ve got to make it happen and not wait around for others to hand you the opportunity. That’s when she decided to start producing.
The more frustrated actors she met, the more she wanted to provide theatrical opportunities for them. Dragon produced 9 productions in its’ nomadic state all around the Bay Area before having a desire for a home in downtown Palo Alto (where there’s over 50 restaurants in a 5 block radius and not a lot of entertainment going on). The search landed Dragon in an art gallery on the corner of Alma and Hamilton. We knew that this would be a terrific location being right across the street from the Cal-Train station so people could access the Dragon Theatre from all over the Bay Area. We finished the build of our 42-seat black box theatre in February of 2006 with 120K in debt to start things off.
We realized the risks and knew that we would have to work that much harder than most to sustain the company and make it successful for the long run. By the middle of our 2nd full season in 2007, we had paid off our entire debt and found the company in the black.
Another program created was Dragon Lite. This program provided opportunities for young Directors looking to produce the plays they were passionate about, but perhaps hadn’t been given the opportunity to do so with other theatre companies. These individuals were mentored through the process of producing, and were able to share in some of Dragon’s resources, to performances.
As Meredith grew the company through Dragon’s first permanent space in Palo Alto, CA, followed by the move to its current home in Redwood City, the real vision for the company began to take shape.
The Dragon was a place where early career theatre artists could realize their passion projects, with the support and guidance of the Dragon staff; and where audiences could experience ambitious, unusual and thought provoking plays. Meredith created and fostered the essence of the Dragon; a community of theatrical artists and experiences for all. By 2012, the constantly increasing cost of real estate in Palo Alto resulted in our search for a new home for the Dragon. The search took us up the Peninsula to beautiful downtown Redwood City’s Theatre District. After a successful capital fundraising campaign through 2012, we raised the funds and created a wonderful new partnership with our current landlords and the Redwood City community to establish our former space.