About Us

About Us 2020-06-05T03:33:47+00:00

Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company is a 501(c)3 organization with an “art to the gut” sensibility. Founded in 2015 in San Diego, California, Backyard Renaissance believes that exceptional storytelling is rooted in a sense of joyful play, human connection and gutsy intensity.

Francis Gercke – Artistic Director

A graduate of The Actors Studio Drama School at the New School for Social Research, Fran Gercke is an award winning actor and director and has been an instructor in San Diego at the college level and privately for the past 19 years.  In 2001, Gercke co-founded New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad and served as the artistic director until 2008. From July 2008 through August 2010, he worked with Cygnet Theatre as the associate artistic director. He is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and has worked professionally in San Diego with such companies as the San Diego Repertory Theatre, Cygnet Theatre, Lambs Players Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, ion theatre, Moonlight Stage Productions, New Village Arts, and Sledgehammer Theatre.

Jessica John – Executive Director

Jessica John is an award winning actor, most recently the 2019 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play (Isobel Bridie, An Experiment with an Air Pump).  Before co-founding Backyard Renaissance in 2015, Jessica was the co-founder and executive director of Backyard Productions in San Diego until 2008. She is a company member of Cygnet Theatre and has worked professionally in San Diego with such companies as the North Coast Repertory Theatre, ion theatre, Moonlight Stage Productions, New Village Arts Theatre, New Fortune Theatre Company, Moxie Theatre, Oceanside Theatre Company, Diversionary Theatre and Renaissance Theatre.  She was named one of the “Top 50 People to Watch” by San Diego Magazine.

Anthony Methvin – Producing Director

Anthony Methvin is Producing Director at Backyard Renaissance, where he directed BacheloretteAbundance and the World Premiere of Tarrytown.  As the programming director for BYR’s Unleashed series, he has directed the staged reading of Assistance and directed and co-adapted the Camp B Movie series of Showgirls, Mommie Dearest, Troll 2, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, and Queen of Outer Space. He is also the Producing Associate at Diversionary Theatre, where he directed Significant Other and The Santaland Diaries, directed and conceived Linda Libby’s HoliGay Storytime, and directed the workshop of Who’s That, Gurl? and readings of The Harvest and Wolves. Assistant Director: Buyer & Cellar and Sense & Sensibility (Old Globe), and Dogfight (Cygnet). Selected San Diego performances: Sir Bedevere & others in Spamalot (Cygnet), Doug in Gutenberg! The Musical! and Lord John in The Elephant Man (Backyard Renaissance), Roger in A New Brain, Reed in Boys and Girls, and Kent in Harmony, Kansas (Diversionary). Playwright: Bleed Like Me. Education: BFA in Acting from Florida State University. Upcoming in Spring 2020: Director of Steel Magnolias for Backyard Renaissance. You can follow him on Instagram @anthonymethvin.

Board of Directors

Wendy Nash • Lauren Wilson • Jessica John Gercke • Andrew Oswald • Nan Pace • Tom Budd • Anthony Methvin • Francis Gercke