Come get naked with us again! The next entry in ion’s Naked Plays Series is
Ten Chain Links from Judge by Yolanda Franklin & Morgan Trant Kinnally


San Diego, CA – ion theatre proudly announces a public staged reading of the new play, Ten Chain Links from Judge by Yolanda Franklin & Morgan Trant Kinnally, scheduled for Monday November 5, 2018 – 6:30pm – in the Fireside Room at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Banker’s Hill.

 This exciting new play, written by ion company members Yolanda Franklin & Morgan Trant Kinnally – and featuring Ms. Franklin – is an episodic, one-woman show about Imani Williams’ political run for district attorney. As she battles her inner demons and the weight of her people’s history while considering a political career, Imani is haunted by dreams of historical figures related to Ona Judge, an escaped slave of George Washington. The story plays out in the children’s section of a local branch library during black history month where we meet modern and historical characters that shape Imani’s decision to run for office – or perhaps her decision to bow out. The play reading is directed by ion Founder & Executive Artistic Director Claudio Raygoza.

 Co-writer and actor Yolanda Franklin is an award-winning actress and director with a degree in Business Management and Marketing. She is a company member of ion theatre company and also a member of San Diego Writer's Ink. Yolanda is an advocate of plays about the African-American experience.  Her work on plays by August Wilson, Ifa Bayeza, Ntozake Shange and Michael Henry Brown has led her to the collaboration on this One-woman show. She also serves as Executive Producer of ion’s Naked Plays series.

Co-writer Morgan Trant Kinnally’s work has been presented by ion theatre (Refuse, or the Golden Door), La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls Festival, Scripps Ranch Theatre’s New Works Studio, Theatre for the New City, For a Better Understanding of Mankind, and Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. Upcoming readings with THML Theatre and the Midwest Dramatists Conference. She is a 2018 Eugene O’Neill semifinalist, 2018 Leah Ryan Emerging Women Writers Finalist, company member with ion theatre, and a Dramatists Guild Member.  Ms. Kinnally has a B.F.A. in Theatre/Acting from SUNY Buffalo, M.Ed., and she currently serves as an English 12 and Creative Writing teacher at Bayfront Charter High School in Chula Vista, CA.

Claudio Raygoza is the founder and executive artistic director of ion theatre where he has produced, written, directed, designed and nurtured scores of productions over the last 15 years.

What – Ten Chain Links from Judge, by Yolanda Franklin & Morgan Trant Kinnally, directed by Claudio Raygoza
 – Monday November 5, 6:30pm
Where – St. Paul’s Cathedral – Fireside Room – 2728 Sixth Avenue, San Diego, CA. 92103
Tickets – Donations accepted at door – Reservations recommended
Info – or (619) 600-5020.

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in the news...

We're excited to announce that ion theatre is a 2018 recipient of a grant from the Gerald T. & Inez Grant Parker Foundation in support of its first-ever theater in schools program we are calling EducatION!

To support our important work of bringing the magic of live theater to schools in our area, please click on the donate button above!


craig noel awards 2017 and the ion actor legacy

2018 is promising to be another stellar year of important work for ion theatre and its artists. We’re still glowing from the recent San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Awards ceremony where ion artists were honored for their distinguished work on local stages in 2017. 

Earning top honors for the evening was ion’s sold-out smash production of THE BALLAD OF EMMETT TILL by Ifa Bayeza. Named San Diego’s Outstanding Dramatic Production of 2017, the show also earned OUTSTANDING DIRECTION honors for ion Founder/Executive Artistic Director Claudio Raygoza and company member Yolanda Marie Franklin. The company of EMMETT TILL earned recognition as the year’s OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE and lead actor Cortez L. Johnson was named male ACTOR OF THE YEAR. Nominated for multiple awards, ion’s immersive production of CABARET also earned Cashae Monya an OUTSTANDING FEATURED PERFORMANCE award for her portrayal of Sally Bowles, and Scotty Atienza was bestowed the OUTSTANDING YOUNG ARTIST, SANDRA ELLIS TROY Scholarship for his turn as one of the two actors cast as the enigmatic Emcee. Also nominated for her OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION on CABARET was ion alum Morgan Carberry, while ion’s Claudio Raygoza was also given an OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL nod for his work on the Kander & Ebb classic in addition to being a nominee for his solo acting work in Eric Bogosian’s SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL.

In other exciting news, ion Actor Academy alum Jennifer Paredes was named female actor of the year for 2017 – she was nominated for OUTSTANDING LEAD PERFORMANCE for her work in ion’s 2016 production of LYDIA. To date, every year that the ACTOR OF THE YEAR award has been presented in San Diego since 2011, at least one of the actors honored (if not both) has been an ion company member, actor in an ion production that year or an alum of ion’s Actor Academy. Not a bad track record for one of San Diego’s smallest and newest companies!

Congrats again to the entire galaxy of artists who grace San Diego stages large and small all year every year and who help to make our local scene a jewel in the theatrical crown on a national level.


Want to get involved with artists who know how to work hard and have fun?

Click on the button below for details!

Updated on April 3, 2018:

The dust is settling a little. Finally.

So, we’re excited to bring you some important announcements and developments.


First: we’re spreading our wings once again and taking a bold, uncompromising leap in 2018! An in-depth analysis of our business model undertaken over the last two years brought us to the realization that producing at BLKBOX, our beautiful home in the heart of Hillcrest, was no longer financially viable. As all expenses continued to increase, our seating capacity could not. In attempting to experiment with keeping a home base open while trying to produce in other venues (as we did in 2016) proved far too unwieldy and exhausting. With great sadness, but keeping in stride with our efforts to always stay fiscally viable, we bid farewell to our home of eight years. As of today, we are officially out of BLKBOX but still have a home base in Hillcrest at our URBN CNTR 4THE ARTS! We’re thankful to the friends and board members and angels who came out to help with this HUGE endeavor. They say it takes a village… it took this village 3 months to get the job done, but we got it done!


Now that we’re back on stable ground, expect the unexpected as we look at ways to bring you theater that is personal and powerful. We are happy to report that we expect to do the following in the coming months:

·      Relaunching our highly successful ion Actor Academy! With each of our last sessions generating a waiting list of students, we’re bringing back this essential program along with the eagerly anticipated showcases of student work. Our production of KIN back in 2015 was a direct result of student work from this series of master classes.

·      Reviving our NAKED PLAYS series. No, it’s not clothing optional theater – instead, we invite you into a salon-style environment where some of the city’s best artists infuse new scripts with passion and power. We keep it simple in a living-room style environment – naked, so to speak – so you can focus on experiencing the reading of a play in the most relaxed and intimate way possible.

·      In-school programs! Yes, after years of trying to find time and resources to build our artists and audiences of tomorrow, we are currently negotiating with schools to bring socially-relevant theater into the classroom. At a time in our country when schools have become targets of violence, we hope to invite inspiration and comfort to our kids through the medium of theater and live performance.

·      New play festival. We’re in the early stages now, but we’re in the process of negotiating an exciting partnership that could evolve into an important cross-border new play festival in late 2018. Stay tuned!

·      Where else will we pop up in 2018? We'll be making an announcement soon about our upcoming season as things are brewing behind the scenes!


Like everything else, the only constant in theater is change. We’re looking at 2018 as a year of EVOLUTion… and with it, certain roles morphing and evolving. We’re happy to announce that Producing Artistic Director Glenn Paris has moved into a non-staff role as Chair of the ion theatre Board. Glenn will continue to infuse ion with his brand of insight and energy. Founder and Executive Artistic Director Claudio Raygoza, who led last year’s Season 12: REVOLUTion, continues in his role as leader of the company.

So, hold on to your hats, and as the dust settles and the air becomes clearer, we want you to be an important part of this year’s EVOLUTion!

Questions? Please contact us! Claudio can be reached at (619) 600-5020 ext. 4 or by clicking here.

Cheers, and we hope to see you soon! You can help us stay on our feet by making a donation today. Thank you!



just missed

“…takes audiences where local theaters fear to tread…”
   — san diego reader

“…an essential
cultural treasure…”

just missed

“…takes audiences where local theaters fear to tread…”
   — san diego reader

“…an essential
cultural treasure…”