Artists’ Mini-Retreat & Salon

Are you an artist who could use some time set aside for your own artistic practice? Would you value the opportunity to build a community of creative folk around cocktails and conversation?

Then mark your calendar, call in sick to work, and dedicate a day to your artistic practice or project at our Artists’ Mini-Retreat and Salon. After an afternoon of independent creative time, we’ll gather together for an informal sharing session and discussion.

Past participants have: cross-stitched, collaged, edited novels, translated plays, read tarot, sketched, danced, practiced falling down stairs in slow motion… anything goes!

Leigh Rondon-Davis at the teacher’s desk in the Port Costa School


Writers – Actors – Dancers – Illustrators – Musicians – You & Others you Invite


You’re invited to spend a creative day at the Port Costa Schoolhouse — away from distractions like your phone, the internet, that pesky day-job, pets, family, laundry, etc. You can write, draw, paint, sing, move, dance, noodle… whatever. Come and go as you please throughout the day. We’ll have snacks and a ‘chatting room’ available; you can also hike or bike the lovely hills along the Carquinez Strait.

In the late afternoon, we’ll gather to share works-in-progress, challenges, delights, and questions. Then we’ll move down the street to the Bull Valley Roadhouse for their Wednesday night pop-up cocktail lounge, the Dram Shop, where we’ll continue our discussion over drinks and/or dinner (please bring extra dollars for the Dram Shop).

Port Costa is closer than you think — about a 40-minute drive from the Bay Bridge with average traffic — but far, far away from all the things you’re “supposed” to be doing.

All art forms are welcome. In order to create an environment with minimal distraction throughout, this retreat is best suited to art practices that don’t need a lot of set-up or make a lot of noise… but get creative! You could practice your monologue, scene, or acoustic instrument outdoors; bring headphones for your amp or electric piano; or take some extra time to set up a mini painting studio.



Port Costa School House, 1 Plaza Del Hambre, Port Costa, CA
(at the intersection of Reservoir Street & Canyon Lake Drive)
Interested in carpooling? Drop a line to and we’ll hook you up.


Dates will be sent via email or Facebook invitation. For your invite, please email or contact us on Facebook. Here’s what to expect on the day:

11:30am – 12noon: Arrival @ School House
We’ll set up kitchen area for snacking & chatting
Find your favorite spot to work
12noon – 4pm: Self-Directed Work / Studio Time
This is your time to be creative! You do you; use the time as you see fit to direct your own artistic endeavors; come and go as you need.
4pm (ish): Gathering & Sharing Session
Those who wish can share some of what they’ve been working on, challenges they’re facing, or pose questions to the group; we’ll also have some provocations / open-ended questions to spur discussion.
5:30pm (approximately): Salon @ Dram Shop at the Bull Valley Roadhouse
We’ll move to the Bull Valley Roadhouse in downtown Port Costa to continue the conversation over cocktails! (the Dram Shop goes ’til 9pm, but you can leave any time)

Please note that it is OK to come and go throughout the day, or to join partway through. If you are arriving after noon, be sure to RSVP in advance so that we can let you know how to find us.


Space – Time – Solitude – Community – Conversation – Cocktails

how much

$15 Suggested Donation to defray the cost of snacks, and to support Idiot String and the Port Costa Conservation Society; no one turned away for lack of funds.

about the space

Port Costa’s historic 1911 Schoolhouse is lovingly preserved and maintained by the Port Costa Conservation Society as a community space. The building has plenty of interesting nooks, passageways and rooms where you can set up yourself and your project. The main rooms are:

  • Two “studio” spaces with wood floors (one with a mirror; the other quite large)
  • Vintage classroom with many old-school school desks
  • Small library with a big table in it
  • Carpeted room (good for yoga or stretching)
  • Kitchen with fridge
  • Meeting room (carpeted) with tables


  • Snacks, Coffee, Tea, and LaCroix
  • WiFi (please note that cell service is unreliable in the school building, however)
  • Folding chairs and tables
  • Some blankets for coziness
  • A spontaneous artistic community
  • Great conversation
  • Space to create


  • A bag lunch (there’s a fridge, but no nearby cafes)
  • Your art supplies, and anything you might need to prevent your making a mess with said supplies (drop cloths, etc)
  • LAYERS! It’s a drafty building.
  • Other stuff for your comfort: such as yoga mat, pillow, earplugs, etc.
  • Cash or credit cards for cocktails and/or food at the Dram Shop


For details, more information, or to RSVP, please email or contact Artistic Director Rebecca Longworth.

Workshop: Site-Specific Creation Lab – Postponed!

This workshop has been postponed due to wildfires and bad air quality on October 27. Stay safe! We’ll reschedule this workshop for early 2020.

Come play with us — outside the box!

Peter Brook famously conceived of the theater as an “empty space,” but in site-specific performance, the space is anything but empty. In this workshop, we’ll explore the rewards and peculiarities of creating performances for non-traditional spaces, both public and private, indoors and out. We’ll offer prompts, provocations and structures for creating new work, and you’ll move, write, reflect, question, and share. Together we’ll build strategies for integrating the rich layers of a space to inform, inspire, and infuse our work.

This all-levels workshop is for performers, dancers, writers, and theater-makers aged 15+ with an interest in creatively exploring the world around us. Whether you’re a veteran of site-specific work or have never heard of such a thing, our explorations will challenge you to try something new.


What: Site-Specific Creation Lab
When: Saturday or Sunday TBD 2020, 12pm – 3pm
Where: Port Costa, California


More details:

Cost is $40, which pays the workshop leader and supports both Idiot String and the Port Costa Conservation Society. Residents of Port Costa, Crockett, or Tormey pay just $10 thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Crockett Community Foundation.
PAYMENT & CANCELLATION POLICY: Payment is due 7 calendar days before your workshop. You may sign up within the 7-day window, as long as you make payment when you register. You may cancel your registration up to 48 hours before the workshop for a full refund; cancellations made within 48 hours cannot be refunded.

This workshop is part of Idiot String’s residency in Port Costa sponsored by the Port Costa Conservation Society.

After the workshop, explore the wonderful and tiny town of Port Costa, where you can hike the hills, relax with a book, or discover whimsical artwork and fabulous antiques — making the whole day an invigorating experience.

We are excited to play with you!

  • Water bottle
  • Notebook or journal and pen(cil)
  • Snacks if you need them
  • Closed-toe shoes and clothes you can move in
  • Rain or sun protection (hat, sunscreen, etc) and anything else you’ll need to be comfortable outdoors — we won’t stay outside if rain is heavy, but may be outdoors in a light drizzle.

Rebecca Longworth (workshop leader) is co-founder and artistic director of Idiot String. As a theatre-maker, Rebecca is dedicated to creating original ensemble performances and rich audience experiences. She co-creates and directs each of the Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players’s productions, and devises original performance with the Hatch Collective. Other directing credits include New Conservatory Theatre Center, Ragged Wing Ensemble, SF Theatre Pub, Boxcar Theatre, Theatre Q, Dragon Productions, El Gato Family Theatre and Jump! Theatre, where she served as artistic director for four years. Rebecca has performed with Ragged Wing Ensemble, We Players, and FoolsFURY, and has also designed motion graphics and projections for Jump! Theatre, Crowded Fire, Custom Made Theatre, and Shotgun Players. Rebecca teaches acting and theater-making to students of all ages throughout the Bay Area, including workshops and residencies with Berkeley Rep, TheatreWorks, and San Francisco Opera Guild. She holds an MA in Text & Performance Studies from King’s College/R.A.D.A. and is a member of the 2009 Lincoln Center Directors Lab.