Breakthrough Workshop Theatre, founded in 2013, is a unique, education-focused, nonprofit theatre company that has produced 44 projects in the first six seasons, including Breakthrough Workshops (staged readings), musical concerts, development presentations and minimalist productions.  



Breakthrough Workshop Theatre was developed as a community not only for theatre artists looking to further develop their skills, but also for those who might not be able to participate in traditional productions due to a variety of reasons.  Throughout the first six seasons, BWT has provided 658 artistic opportunities for 173 Breakthrough Artists.  Our creative process is not time-intensive and instead, we ask each artist to identify a breakthrough they are aiming to achieve during their time at BWT.  Due to this unique structure, we have provided a comfortable environment for countless artists to experience theatre for the first time, while also cultivating an inspiring environment for more established artists whose aim is to create theatre within a collaborative and supportive environment.  Some artists have reconnected to a lost passion for the theatre through BWT; we've provided an introductory stepping stone to many artists who have recently moved to San Diego; and we have hosted visiting artists from various cities from around the country including Los Angeles, New York City and Las Vegas.  

Breakthrough Workshop Theatre is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.



BWT has received funding from San Diego LGBT Pride in five consecutive grant periods: 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.


BWT currently has sixteen Breakthrough Artists who have participated with us ten or more times, as well as fourteen Breakthrough Artists who have participated with us at least once each season since we began.

BWT participated in the first four San Diego International Fringe Festivals, with award-winning productions of Dear Harvey (2013, Patron's Choice Award) and The Things We Never Say (2015, Outstanding Original Score), as well as the World Premiere productions of Ira Bauer-Spector's Miss M Saves the Universe! (2014) and Terri Bratcher's You're In My Blind Spot! (2016). 

BWT has helped to develop three brand-new works in our "BWT in Development" series, including Patricia Loughrey and Thomas Hodges' Sonata 1962, which premiered at the 2018 New York Musical Festival; and BWT has presented readings of six classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning plays including Angels in America, August: Osage County, Proof and The Diary of Anne Frank.  


BWT has produced sixteen projects with an LGBTQ+ theme, including The Twilight of the Golds, Dog Sees God and our annual presentations of Dear Harvey; five projects with an all-female cast and creative team including Steel Magnolias, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, 45 Plays for 45 Presidents and Cyrano; and three projects that focus on the history and impact of the Holocaust including I Never Saw Another Butterfly and A Bright Room Called Day.


In 2015, BWT was featured twice as a "Surround Event" at the San Diego Repertory Theatre before Everybody's Talkin' and Violet; in 2016, BWT co-produced Songs for a New World with the nonprofit Sing Your Song; and in 2018, BWT traveled to Las Vegas to present a Special Event Breakthrough Workshop of The Auditioners, working with the Sun City Summerlin Men's Club.

BWT has performed many musical concerts at the award-winning venue Martinis Above Fourth in San Diego's Hillcrest and the BWT Original Cast Recording of Thomas Hodges' song cycle The Things We Never Say is currently available online.  


Founding Artistic Director


IRA BAUER-SPECTOR is a San Diego-based theatre artist who founded Breakthrough Workshop Theatre, an education-focused nonprofit organization, in 2013. There, he wrote/directed/starred as Miss M in the world premiere, semi-autobiographical play Miss M Saves the Universe! and directed/performed in Thomas Hodges’ award-winning song cycle, The Things We Never Say, both as part of the San Diego International Fringe Festival. Other personal BWT highlights include Angels in America, August: Osage County, The Bette Midler Project, The Club, The Diary of Anne Frank, Proof, The Twilight of the Golds, You're In My Blind Spot! and the annual presentation of Dear Harvey.  After completing 44 projects, the 7th Season of BWT will begin in January 2019.


Ira currently serves as Marketing Manager for the historic San Diego Civic Youth Ballet in Balboa Park and was the recipient of the 2017 Betty Peabody Emerging Young Leader of Balboa Park Award from Friends of Balboa Park.  He has also directed nine productions at San Diego Junior Theatre (also in Balboa Park) including The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (National Youth Arts Award - Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Production), James and the Giant Peach (NYA Award - Outstanding Production), Flight of the Lawnchair Man, HONK! and Zanna, Don't!  He has worked at various theatre companies throughout San Diego including The Old Globe, Diversionary Theatre, North Coast Repertory, American Rose Theatre and ACT – San Diego, and has performed as an actor extensively across the country, including as Zanna in the Chicago Premiere of Zanna, Don't! at Bailiwick Repertory Theatre and in the award-winning ensemble of Diversionary's Dear Harvey at the 2010 FringeNYC Festival.


BFA Musical Theatre, University of Colorado at Boulder

BFA Theatre Performance, University of Colorado at Boulder

MFA Musical Theatre (Directing Emphasis), San Diego State University

Board of Directors



Producing Director


© 2019 by Breakthrough Workshop Theatre.

BWT is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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