Timeline

1946-47
Bob Elross (Co-founder of Shelton Studios) performs with Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck in San Francisco and masters their first album in the Oakland Hills.

1948
Jean Shelton (Co-founder of Shelton Studios) moves to New York, begins studying with Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof, signs with legendary talent agent Eileen Ford.

1952
Ms. Shelton marries Broadway actor/director Wendell Phillips a Who’s Who in American Theater, a member of the Group Theatre, and teacher/member of the Actors Studio; a colleague of Stella Adler, Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, Clifford Odets, Orson Welles, and other contemporaries of the New York acting community.

1953-1954
Ms. Shelton studies with Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, while performing in New York.

1954
Mr. Elross, a member of the famed SF Actors Workshop, directs their seminal production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible to Mr. Miller’s delight.  Rooms with aspiring comic Woody Allen in North Beach district of SF.

1956
Ms. Shelton performs the World Premiere of Tennessee Williams play Hello from Bertha in New York for Tennessee Williams.

1956-1960
Mr. Elross returns to New York to act and direct in Theatre, Film, and Television including; The Fugitive Kind, Splendor in the Grass, The Hustler, and the television show Naked City and The Mortician. He begins directing/acting and teaching at the Actors Repertory Theatre.

1961
Mr. Elross and Ms. Shelton come to San Francisco and found the 14th Street Arts Center with beatnik priest/author Pierre Delattre. This establishes the Shelton Studios on the west coast. Students include; Richard Brautigan, Bill Graham, and Howard Hesseman. First public reading of Trout Fishing in America. First producing job given to Bill Graham.

1964
Traveling troupe is formed where they perform up and down the California central valley.

1970’s
Playhouse Theatre Company founded in Berkeley. Danny Glover attends classes and performs. A Project of The Crucible is taken to inmates at San Quentin. Alumni found the One Act Theatre Company in San Francisco. Francis Ford Coppla attends classes. Ms. Shelton attends the Academy Awards with the Mario Puzo family for the Godfather. Harold Clurman and Stella Adler come to teach. Faculty members include: Broadway Director Jack Garfien and Broadway Actor/Director Wendell Phillips. Wendell Phillips establishes the Stage Group Theatre in San Francisco. Jean’s daughter, actress Wendy Phillips marries actor Scott Paulin.

1980
Mr. Elross works with Sam Shepard at the Magic Theatre. Wendell Phillips’ Stage Group alumni Stanley Williams founds the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco.

1982                                                                                                                                                                          Chris Phillips moves the Jean Shelton Actors Lab  (Shelton Studios) to it’s current location at 533 Sutter St. establishing an independent theater community that has flourished for over 37 years.

1984
Alumni Lisa Fruchtman wins an Oscar for The Right Stuff. Mr. Elross performs in Rob Nilssons independent feature Signal 7 to wide critical acclaim.

1985
Alumni Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman win an Oscar for The Times of Harvey Milk. Stage Group alumni Linda Ayres-Frederick founds the Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco.

1989
Alumni and son of Wendell Phillips and Jean Shelton, Christian Phillips founds the Actors Theatre of San Francisco and produces, acts, and directs 125 plays in 25 years encouraging numerous acting talents including the exceptional Catherine Castellanos and building two theatres on the 2nd floor of 533 Sutter St.

1991
Alumni Jim Wilson wins the Best Picture Oscar for Dances with Wolves.

1993
Alumni and son of Bob Elross and Jean Shelton, Matt Shelton founds the Shelton Theater and builds two theatres on the lower level of 533 Sutter St.

1993-1995
Matt Shelton directs veteran Bay Area actors Luis Oropeza, Bill English, Paul Santiago, Catherine Castellanos, and Bruce Mackey  in Edmond by David Mamet and Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss

1998
Oleg Liptsin (Russian Avant-Garde Director/Actor) establishes artistic relationship with Matt Shelton and the Shelton Theater.

2000
Filmmaker Terry Zwigoff attends classes.

2004                                                                                                                                                                        Robert Elross, leading theatre director/actor/teacher and co-founder  of the Shelton Studios and numerous theatres including the SF Actors Workshop and Playhouse Co. passes on.  SF Gate Article

2005
Alumni Bill English and Susi Damilano found the Playhouse Theater Company in San Francisco.

2006
Filmmaker Lourdes Portillo attends classes.

2007
Jean Shelton returns to the stage after a 30 year absence in A Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote and receives critical praise from Horton Foote as he compares her performance to Broadway legend Laurette Taylor.

2009
Matt Shelton establishes film program at Pier 26. Produces several films with filmmakers Joe Graham, Ben Gilbert, and Kindrid Parker.

2012
Shelton Theater continues to produce theater with legendary set designer Steve Coleman.

2016
Extraordinary production of A Streetcar Named Desire opens to wide critical acclaim and is nominated for 5 TBA awards.

2017
Richard Ciccarone adapts Stephen Adly Guirgis play The Last Days of Judas Iscariot per Matt Shelton request and causes an uproar across the national theatre community.

2019
Will Marchetti directs Baby Doll by Tennessee Williams for the 25 year anniversary. Matt Shelton, Julie Dimas-Lockfeld, Joe Napoli, and Briana Walsh perform to critical praise.