California Shakespeare Theater

Rating: 4.96 stars   27 reviews

Issues:

Location: 701 Heinz Ave Berkeley CA 94710 USA

Mission: We strive for everyone, regardless of age, circumstance, or background, to discover and express the relevance of Shakespeare and the classics in their lives. **** We make boldly imagined and deeply entertaining interpretations of Shakespeare and the classics. **** We provide in-depth, far-reaching artistic learning programs for learners of all ages and circumstances. **** We bring disparate communities together around the creation of new American plays that reflect the cultural diversity of the Bay Area.
Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2008: 46,035 people attended our performances. Of these, 3,147 were students who attended our special Student Discovery Matinees. Of these, 1,206 were students from low-income communities.
Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California
Programs: Founded in 1973, California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes) is an award-winning, nationally recognized regional theater dedicated to the classics, with year-round artistic and educational programming. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone since 2000, Cal Shakes has earned a national reputation for creating immediate and revelatory responses to Shakespeare and the classics. Through our various programs, we expand access to the arts, and build diverse community ownership of our cultural vitality by fostering participatory approaches to the artistic process and arts education. * Our performance venue is situated in the stunning natural environment of protected open space in the hills between Berkeley and Orinda, CA. We produce four plays annually from June through late October. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, we engage the most daring and unconventional artists from around the country to investigate and reveal great works of literature with an innovation and immediacy borne of theatrical innovation, intellectual rigor, and emotional honesty. * Cal Shakes' Artistic Learning (AL) program was formally established in 2001 to make our educational efforts accessible to students from ethnically, economically, and geographically diverse communities in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. AL builds upon our 25 years of in-school and community-based theater training and educational activities, with a vision to create a culture of life-long learners, nourishing the imaginations of young people in preparation for the work of life. In 2007, we served over 5,400 young people from ethnically and economically diverse Bay Area communities, providing a continuum of learning opportunities in local schools, at our amphitheater, and through summer theater training camps. Our school residencies served 1,394 East Bay students. Our Student Discovery matinee program served 3,675 elementary, middle, and high school students from both urban and suburban/rural counties. More than 42% were underserved students from school in low-income communities. Our two- and five-week summer camps grew by 29%, augmented in part by the expansion of our two-week camp program into a new site in Oakland. * Launched in 2003, our New Works/New Communities program brings disparate community members together to participate as co-creators with our artists and theater partners in the development of new works of theater inspired by classic literature. In partnership with other arts and community-based organizations, we aim to make concrete connections between the work of classical writers and marginalized communities that for many reasons do not see themselves reflected in those plays. Through these collaborations, we aim to create sustainable relationships with diverse communities, contributing to a more vibrant, inclusive cultural ecosystem. Our first project, HAMLET: BLOOD IN THE BRAIN, by Naomi Iizuka, was a new play inspired by Shakespeare's masterpiece that relocates Elsinore to the drug-ravaged world of East and West Oakland in the late 1980s. Along with project partner Intersection for the Arts + Campo Santo, we engaged multiple generations of Oakland residents in a participatory, grassroots process of new play development over three years. In our second New Works project, KING OF SHADOWS, playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa re-imagined Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", exploring themes of transformation from the perspective of marginalized and homeless gay youth and engaging transient, outcast young people in the playwrighting process. Our current project, an adaptation of John Steinbeck's collection of Depression-era short stories THE PASTURES OF HEAVEN, partners San Francisco-based playwright Octavio Solis and the Word for Word Performing Arts Company with community organizations in and around Salinas, California.
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EIN 51-0169452
510-548-3422
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

Our daughter has attended Cal Shakes youth theater programs for 3 years running now. When we originally enrolled her it was mostly to help her deal with some performance anxiety issues and to give her a creative outlet for her big (and sometimes overwhelming) imagination and emotions. We got what we were looking for, that's for sure. She has received support for those issues, for sure. The teachers have been amazingly supportive of her, even through some of her more challenging moments. And she loves the programs so much -- she looks forward to summer conservatory all year long. What amazes me most, about what these programs have accomplished, is how they have really fostered her love of Shakespeare. At age 10, she knows the plots of more plays than I did as an English major at age 21! She asks questions like "who do you think is the most evil - Regan or Goneril?" or "Who would you rather be friends with - Horatio or Hamlet?" Did I mention she's 10? The key is that the programs never patronize or insult the kids' intelligence - but they do deliver the goods in a way that opens kids' eyes and gets them seeing the connections between Shakespeare's characters and their own lives. Talk about magic...that's the kind of magic that can change lives.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing my daughter grow as a person and a lover of Shakespeare and theater.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the great performances I've seen from both youth and professional actors.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, engaged, thoughtful, talented.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

foster a love of language Shakespeare and build the confidence of all the youth in the Bay Area.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

14 people found this review helpful

I attended camp here as a teenager and can attest to it being an inspiring experience! So grateful they continue to expose kids to Shakespeare, theater, reading and performance.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

changing teenager's and kids perceptions of Shakespeare as something relevant to their lives

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give them more money to expand programs.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how exciting it is and how the experience resonates years later

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

intelligent, thoughtful, engaged, and passionate about helping young people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world!

Ways to make it better...

can't think of anything!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of funding. Tough times out there for arts organizations.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

Cal Shakes helped my daughter dive into reading because she fell in love with Shakespeare. She has gained self-confidence and she loves all aspects of theater. Cal Shakes supports her where she is and helps her grow as a person and an actor.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

inspiring, kind and knowlegable!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change 10 million lives for the better!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

I went to the 2 week conservatory and had oodles of fun! I really learned a lot about the time period and I loved performing "As You Like It". It was amazing learning stage combat and how to become the character.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

performing the play

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

Cal Shakes summer programs for kids are terrific! My 14 year old daughter did both the 2 week camp and the 2 week conservatory this summer and loved it. She wants to do the same thing next summer. She learned a lot, had fun, made friends, gained confidence in her skills and got a good introduction to acting. The kids did an amazing amount of work, managing to perform a whole play in 2 weeks. She really gained an appreciation for Shakespeare and wants to go see the Cal Shakes performances now. The summer program fees are reasonable, and the staff are terrific. I highly recommend it.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing how much my daughter gained from the experience.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

Cal Shakes is THE best summer camp around. My 10-year-old daughter has attended the 2-week and 5-week conservatories for the past two summers. Before that, she had no interest in Shakespeare, but did enjoy performing. I was looking for a camp that would give her a safe environment to become more comfortable and proficient as an actor. Cal Shakes provided that and so much more. Of all the fabulous musical theater camps, tech camps, arts and crafts camps, science camps she has attended, she will tell you Cal Shakes is her favorite. The Teaching and Adminstrative Team truly have a gift for teaching kids not just the skills of acting, but the comraderie, teamwork, and importance of conquering your fears and supporting others as they conquer theirs. I continue to be amazed at how well everyone gets along in a camp the spans from 8 to 18-year-olds. To see the professional productions that are put together in such short periods of time are truly awe inspiring. The kids are challenged and they rise to the occasion. I highly recommend the 5-week conservatory. The experience is so rewarding, you'll want more than 2 weeks! And I encourage everyone to donate to Cal Shakes, because I've seen first hand what a difference they make in people's lives with their scholarships.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

summer camp. The lessons the kids are learning go so far beyond learning Shakespeare. And they've helped interpret these classic works for modern youth.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Watching such a diverse group of kids and mentors come together so quickly to launch a professional quality production.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Professional, knowledgeable, and truly caring to the campers.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Have a performance group in every elementary school in the area and really change our school aged children in remarkable, positive ways.

Ways to make it better...

They had more funding to lower their rates so even more kids could attend camp.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Like all non-profits, it is in need of more funding.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

The Cal Shakes summer theater camps have been within a doubt the best summer camps my children have ever attended. The staff are professional, energetic, knowledgeable and engaging. They bring the joy of theater to life

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

of the highest caliber.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

When I first mentioned this camp to my nine-year-old daughter, she wasn't at all interested. She eventually changed her mind when she heard her best friend would be enrolling. She had previously participated in some after school musical theater performances and was lukewarm about those. Since she's a very shy kid, I was hoping the camp might give her some positive experiences with performing. I couldn't have been more pleased. Most surprising was that her favorite camp class was combat! It was completely out of character for her and such a fun surprise for me. It was like the camp opened up an alternative universe for her -- one that really brought her to life. She wanted to learn more about Shakespeare and his plays during and after the camp. In fact, our family just went to see Cal shakes perform Midsummer Night's Dream. She had already read a synopsis and a lot of the actual play and was explaining it to me! Needless to say, this camp is on the top of her list for next summer.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing my daughter's enjoyment of camp.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Watching my daughter blossom.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Enthusiastic, bright and kind.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand camp programs to include more children.

Ways to make it better...

The location where the camp was held wasn't shared by so many other groups.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

California Shakespeare Theater Summer Camp completely "turned my teenage daughter on" to Shakespeare! She loved the acting workshops, the teachers, and made many good friends among her fellow campers. Now she insists on attending the California Shakespeare Theater with us. We couldn't ask for more!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The acting teachers were dedicated, professional, enthusiastic and completely energized and motivated their students.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

From my experience, California Shakespeare Theater has not only found the most talented people to teach and support the kids, but also attracts only the best type of people. This summer it was rare to meet someone that I didn't love. Cal Shakes is like that best friends family that you meet and instantly want to become a part of. It really is a family, a big, welcoming, talented family that cares about it's artistic community. The quality of the shows is only the best, and the people are experiences are unforgettable.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

who I am. It's made me more aware of what I need to become in this world.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the compassion of the staff and campers.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

incredible people, who were always more than willing to help.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

rule the world.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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