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  

13 people found this review helpful

My son has had an excellent experience in the Cal Shakes summer conservatory as well as in Playshop. The Cal Shakes summer program is staffed by incredible teaching artists who also perform as part of the Cal Shakes theatre. The program is geared toward serious acting with the mindset that young children are capable of learning and understanding Shakespeare. Each program my son has been in has been rich with language, expert teaching and high expectations. As much as I might like to offer constructive suggestions, I have found the program to be quite exceptional. As a teacher educator, I can attest to the high level of teaching that goes on within the program and how well the students respond to being in such a well-managed environment.

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

My son has gained confidence, skills and friends and an abiding love for Shakespeare.

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

exceptional. Across the board, the teaching artists, student interns and administrators have been thoughtful, conscientious, kind and talented!

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

change the way many urban students perceive Shakespeare.

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  

10 people found this review helpful

My son has been taking acting classes with Cal Shakes for the past 4 years. He started in Elementary school and is now in the 7th grade. He has participated in various acting classes in the Bay area and the Cal Shakes Summer Conservatory is by far the most wonderful program he has every been part of. He has truly learned a about acting techniques, history, text and has been able to hon his skills, and every summer he gets to shine of the stage in a Shakespeare play - that is the biggest thrill! The folks at Cal Shakes are supportive and give every kid who participates the chance to dream big and then lets that dream unfold. They have built a very serious and rigorous acting program where kids really learn all aspects of acting and performance in a supportive environment, while having fun - I can't praise them enough. Every year we have to plan our summers around the conservatory program - it has become part of his life and has a whole community of friendships from through the conservatory who he sees year after year. And since our son has been working with Cal Shakes - we have gone to all the plays each season and have seen some of the best theater performances in the Bay Area. The best part is all young Cal Shakes conservatory actors get to see all the plays for free! This is an organization that needs to be noted for their community outreach, wildly successful youth programs and great theater in an idyllic setting!

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

many, many ways. Through acting programs with my son and as an audience member for their summer theater.

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

They are warm, gracious and engaged in their community and the youth and audience the service.

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

fantastic! I love then all!!

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

Create the most inspiring youth out reach and acting programs in Northern California and create a rich learning environment for their constituency.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

I spent this past summer working as an Artistic Learning intern with this company. It was by far the best work experience I have ever had. Their respect for young people and arts education is incredible. They offer amazing summer programs as well as residency programs in the classrooms of local schools. This organization helps learning of all ages and backgrounds. Cal Shakes shows how important arts education is daily. Every day I spent there I felt that I was changing lives. I was given an education on how to educate and that is something that is invaluable. I cannot thank Cal Shakes enough for teaching me what my purpose is and providing students with opportunities of a lifetime.

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

giving students confidence, goals and a sense of strength that is near impossible for most adolescents to find.

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

watching troubled students become active and engaged with texts that are hundreds of years old.

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

caring, intelligent, and leaders in their respective fields.

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

change every student's life for the better by providing them with world class arts education.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

My Daughter attended the 5 week conservatory over the summer. It was by far the best Summer activity she has ever done. She showed more enthusiasm and interest than I have ever seen her show for anything. This is a serious acting camp where students learn from and interact with professional thespians and other theater folks. We will most definitely do this again.

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

my daughters attitude and willingness to work hard at this art.

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

my daughter has improved in all aspects of doing homework and completing other work.

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

friendly professional people with a deep interest in passing on a passion for thier art.

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

do a lot more youth programs and reach many more children in this area.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

14 people found this review helpful

Our daughter attended CalShakes' 5 week conservatory this past summer and the 2 week conservatory the summer before. We have been attending special performances for students for years. CalShakes has wonderful outreach to the youth community and always has interactive presentations before plus Q&A with the cast after performances. Our daughter (& indeed hundreds of youth) has broadened her acting abilities & knowledge greatly through the in-depth programs provided by this organization.

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

the expansion of my daughter's acting ability.

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

helpful and very involved with the students they are teaching.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

Cal Shakes is home, for the actors, staff, patrons and especially for the children who attend Student Discovery Matinees and the summer theater programs like 2 week and 5 week Conservatory or 2 week camp. The teaching artists are phenomenal and really let the kids shine and find new talents they never knew they had. I was not only impressed, but astounded that I was learning things along with the kids. At 5 Week Conservatory, my 8 and 9 year old students put on an hour long "Romeo & Juliet" that would make adults jealous. Even more important than having gained new techniques and knowledge is that every child came out of their summer theater program more confident and excited (not just about Shakespeare, but about the arts in general). Student Discovery Matinees allow Bay Area youth to experience a show most of them wouldn't get to otherwise as well as ask the actors questions after the show. From a backstage perspective, the kids always had questions that were so thoughtful, they left even the experienced actors speechless. My only regret is that I didn't grow up in the Bay Area with Cal Shakes to show me just how important the arts are in ALL of our lives, no matter your age!

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

selfless, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and genuinely passionate about theater and spreading it to everyone regardless of age.

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  

16 people found this review helpful

CalShakes is a fantastic organization. My personal experience with CalShakes is as a 15-year season ticket holder and supporter. The staff approach both the shows and the student outreach with contagious enthusiasm and zeal for life and beauty and the arts.

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

reach every teacher and student in the greater Bay Area to help instill an understanding of and love for performing arts, which would also help children be better students as they learn critical thinking skills.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

Was this review helpful?