California Shakespeare Theater

Rating: 4.96 stars   27 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

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.
2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 51-0169452
510-548-3422
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Community Reviews

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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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

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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

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

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

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