#PIP2017: An Introduction, or “What is this PIP thing anyway?”

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“I received a comprehensive and enriching education in the inner workings of a regional theater, and could not have asked for a more inclusive, diverse, and passionate community of which to be a part.”  

~Camille Hayes, 2016-17 Artistic Fellow


Every summer, Cal Shakes welcomes a group of emerging artistic leaders, designers, teachers, and technicians who spend the summer working alongside theater professionals in the classrooms of our Summer Shakespeare Conservatory, in the rehearsal hall assisting the director or stage manager, alongside designers and craftspeople, or on the Bruns Main stage with the cast and crew.

All of this is possible through the Professional Immersion Program. PIP positions fall into one of two categories: internships and fellowships. What’s the difference between an internship and a fellowship, you ask?

  • Internships are discipline-specific and fit into either the season (April-August) or the off-season (August-April). This is great for students who want to get more experience in their discipline over the summer.
  • Fellowships are multidisciplinary and span both the off-season and the season, allowing fellows to deeply engage with the day to day work of a professional theater company. Fellowships are perfect for recent graduates who are looking for a bridge between their educational and professional theater career.


We’re now accepting applications for the next round of PIP! We are currently seeking people for the following positions:

  • Artistic Engagement fellow
  • Artistic Learning intern
  • Costume Design intern
  • Costume Shop intern
  • Stage Management intern

If you are an emerging theater professional interested in learning more about the Professional Immersion program, please visit the PIP website. Applications will be accepted online through March 13; our priority deadline is February 20. Questions can be emailed to PIP@calshakes.org.

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Old Plays, New Faces: Meet the Panelists!

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Desdemona Chiang is a stage director based in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. Co-founder of Azeotrope. Directing credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company, A Contemporary Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire Theatre Company, Impact Theatre, Playwrights Foundation, Golden Thread Productions, Washington Ensemble Theatre, among others. Intersection for the Arts Triangle Lab Artist-Investigator. Adjunct Faculty, Cornish College of the Arts. Awards/Affiliations: Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre, SDC Sir John Gielgud Directing Fellowship, Drama League Directing Fellowship, TCG Young Leader of Color, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and Directors Lab West. BA: UC Berkeley. MFA Directing: University of Washington. Upcoming projects: Smart People (Long Wharf Theatre), As You Like It (Cal Shakes)

Melissa Hillman is the artistic director of Impact Theatre in Berkeley, which specializes in new plays by emerging writers and reimagined classics. She holds a PhD in Dramatic Art from UC Berkeley and has taught there, at CSU East Bay, De Anza College, and Maybeck High School, as well as guest lecturing at both Georgetown and Stanford. She was the recipient of the 2015 SFBATCC Gene Price Award for her contribution to Bay Area Theatre. She has written for Huffington Post, Theatre Bay Area Magazine, Southern Theatre Magazine. Quartz, and many others, but most often writes for her own blog, Bitter Gertrude, found at bittergertrude.com.

Lisa Portes is a Cuban-American director, producer and educator who currently heads the MFA Directing Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University and serves as Artistic Director of Chicago Playworks for Young Audiences. She is a founding member of the Latina/o Theatre Commons and recently produced the nationally acclaimed LTC Carnaval of New Latina/o Plays in Chicago. Lisa has directed and developed work at numerous regional and Chicago theatres including Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, the Public Theatre, Sundance Theatre Lab, the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, McCarter Theatre and South Coast Repertory Theatre’s Hispanic Playwrights Project. Awards include the TCG SPARK Leadership Fellowship, TCG/NEA Career Development Grant for Directors, Drama League Directors’ Fellowship, Illinois Council of the Arts Award and a Fulbright Fellowship. She lives in Chicago with her husband, playwright, Carlos Murillo and their two children, Eva Rose and Carlos Alejandro.

The panel will be moderated by Cal Shakes Artistic Director Eric Ting. For more information about this Civic Dialogue, see our previous blog post, and to RSVP, click here.

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A Day in the Life

Stephanie Ann Foster, one of our premiere teaching artists, reflects on a day at camp. Stephanie Ann has been involved with Cal Shakes Artistic Learning since 2014, working in schools, leading professional development workshops for our teaching artists and classroom teachers, and as Oakland’s Conservatory Coordinator in 2015 and 2016. Photos below: 2016 Oakland Conservatory, by Stephanie Ann Foster.

“How do we do this?” “TOGETHER!”


Stephanie Ann Foster (and baby Quinn) with Oakland Conservatory kids, 2016.

The opening ritual of conservatory, our morning assembly, is audible all the way out to the street. We dance, we vote on creative ideas for costume days (Dr. Who, the students assure me, is quite the Shakespeare corollary). We redistribute dropped jackets and water bottles—the joyfully flung detritus of young actors who have put all their concentration into combat, improv, and the history class ghost stories that trickle out of Shakespeare’s plays when you poke at them with your (required) pencils.

We come here to try on new selves, and to recognize the pieces of ourselves in others. We come here to break apart texts, and maybe our whole selves while we’re at it.

Then we rebuild.



2017 Conservatories are on sale now. For more information and to register, click here. 

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