By Jamie Buschbaum, Volunteer Program Coordinator
Volunteering at Cal Shakes came in many different forms this year. The one most visible up at the Bruns Amphitheater was, of course, ushering. Our ushers come from all over the Bay Area to hand out programs, help patrons to their seats, sell raffle tickets, and—bonus!—see our plays. In 2011 we had ushers from Berkeley, Orinda, Folsom, Campbell, Washington state, and even from as far away as Nepal. Many of our ushers are mother-daughter teams, representing the National Charity League. Together, our extended family of ushering volunteers helped out with nearly 4,000 hours of service during 100 performances, including the ever-important Student Discovery Matinees.
Some of the young people running around up in our Orinda hills home are also volunteers—they’re our interns. This summer, 30 people participated in our Professional Immersion Program, shortened around the office to PIP. The PIPs arrived, for the most part, in May, and helped out for a big chunk of our season, learning the ropes in our education, marketing, production, artistic, and development departments. You can read up more on the PIP program in these blog entries by the interns themselves. The summer PIPs worked 1,700 shifts, totaling more than 10,000 hours of work!
We have PIPs outside of the theatrical season, too, helping us prepare and put on our annual black-tie fundraiser in March; making the casting process go smoothly (it’s happening right now!); keeping the momentum going on the Triangle Lab, our New Works/New Communities partnership with Intersection for the Arts; assisting in our marketing and development efforts; and more. That adds up to another 500 hours that we couldn’t do without.
We’re so fortunate to have this help in making our different programs happen. More than 600 people so far this year have provided us, the theater-going community and the schoolchildren of the greater Bay Area with an irreplaceable gift—their precious time and energy. We thank you! And if you’re interested in helping us out in the future, please drop me a line to let me know. or visit our Shiftboard page and see what opportunities are available at your convenience (you’ll have to complete a brief registration process first).