All The Bay’s a Stage With a Touring Tempest

October 22, 2015  |  Rebecca Novick

 We’re deep in rehearsal for The Tempest, Cal Shakes’ upcoming All The Bay’s a Stage touring production (which I’m directing). With eight actors and one musician, plus a vanload of props and costumes, this show will tour to seven different community sites before playing to the general public at the Oakland Museum of California from November 13th to the 22nd.

Ariel (Amy Lizardo) atop a ship’s mast in a rehearsal for The Tempest. Photo credit: Jamila Cobham.

 As we delve into the play and figure out how to make a storm from just a few instruments and props, and how to make magic with few tricks up our sleeves, we’re thinking hard about the audiences we’ll be playing for. We’re remembering the laughter and empathy we found as we performed for homeless clients of Berkeley Food and Housing Project last year and the deep knowledge of life’s challenges that gave SRO residents in San Francisco a window into the extremity of a Shakespeare play.

 BFHP residents witnessing last year’s tour of Twelfth Night. Photo credit: Callie Cullum.

 And we’re surer than ever that these words and these stories can be meaningful to any audience, and that we learn more about these plays every time we invite more people to be part of the audience.

Ferdinand (Rafael Jordan) and Miranda (Tristan Cunningham) embrace in a sneak peek of The Tempest on the Cal Shakes Theater Stage at the Life is Living Festival. Photo credit: Sonjhai Meggette/Esoteric Images.

 This year we are immensely grateful for the partnerships that will allow us to share The Tempest with a broader audience than we currently reach at the Bruns. We will be touring to Allen Temple Arms, a housing complex for low-income seniors in East Oakland; a hotel operated by DISH (Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing), which permanently houses formerly homeless San Franciscans with serious health problems; Civicorps, a West Oakland high-school diploma and job training program for 18-26 year olds; the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in downtown Oakland; incarcerated women at the Federal Correctional Institute in Dublin; the Hacienda assistant living facility for low-income seniors in Martinez; and to homeless clients of Berkeley Food and Housing Project.

 Tickets to the Oakland Museum of California performances will soon go on sale to the public—for now, we’re still seeking the donations that make this community work possible. To find out more about the project, please email rnovick (at)