Auctioneering: More than Just a Breathless, Speedy-speaking Production

Quiroga in auctioneering action.

Marketing Intern Katie McGee gets to know our One Great Party auctioneer extraordinaire.

“I’d be lying if I said I really don’t enjoy being an auctioneer. I really do enjoy getting a crowd whipped up into a frenzy to support a place like Cal Shakes or whatever charity I work with. I love being an auctioneer that helps make good things happen in the world.” —Greg Quiroga, auctioneer for Cal Shakes’ gala.

Auctioneering is more than just a breathless, speedy-speaking production.  The role of an auctioneer, especially one in fundraising, is much like the role of an actor.  Each performance has strategy, a clear message, and is meant to evoke audience emotion.  Greg Quiroga has been in the business for a solid decade.  It is clear that he excels at his profession, because he takes a sincere interest in each client’s story and purpose.  Quiroga spends hours getting to know his clients and planning and strategizing his performance.

Quiroga is constantly working on perfecting his stage presence and performance technique.  For instance, he took improv classes for years to strengthen and fine-tune his ability to “keep everything positive react and live in the moment.”  His hard work and dedication has paid off immensely.

Quiroga is currently working for Reynolds & Buckley and works on average 50 or more fundraising events each year.  Over the years he has auctioned a wide array of items, ranging from extravagant world touring cruises to a day in the recording studio with Will.i.am.  Once he even sold cuts in an event’s food line for $2,500 a pop.

Quiroga looks forward to Cal Shakes’ gala for many reasons. “Cal Shakes’ event bridges all of the gaps between visceral, social, and emotional experiences… it always manages to be one of the most visually demanding events you can see. I mean, it’s just beautiful. It’s a good crowd of supporters. The event is always very on-message and extremely emotionally rewarding.”  Quiroga has been working Cal Shakes’ gala’s live auction for the last five years and he is always awed with how the “crowd consistently comes together to support Cal Shakes’ education outreach programs.” Thanks to the efforts of Quiroga, the Cal Shakes staff and ever-supportive patrons of Cal Shakes continue to be pivotal players in the effort to bring the arts to the stage, to classrooms, and to communities.

The 2012 gala is just about sold out, but the auction catalog will be online shortly. Click calshakes.org/gala for updates.

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Coming Soon: Your Participation.

Beginning two weeks from today, the Cal Shakes New Works/New Communities program will be asking for your help in our development of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven.

This play—which we’ve been developing in collaboration with award-winning playwright Octavio Solis and San Francisco’s renowned Word for Word Performing Arts Company over the past two years as part of our Steinbeck Project—is now slotted to have its debut on the Cal Shakes Main Stage, kicking off our 2010 season.

But the script is not quite finished yet, and we have one more development workshop coming up in November. To further inform the development process, we’ll be posting a series of three prompts on this blog, one every Monday starting October 19. The prompts will be crafted by playwright Solis, Pastures director (and Cal Shakes Artistic Director) Jonathan Moscone, Cal Shakes Director of Artistic Learning Trish Tillman, and Word for Word Co-Artistic Director JoAnne Winter. With each prompt, we’ll be asking for your input, via prose, poetry, video, audio, and whatever else you’d like to leave in the “comments” section.

Curious? Check back in with us next Monday for a sneak preview of themes and topics. We can’t wait to see what you’ll bring to The Pastures of Heaven.

Pictured above: A rock formation in the Corral de Tierra area of Salinas; photo by Derek Smith.

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