October 26th, 2010 — 2:41pm
Congratulations to Meredith Watts, who won the Grand Prize in our 2010 Costa Rican Holiday Raffle: A seven-night stay at Casa Alegria in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, adjacent to one of the country’s most prized national parks. First Prize, four subscriptions to our 2011 season, went to Diana Whitehead; Second Prize, a year’s supply of Peet’s coffee and tea, went to Camille Allen.
This year’s raffle raised $21,720 to support our work onstage, in schools, and in communities. The top raffle sellers of 2010 were volunteers Abi Horstman and Eileen O’Neill, who each received a $20 Peet’s card for selling $2,330 worth of tickets; and June Hunt and Cal Zamansky, who won gift boxes from ScanCafe for having the highest single night of sales with $820.
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October 26th, 2010 — 1:51pm
You may have read her name before, in a past newsletter or on our blog. You may have seen her picture on Cal Shakes conservatory brochures, postcards, or posters. If you’ve been to our theater, you’ve most likely been greeted by her mother, longtime House Manager Claire Stoermer. And if you were at the Bruns on the opening day of the 2010 season, you may have seen 14-year-old Zendaya Coleman helping to sweep the new plaza!
Now the rest of the world is about to be introduced to this talented former Cal Shakes conservatory student. On Sunday, November 7, she made her television debut in Shake It Up!, the Disney Channel’s latest foray into the buddy-comedy genre. Shake it Up!—created by Chris Thompson of Laverne & Shirley and Bosom Buddies fame—stars Zendaya and Bella Thorne (Big Love, My Own Worst Enemy, Dirty Sexy Money) as two best friends who become background dancers on a Chicago TV show.
Congratulations to Zendaya and her parents; we’re incredibly proud to have them in our Cal Shakes family.
The Disney Channel’s Shake It Up! website.
An interview with Zendaya in Diablo magazine.
Zendaya gives a shout-out to Cal Shakes in Variety.
Pictured: Zendaya Coleman; photo courtesy of JE Talent.
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October 26th, 2010 — 1:06pm
In keeping with fall tradition, our final show of the 2010 season, Much Ado About Nothing, had five very special a.m. performances: our Student Discovery matinees. This year more than 2,500 students, teachers, and chaperones from 44 Bay Area schools got to see Jonathan Moscone’s joyful production. Thanks to funding from the NEA’s Shakespeare for a New Generation, more than 50% of these student tickets were underwritten, and many of the students attending had never seen a Shakespeare play or any live theater at all. Here at Cal Shakes, we know that participation in art is not a luxury, but rather a necessity to becoming a thoughtful, tolerant, and joyfully well-rounded human being; enthusiastic reactions to this year’s Student Matinee series proved it to us yet again.
In his spirited pre-show welcome and synopsis, Associate Artist Clive Worsley asked the students: “Do you ever see two people who don’t really like each other, are always picking on each other, can’t stand to see one another … but are always hanging out together?” A rumble of agreement welled up from the young crowds, and we knew they were hooked into the romance about to unfold.
Student reactions are sometimes louder and often broader than the evening audiences. They delighted in Dogberry calling himself “an ass”, laughed loudly as water was poured over Beatrice’s eavesdropping head, and let out big sighs of happiness during the final marriage scene. After each performance is a 15- minute Q&A, with many of the actors returning to the stage to engage in a direct dialogue with students. “Do you really kiss and do you like it?” was a commonly posed question. The actors always replied thoughtfully, explaining that performing with someone—whether in an embrace or a fight—takes a great deal of trust and respect. “What happens when you forget a line?” one student inquired. “Well,” Danny Scheie quickly retorted, “you do Fakespeare!” When a young girl asked where the actors were from, Catherine Castellanos stood up and proudly stated “Stockton!,” eliciting huge applause, as, on that particular day, more than 250 kids had come from Stockton Unified Early College Academy.
“I thought it was going to be boring,” summarized one student, “but it was really fun.”
Teachers were pleased with the event as well. “Once again,” wrote Barbara Cohen of St. Anthony’s School in Oakland, ”thanks for making this possible for children who are now so proud that they’ve seen a ‘real’ play and that, even though their English isn’t perfect yet, they understood what the author was saying.”
Pictured: Beatrice (Domenique Lozano) hides out among a Much Ado Student Matinee audience; photo by Jay Yamada.
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October 22nd, 2010 — 4:58pm
$300K gift to launch partnership between Cal Shakes and
San Francisco-based Intersection for the Arts + Campo Santo
California Shakespeare Theater today announced it has received its first-ever three-year, $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant was awarded to support the creation of a sustained partnership with San Francisco-based Intersection for the Arts and its resident theater company, Campo Santo for the creation of new works of theater in collaboration with diverse communities. This partnership, born of both companies’ desire to further develop their common vision for the creation of new theatrical works, aims to build on the shared goals of fostering community through theater and a desire to increase each organization’s impact in disparate communities.
Deborah Cullinan, Executive Director of Intersection for the Arts, says “Intersection for the Arts is thrilled with the opportunity afforded by the Mellon Foundation to forge a bold programmatic partnership with Cal Shakes that will explore new ways of genuinely engaging new people in the work that we do. This leadership support clearly recognizes the unique ability that theater has to cultivate community and have positive impact in our neighborhoods.”
“This is a significant moment in the story of our Theater,” said Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. “Even before we began our first collaboration with Intersection and Campo Santo on Naomi Iizuka’s Hamlet: Blood in the Brain, the inaugural project of our New Works/New Communities program, I have always held a deep admiration for the work Deborah, Sean, and the entire staff at Intersection does to make theater that comes from, and matters to, diverse communities. This partnership is going to change our organizations and make us both stronger, smarter and expansive in our vision to fulfill the role of theater in our society today.”
“It is an honor and an inspiration to be a part of a project like this,” says Campo Santo co-founder Sean San José. “The encouragement from the Mellon Foundation supports the belief that by directly connecting and communicating with the real world in which our theaters exist, we can create stories informed by real people and buoyed by real relationships. The community building then becomes the priority that theater-making supports.”
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, long a leading advocate of the performing arts in the United States, recently undertook a four-year inquiry into new play development and production in the US, an overview of which is available online here. As a result of this investigation, the Foundation’s priorities and goals have shifted; the Foundation now seeks to fund leading theaters of all sizes that contribute to the advancement or preservation of theater as an art form and which are characterized by distinctive and ambitious artistic programming, a commitment to artists, intellectual relevance, and the capacity to engage audiences. Its goals are to help artistic leaders who are “swimming upstream” to continue to take artistic risks; to support processes that will improve the quality of work being produced; and to support collaborations between organizations that develop, premiere, and mount second and third productions of a work. It also endeavors to support long-term commitments to artists by institutions. In addition to support for theaters, the program provides direct support to a handful of leading playwriting centers that are critical to the development of artists and new work.
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