$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.