California Shakespeare Theater is essential to the vitality of Bay Area’s diverse communities.
With Shakespeare’s depth of humanity as our touchstone, we build character and community through authentic, inclusive, and joyful theater experiences.
1. Joy. Everything we do should possess or create a palpable feeling of joy.
2. Authenticity. If it isn’t real, it won’t connect.
3. Diversity and Inclusion. We are better artistically and financially when everyone participates in our theatrical community.
4. Experimentation. We remain relevant by seeking out new ideas and methodologies to fulfill our mission.
5. Learning. We are more effective when we take time to assess, reflect, and share our experiences.
6. Environmental Responsibility. We strive to create, not to deplete or destroy.
7. Financial health. Without it, nothing we do would be possible.
Founded in 1974, Cal Shakes is an award-winning, nationally recognized regional theater now under the leadership of Managing Director Susie Falk and Artistic Director Eric Ting. Through seasonal productions at our outdoor amphitheater, and in year-round school and community-based programs, Cal Shakes expands access to the arts and builds diverse ownership of our region's cultural vitality by fostering participatory approaches to the artistic process and arts education.
Over the last decade, our Main Stage productions—both new works and responses to Shakespeare and the classics—have earned a national reputation for their exhilarating artistry and boldness of imagination. We engage artists of the highest caliber from around the country to make the past present, reimagining the classics with a thrilling potency that provides a diversity of perspectives and aesthetics to an audience of more than 45,000 people annually.
In 2003, we launched New Works/New Communities, an initiative to bring diverse communities together around the creation of new works of theater inspired by the classics. In 2010, New Works/New Communities received a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the creation of a sustained partnership with Intersection/Campo Santo. This partnership became known as the Triangle Lab. The Lab is about making theater together, expanding the definitions of who participates in theater making and how they participate.
Established in 2001, our Artistic Learning program is our primary vehicle for increasing access to arts education through in-depth opportunities that engage a broad cross-section of nearly 5,000 Bay Area youth annually. Through in-school residencies, Student Discovery Matinees, Summer Shakespeare Conservatories, and other endeavors, our program builds students' artistic, literacy, and social skills while cultivating their creative minds and voices.
Just as our Main Stage sits on priceless parkland, environmental stewardship is in Cal Shakes’ nature. We are committed to responsible scenic design and building practices that reuse and recycle materials; and our 2010 renovation created native plant habitats, bioswales, and other sustainable features. Click here for more information on our home.