Since its launch in 2003, our New Works/New Communities program has brought disparate communities together to engage directly in the creation of new works of theater inspired by classic literature. In partnership with other arts and community-based organizations, NW/NC projects make concrete connections between the work of classical writers and marginalized communities who often do not see themselves reflected in those plays, or in theater itself. Over the past decade, the philosophy of New Works/New Communities has begun to infuse all of Cal Shakes’ programming, inspiring us toward creating inclusive and collaborative artistic processes that engage us with the full diversity of the Bay Area.
In 2010, seeded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we embarked upon a sustained partnership with San Francisco-based Intersection for the Arts and its resident theater company, Campo Santo. This partnership—christened the Triangle Lab—has now become the chief location for our experiments in making the theater process more open and inclusive. Our organizations share a common vision for the civic role of the arts, and a joint dedication to telling the stories of people and communities who are often left out. Together we are changing who participates in theater-making and how they participate; opening our rehearsal rooms, our classrooms, and our theaters to a broad range of community members.