As most of you know so well, many of our performances take place—not in the relative anonymity of a dark theater—but under the sun. It’s a thing we’ve come to love (and miss dearly): actors and audience alike, in full view of one another, relinquishing the control we normally associate with the theater and instead navigating the complexity of each other’s very real presence across the arc of a performance, cohabiting the shared light of our space.
Over the past ten months—in the absence of that shared space— we’ve done a lot of reflection about how to respond to the pandemic and movement for racial equity with compassion and humility. We have thought long and hard about how Cal Shakes might return in meaningful service of a more resilient community. How might we seek to share resources rather than amass them, to cultivate relationships rather than transact them?
With these questions in mind, we’ve chosen to share our beloved Bruns Amphitheater for our 2021 Season of Shared Light. Safety permitting, we will produce one play—The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare—and will share the space throughout the summer with an array of local arts organizations and community groups like Destiny Arts, Bandaloop, West Edge Opera, and others to be announced soon! We will continue to offer online and in-person programming including Shakespeare In-Depth with Philippa Kelly, our Direct Address series, and other performance and educational opportunities.
Of course, we will continue to monitor the mandates around re-opening to ensure we do so responsibly and thoughtfully when it is allowed. We’ll announce specific dates and ticket information once we have clarity around social distancing guidelines, capacity limitations, and safety protocols for artists and audiences alike. Your wellbeing and that of our artists, staff, and community is our utmost priority.
We look forward to sharing more details over the coming weeks and months. For now, we hope you’ll join us in our optimism for a season that celebrates the resiliency of our community and is unlike anything we’ve done before!
Stay well and see you at the Bruns,
Frequently Asked Questions
We will continue to update this page in the coming weeks and months as we continue to navigate the ever-shifting, ever-changing world in which we live these days!
Artistic Director Eric Ting says it best: "At Cal Shakes, many of our performances take place—not in the relative anonymity of a dark theater—but under the sun. It’s a thing I’ve come to love (and miss dearly): actors and audience alike, in full view of one another, relinquishing the control we normally associate with the theater and instead navigating the complexity of each other's very real presence across the arc of a performance, cohabiting the shared light of our space.”
We know that outdoor space will continue to be a premium this year, so sharing our grounds with other organizations feels like exactly the thing we can and should be doing this summer.
We also know we need to continue to be flexible and monitor the mandates around reopening to ensure the safety of our artists, staff, and community. Instead of trying to squeeze four shows into a potentially shortened season, it felt right to share the space and safety open the Bruns to a larger community who may utilize the space differently.
Finally, theater has traditionally depended on early funding from those who subscribe in one year to launch productions for the following year. Because of COVID-19 that cycle of funding has been broken and we have to rebuild our production capital.
Yes! West Edge Opera and Destiny Arts will also be using the Bruns for their seasons, and we look forward to announcing a diverse array of partners including local arts organizations and community groups. We want the Bruns to be safely available to as much of the Bay Area as possible.
We are following all safety and social distancing protocols set by Contra Costa County, Actors’ Equity Association, United Scenic Artists, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society to ensure the wellbeing of our audience, staff, and artists. We will not move forward with an in-person performance or event unless all these guidelines are met. Learn more about our safety guidelines here.
Yes! Please visit our rentals page for more information.
There is still too much uncertainty around vaccine rollout and COVID-19 protocols to finalize performance dates. For example, if social distancing guidelines require us to significantly reduce the capacity of the theater, we would want to offer more performances so that everyone could safely see the show. We will announce as soon as there is more clarity. Above all else, we want you to feel comfortable returning to the Bruns.
As soon as we have dates, we will announce a plan for ticket sales.
Of course! Nearly 40% of 2020 subscribers have donated the value of their 2020 subscription back to us and we are so grateful. Every donation helps us maintain our daily operations, pay our staff, create digital programming, and plan for our return to the Bruns. If you have the capacity to convert your subscription into a donation, we encourage you to do so by reaching out to email@example.com.
Thank you! Your support keeps us going and growing and there are many ways to show your love for Cal Shakes and the Bruns!
Donate: If you are able, please consider making a donation by visiting calshakes.org/donate. The new COVID relief package offers a tax benefit in return for your generosity. Donors can use a universal tax deduction of up to $300 on their 2021 tax return if they take the standard deduction and married couples who file jointly can deduct up to $600. Click here to learn more and please consult your tax advisor regarding other new tax changes.
Sign up for our weekly email newsletter: Be the first to know about future events, ticket information, and all things Cal Shakes. Sign up here.
Volunteer: Did you know that a group called Will’s Weeders meets throughout the season to keep the Bruns looking pretty? If you’re a gardening aficionado, looking to usher, or support Cal Shakes in another way—fill out this quick survey and we’ll follow up. We’ll reach out when we are ready to open the Bruns and have proper safety protocols in place.
We’re more than happy to answer any of your questions! Due to the pandemic, we are working remotely and are not regularly answering our phones. However, if you have a question about tickets or your past subscription, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. For any other questions, email email@example.com. We will respond as soon as possible.
Learn More About the Season of Shared Light:
“Cal Shakes to host in-person season, inviting Bandaloop, Destiny Arts Center and West Edge Opera” by Lily Janiak, SF Chronicle