Cal Shakes Online

Furthering artistic practice and deepening community connections online.

A Gathering Space for the Bay Area and Beyond

Cal Shakes Online is a multi-channel digital platform designed to virtually unite artists and audiences during this unprecedented time. Though we cannot convene at the theater for the foreseeable future, we at Cal Shakes want to continue serving our community from afar by offering resources and programming to bring solace, entertainment, and joy.

Shakespeare and Divided Times: A Conversation with James Shapiro

Shakespeare in a Divided America

 Resident Dramaturg Philippa Kelly in conversation with renowned Shakespearean scholar and author, James Shapiro

January 12, 5:30  PM PST
via Zoom

Shakespeare is often seen as a monolithic voice of “universal” feeling and identity, but more accurately Shakespeare’s works express division, paradox, and the power of cognitive dissonance to pit human beings and societies against each other. Dive into the conversation with Resident Dramaturg Philippa Kelly and Columbia University Professor James Shapiro whose newest book— Shakespeare in a Divided America —explores how Shakespeare is interwoven in American history and was recently named one of the 10 Best Books of 2020 by the New York Times.

James Shapiro is Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1985. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has written several award-winning books on Shakespeare, and his most recent book, The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606, was awarded the James Tait Black Prize as well as the Sheridan Morley Prize. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, and the London Review of Books, among other places. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, and The New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and he is currently the Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at the Public Theater in New York City.

The event is co-sponsored by the Mechanics’ Institute

Direct Address

Direct Address is a live series of panel discussions, interviews, and webinars offering industry and community support as well as behind-the-scenes insight.  In June we began a series on Allyship and Anti-Racism and in September began Resisting Shakespeare Check out our recent conversations on YouTube

Mystery Shakespeare Theater 1592

California Shakespeare Theater Presents Mystery Shakespeare Theater 1592

Inspired by Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mystery Shakespeare Theater 1592 is a live watch party of a filmed version of one of Shakespeare’s plays on Zoom! Sign up for a mystery film that won’t be revealed until the event begins and join in as four panelists provide hilarious and insightful commentary throughout the screening creating a fun evening at home but not alone.  Called the “best Zoom party ever” by Theatrius. Stay tuned for our next watch party! 

Run the Canon

Philippa giving a grove talk
Philippa Kelly giving a Grove Talk; photo courtesy of Kelly

Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg Philippa Kelly will be “running the canon” offering a new 10-minute video lecture each week now through Christmas. 37 weeks, all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and never miss a lecture.


The Good Person of Szechwan
The Good Person of Szechwan (2019); photo by Kevin Berne

Inspired by Trinculo’s line from The Tempest, #ShelterHereabouts are a series of “micro-commissioned” monologues performed by Bay Area actors. First up, Phil Wong (The Good Person Szechwan, pictured above center) performs the program’s namesake speech.

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Cal Shakes Online Events

More for Our Friends at Home

The amount of streaming theater available online is endless. Check out what we’re watching this week and find a list of what else is playing around the globe. 

A curated list by members of the Cal Shakes Artistic team to support arts workers affected by the health crisis. The list includes grant and financial aid opportunities, unemployment resources, guides for virtual tools, and more.

#ShelterHereabouts K-12 EDITION
 We’re challenging all K-12 students to perform their favorite 90-second Shakespearean monologue and upload it to social media. Use the hashtags #ShelterHereabouts, #Calshakes, and #CreateAtHome, and tag @calshakes and @calshakesconservatory.

To support students, teachers, and parents during school closures, Cal Shakes is offering access to all its study guides. Dive into Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, black odyssey, and many more!

We want to capture a record of this unprecedented civic action to flatten the curve. Make a 3-second video capturing a moment in your day as a we shelter in place for the greater good and contribute to this brief chronicle. Send to:  NOW@THESE3SECONDS.COM #these3seconds.

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