Direct Address

 A series of panel discussions, interviews, podcasts and webinars offering industry and community support as well as behind-the-scenes insight. Check out our recent conversations on YouTube

Upcoming Direct Address Conversations

Previous Direct Address Conversations

Shahrazad Squad: Story-Sharing as Community Building 

 Sowers + Seeds: What makes a resilient community?

featuring Claudia Alick of Calling Up Justice,  Jocelyn Jackson and Sita Bhaumik from the People’s Kitchen Collective, and Toshi Reagon. 

Cal  Shakes Chronicle: Spunk Reunion

On Juneteenth, we launched Cal Shakes’ Chronicle as part of our ongoing Direct Address series that included conversations on Allyship + Anti-Racism and Resisting Shakespeare. Chronicle is an effort to reflect back with accountability and candor on the successes and challenges of Cal Shakes’ anti-racism journey. 

For the inaugural conversation, we revisit our 2012 production of Spunk by George C. Wolfe, adapted from three tales by Zora Neale Hurston, and directed by Patricia McGregor. Spunk marked the first time Cal Shakes staged a play by a Black playwright and about the Black experience despite having been founded 38 years prior to the production. In this reunion panel, members of the cast and creative team reflect on their experience nearly 10 years later. Watch the Reunion Here!

Resisting Shakespeare: Educator Roundtable 

In Resisting Shakespeare, we’ve spoken to directors, to artistic leaders, to playwrights, and to actors. And now, we turn to our educators.

Shakespeare is the only writer named in the Common Core, which dictates standards for K-12 education in the US. With this in mind, we dove into frank conversations with a thrilling group of educators and collectively wrestle with the legacy of this writer in our classrooms. The roundtable included:

Awele Makeba, Award-winning & internationally known storyteller, teaching artist, literacy specialist, recording artist, and educator
Elizabeth Carter, Award-winning Actor, Director, and Educator
Jana Maiuri, Arts Educator
Michael Anthony Torres, Professor, Chair, Director, Actor, Presenter, Theatre Maker
Clive Worsley, Cal Shakes’ Director of Artistic Learning

Indigenous Theatermakers: A Roundtable Discussion

As part of our Allyship + Anti-Racism series, we held a roundtable conversation on the state of Native storytelling in the American theater from the perspective of Native artistic leaders. Some potential themes: what does a reciprocal relationship look like with Indigenous community? How do we support Native theater-makers in a sustainable way? If the panelists took over Cal Shakes, what would that season look like? Panelist include:

Shannon R. Davis, Director, Actor, Artivist
Ty Defoe, Interdisciplinary-hyphenated artist, activist, writer, cultural worker, and shape-shifter.  
Jeanette Harrison, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of AlterTheater
Rhiana Yazzie, Artistic Director of New Native Theatre

Resisting Shakespeare
#LoveHateOthello (A Reunion) 

Way back in 2016, Cal Shakes’ summer season closed with Othello by William Shakespeare. It was directed by our (then brand-new) Artistic Director, Eric Ting, in a production that wrestled with facets of the play often deemed problematic by contemporary standards.

It ran during the closing months of the 2016 presidential election. And audience response to the production sparked the hashtag #LoveHateOthello.

Four years later, on October 23, on the eve of another presidential election, the cast reunited in conversation with Eric about the charged, often confrontational, experience of performing this play; and the relevance of the production today, in hindsight.

Resisting Shakespeare
Mystery Shakespeare Theater 1592 Edition

 Members of  Mystery Shakespeare Theater 1592—our popular Shakespearean Watch Party inspired by Mystery Science Theater 3000—reunited for the second conversation in our Direct Address: Resisting Shakespeare series. Actors Phil Wong and Safiya Fredricks, founder of the Theatre Nerd Shakespeare Pandemic Watch Party Alex Moggridge, and dramaturg Philippa Kelly joined Artistic Director Eric Ting to reflect on the solace and laughter #MST1592 offered us in the early months of a pandemic and the reasons we chose to stop. They were joined throughout the evening by familiar Cal Shakes faces—such as Danny Scheie, Aldo Billingslea, Jomar Tagatac, Stacy Ross, and Nancy Carlin to name a few— as we collectively wrestled with laughter’s role in times of tragedy.

Resisting Shakespeare
Or, how to fall in and out and in and out of love

This summer through our Allyship+Anti-Racism series, Cal Shakes has been examining the systems and structures, from Anti-Blackness to White Supremacy, that have led us as a nation to this moment of reckoning. Next Friday we turn the lens inward, as we introduce a new series in our Direct Address program: Resisting Shakespeare, where we’ll be joined by good company—friends and colleagues—in frank dialogues about misguided loves and misplaced allegiances, and a hope for reconciliation and redemption amidst uncertain times. Oh, and a little Shakespeare, too.

Resisting Shakespeare began Friday, September 18 with an all-star leadership panel facilitated by our very own Artistic Director Eric Ting and featuring: Marcus Gardley (playwright, black odyssey), Nataki Garrett (Artistic Director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Madeline Sayet (Director, Executive Director of Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program), Sam White (Artistic Director, Shakespeare in Detroit), and Dawn Monique Williams (Director & Associate Artistic Director of Aurora Theatre Company).

Where We Are Now: Mindfully Navigating Difficult Emotions On Our Path Towards Liberation

During our first Cal Shakes’ Direct Address Series, Allyship and Anti-racism, which took place one month after the murder of George Floyd; we explored how to make revolution a daily practice, while also sustaining anti-racism work. Three months later, we brought back the panelists from that conversation for a frank discussion about personal & collective grief and other difficult emotions.  The panel featured: Lauren Spencer (Bay Area Theatremaker & Educator), Jasmin Hoo (#Asians4BlackLivesAPIENC), Fresh “Lev” White (East Bay Meditation CenterAffirmative Acts Consulting), Meredith Smith (People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond), and Michael Robertson (artEquity).

Addressing Anti-Blackness in Non-Black Communities of Color

Crowded Fire Artistic Director Mina Morita facilitated a discussion focused on the specific ways anti-Blackness presents in different communities of color followed by breakout sessions designed for deeper discussion. She’ll be joined by guest speakers: Andrea Assaf (performer, writer, director, and cultural organizer), Yalini Dream (organizer, arts & wellness specialist, teacher, and artist), L. Duarte (theatre maker, teaching artist, writer, and director), and Regina Victor (director, multidisciplinary artist, and arts critic).

Introduction to Accountability with Mia Mingus

In this 2-hour class, Mia Mingus offered a basic introduction to what accountability means as well as guidelines for action steps, from a transformative justice lens. She offered some introductory and contextual basics and core concepts to transformative justice.

Mia Mingus is a writer, educator, and community organizer for disability justice and transformative justice. She has been engaged in TJ work for more than a decade at both the local and national level, specifically focusing on intimate and sexual violence, especially child sexual abuse. 

This session was not recorded but more information on accountability and Mia’s work can be found here

A conversation on the necessary and specific role of white people working towards racial justice. Facilitated by Cal Shakes’Artistic Producer SK Kerastas and featuring guest speakers JD Doyle (East Bay Meditation Center), Toran Ailisheva (White Noise Collective), and Ti Wilhelm (Opportunity Fund). 

A conversation on allyship and anti-racism moderated by Bay Area theater maker and educator Lauren Spencer and included panelists Fresh “Lev” White (Affirmative Acts Consulting), Meredith Smith (People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond), Michael Robertson (artEquity), and Jasmin Hoo (Asians4BlackLives, API Equity- Northern California). 

Actor Safiya Fredricks walks through the process of applying for unemployment as a freelance artist.

Former Artistic Director of Playwrights Foundation Amy Mueller and Cal Shakes HR Consultant Neera Gunn take a deep dive into unemployment and the new CARES Act.

Please note, no one on the webinar is an employee of the EDD or unemployment experts. For the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding unemployment in your state, visit your states EDD website. This video is intended to take the stigma out of filing for unemployment and provide a human perspective to the process. 

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