Origins & Development of the California Shakespeare Theatre 1974-2009

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In 1974, the Theater began as an artistic collective and evolved into a professional theater with innovative productions of classic theater. From 1983 it was led by artistic directors Dakin Matthews (1983-1987), and Michael Addison (1987-1995). In 15 years at Berkeley's John Hinkel Park, actors like Annette Bening, John Vickery, Douglas Sills, Julian Lopez-Morillas, and Lura Dolas appeared in over 53 productions, mostly plays of Shakespeare. In 1991, the Theater built its new performance venue, the 545-seat Bruns Memorial Amphitheater in the hills between Berkeley and Orinda, after a capital campaign led by Clarence Woodard, supported by foundations and community leaders. From 1995 to 1999, actor Joe Vincent was artistic director.

In 2000, after a national search, Jonathan Moscone became its artistic director. Under his leadership, California Shakespeare Theater set out to deepen the Theater's artistic and educational roles in the communities of the Bay Area. In the past four years, Cal Shakes has engaged artists of the highest caliber from the Bay Area and around the country: directors Lisa Peterson, Mark Rucker, Karin Coonrod, Daniel Fish and Kate Whoriskey; designers Christopher Akerlind, Riccardo Hernandez, Stephen Strawbridge, and Christine Jones; composer Gina Leishman and choreographers Joe Goode and K.T. Nelson; and actors L. Peter Callender, Sharon Lockwood, Steven Skybell, Gerald Hiken, Stephanie Roth Haberle, Domenique Lozano, Michael Emerson, Patrick Kerr, Jeffrey DeMunn, Ravi Kapoor and Reg Rogers. These artists have no preconceptions about Shakespeare, but a belief in revealing his stories innovatively and with immediacy borne of intellectual rigor and emotional honesty.

Since Moscone's tenure, California Shakespeare Theater has broadened its program to reflect a mission to create rediscovery of major works of world theater. In 2001, with support of the East Bay Community Foundation, Cal Shakes engaged in a year-long redefinition of our educational efforts and how to root them in the mission of the Theater. We sought to integrate these with our artistic efforts, and discover how to serve the diverse communities of the Bay Area in meaningful and sustainable ways. With the support of the Board and staff, and in collaboration with area educators and arts education funders, the Theater created the Artistic Learning Initiative, with the vision of creating a culture of lifelong learners, nourishing imaginations of young people and adults in preparation for the work of life.

Bay Area communities share a broad diversity of the people. Cal Shakes seeks to be a theater reflecting this rich diversity. To that end, we have created New Works/New Communities, an initiative that brings diverse communities together around the creation of new works of theater inspired by the classics. As partners with other arts and community-based organizations, we seek a more inclusive concept of community embracing our cultural, ethnic, social and geographic differences. New Works/New Communities was launched in 2006 with San Francisco's Intersection for the Arts/Campo Santo around Hamlet: Blood in the Brain . In 2007, NW/NC partnered with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, MFA students at American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), and community organizations serving homeless LGBT youth in San Francisco, to create King of Shadows ; and with teens and young adults at San Franciscos Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC) and Oakland's Youth Empowerment School (with East Side Arts Alliance) to present Love Test . NW/NC is working with playwright Octavio Solis and the Word for Word Performing Arts Company to adapt John Steinbecks Pastures of Heaven for a 2010 production on our main stage. The change of name to California Shakespeare Theater in 2003 defiines it as a theater serving our regions diversity beyond summer programs. It aims to be a Bay Area cultural leader, and home for artists, audiences and learners 365 days a year. For a productions list see below.

Jonathan Moscone, Artistic Director; Susie Falk, Managing Director .Bruns Theater: 100 Gateway Blvd., Orinda, CA 94563 Offices: 701 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, CA 94710 Box office: 510.548.9666 Fax:510.843.9921 © 2009 California Shakespeare Theater.

 

A COMPLETE PRODUCTION HISTORY OF THE CALIFORNIA SHAKESPEARE THEATRE, 1974-2009

1974

Midsummer Night's Dream; As You Like It; The Tempest; Pantagleize (Ghelderode); All's Well

Mikel Clifford; Harold Aarons; Peter Fisher; George Kovach; D. Kozloff

1975

Twelfth Night; As You Like It; Richard II; Love's Labour's; Midsummer Night's Dream; Pericles

Peter Fisher; R.C.Brush; M.Clifford; G. Kovach Mikel Clifford J.D. Trow

1976

Macbeth Troilus and Cressida The Taming of the Shrew Twelfth Night

Peter Fisher Ken Grantham George Kovach Linda Dobb

1977

Romeo and Juliet Much Ado About Nothing Richard III Measure for Measure

Sandra C. Hastie Ugo Baldassari G.Kovach Will Huddleston

1978

The Comedy of Errors Henry IV, Part 1 As You Like It Hamlet

Julian López-Morillas Will Huddleston Anne McNaughton George Kovach

1979

The Duchess of Malfi (Webster) Pericles A Midsummer Night's Dream

George Kovach Julian López-Morillas Mary Rae Thewlis

1980

The Merry Wives of Windsor King Lear The Tempest

Richard E.T. White Julian López-Morillas Audrey E. Stanley

1981

Julius Caesar The Taming of the Shrew Cymbeline Twelfth Night

Richard E.T.White Mary Rae Thewlis Patrick Tucker Julian López-Morillas

1982

Antony and Cleopatra All's Well That Ends Well The Winter's Tale Hamlet

Patrick Tucker Albert Takazauckas Dakin Matthews R. E.T. White

1983

Much Ado Romeo & Juliet King John 2 Gn of Verona Ivanhoe (Scott) Macbeth

A.McNaughton R.White J.L-Morillas A.McNaughton D.Matthews R.White

1984

The Merchant of Venice Love's Labour's Lost Othello

Tony Amendola Julian López-Morillas Richard E.T. White

1985

A Midsummer Night's Dream The Two Noble Kinsmen Richard III

Richard E.T. White Julian López-Morillas Anne McNaughton

1986

As You Like It Coriolanus The Tempest

Lura Dolas Julian López-Morillas Tony Amendola

1987

Richard II Henry IV, Part 1 Henry IV, Part 2 Henry V

Kathleen Conklin J. López-Morillas Michael Addison Michael Addison

1988

The Comedy of Errors Troilus and Cressida Timon of Athens Julius Caesar

Ken Grantham Michael Addison Julian López-Morillas Oskar Eustis

1989

The Taming of the Shrew Romeo and Juliet Measure for Measure Much Ado

Peggy Shannon J.López-Morillas Richard E.T. White Michael Addison

1990

The Merry Wives of Windsor Othello Cymbeline Twelfth Night

Julian López-Morillas Michael Addison Laird Williamson R. White

1991

Midsummer Night's Dream King Lear All's Well Antony and Cleopatra

Richard Seyd Michael Addison J.López-Morillas Nagle Jackson

1992

The Merchant of Venice The Tempest Macbeth Two Gentlemen of Verona

Michael Addison J.López-Morillas Charles Newell Penny Metropulos

1993

The Winter's Tale King John As You Like It Hamlet

Penny Metropulos Chris Barton Nagle Jackson Michael Addison

1994

Romeo and Juliet The Comedy of Errors Richard II The Taming of the Shrew

Paul Barnes Michael Addison Penny Metropulos Jeffrey Bihr

1995

Julius Caesar Love's Labour's Lost Henry IV, Part 1 Much Ado

Chris Barton Michael Addison Stephen Hollis Penny Metropulos

1996

The Merry Wives of Windsor Henry V Twelfth Night Measure for Measure

Robert Kelley James Bundy Joe Vincent Michael Addison

1997

All's Well Pericles Midsummer Night's Dream Medea (Euripides)

Joe Vincent Roger DeLaurier Ken Kelleher Lisa Wolpe

1998

Scapin, the Cheat (Molière) Othello As You Like It Richard III

Lillian Groag Tom Markus Joe Vincent Mark Booher

1999

Two Gentlemen of Verona The Merchant of Venice King Lear The Tempest

Ed Hastings Ken Kelleher Denis Arndt Robert Kelley

2000

Taming of Shrew Hamlet Rosencrantz & Guildenstern (Stoppard) Love's Labour's

Lillian Groag Karin Coonrod Jonathan Moscone Lisa Peterson

2001

Cymbeline Skin Of Our Teeth (Wilder) Romeo & Juliet Twelfth Night

Daniel Fish Richard Hamburger Mark Rucker Jonathan Moscone

2002

Midsummer Night's Dream Macbeth The Seagull (Chekhov) The Winter's Tale

Jonathan Moscone Kate Whoriskey Jonathan Moscone Lisa Peterson

2003

Julius Caesar Arms and the Man (Shaw) Measure for Measure Much Ado

Jonathan Moscone Lillian Groag Daniel Fish Peter DuBois

2004

Comedy of Errors Henry IV (D.Matthews) Import. Being Earnest (Wilde) All's Well

Sean Daniels Mladen Kiselov Jonathan Moscone Lisa Peterson

2005

Othello Nicholas Nickleby, I & II (Dickens/David Edgar) The Tempest

Sean Daniels Jonathan Moscone & Sean Daniels Lillian Groag

2006

Merry Wives of Windsor Restoration Comedy (Freed) Merchant of Venice As You Like It

Sean Daniels Sharon Ott Daniel Fish J. Moscone

2007

Richard III Man & Superman (Shaw) Triumph of Love (Marivaux) King Lear

Mark Rucker Jonathan Moscone Lillian Groag Lisa Peterson

2008

Pericles An Ideal Husband (Wilde) Uncle Vanya (Chekhov/E.Mann) Twelfth Night

Joel Sass Jonathan Moscone Timothy Near Mark Rucker

2009

Romeo & Juliet, Private Lives, Happy Days. Midsummer N's Dream

Jonathan Moscone, Mark Rucker, Jonathan Moscone, Aaron Posner

2010

The Pastures of Heaven; Mrs. Warren's Profession; Macbeth, Much Ado

J. Moscone; T. Neare; J. Sass; J. Moscone

2011

Titus Andronicus; The Verona Project [The Two Gentlemen of Verona]; Candida (Shaw); The Taming of the Shrew:

JoelHaas;Amanda Dehnert; Jonathan Moscone; Shana Cooper.

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Except where otherwise specified, all written commentary is © 2016, Hugh Macrae Richmond