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Published October 28th, 2020
Cal Shakes prepares its unique 2021 season
Online captured photo of Sarah William, right, and Eric Ting, left.

California Shakespeare Theater, which has been producing Shakespeare and classic plays at the Orinda Bruns theater for years, is holding a series of town hall meetings to inform and keep its stakeholders engaged during this uniquely challenging time. The last town hall is scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. During the first town hall, Eric Ting, artistic director, and Sarah Williams, managing director, took stock of the devastation the pandemic has brought to most performance artists, and discussed avenues to continue to be relevant and vibrant. There will not be a 2021 regular Shakespeare season, but Ting promises that the amazing outdoor Orinda amphitheater will be welcoming community partners.
Ting defined the pandemic as one of these rare moments in one's life when there is a defined before and after. "We are mourning the loss of a way of life, such is the magnitude of the destruction," he said. He added that he also believes in the resilience of the community and that he knows that Cal Shakes will re-emerged, probably changed by a new paradigm.
Cal Shakes started in March by canceling its 2020 season, furloughing employees before having to let many go. It gave up its administrative and rehearsal space in Berkeley, and relocated the few remaining staff in the green room at the Bruns.
Ting and Williams said that the uncertainties of the time are such that they decided they could not put together a four-play summer 2021 season. Cal Shakes, through a partnership with the East Bay Municipal Utility District, has the use of the outdoor Bruns amphitheater. Ting said that Cal Shakes is reinventing what it means to be a nonprofit, and will be a resource for the community. He explained that his team is talking to other theater groups and community partners that share the same values, to give them access to the space, so they can strengthen their own community.
While there is no traditional subscription to be purchased for 2021, those who want to support Cal Shakes will be given other ways to invest. More information can be found at www.calshakes.org

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