"You won't find a more spectacular venue for live theater than
Cal Shakes' Bruns Amphitheater in the Orinda hills." —Diablo Magazine


The Taming of the Shrew
Student Discovery Matinee Video by Kyle Garrett.

The Cal Shakes Student Discovery Matinee Series presents select Main Stage productions for student audiences. A day of performance at Cal Shakes includes an informative Teacher’s Guide, a lively pre-performance interactive engagement at the theater, and a post-show Q&A session with the actors—all included in the price of a ticket. Our fun, educational pre- and post-show classroom visits by highly trained Teaching Artists are available at a very reasonable additional charge, and help contextualize the play and prepare students to more deeply engage in the production.

“Cal Shakes always provides such a welcoming and engaging experience for our students. Their generosity allows us to bring Shakespeare into the lives of our urban students, making it accessible for learners of all abilities and interests.”
—Ashley Varady, sixth-grade reading teacher at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy

Thank you to the Fruit Guys for donating fruit to feed over 2000 students
during our 2014 Student Discovery Matinees!

  • Student Matinee Dates
  • Chaperone
  • Pre- & Post-Show Workshops
  • Funders
  • Contact

Cal Shakes is pleased to announce dates for our 2015 Student Discovery Matinee Series. Our Spring 2014 dates sold out quickly—book now before itís too late!

2015 Student Discovery Matinee Series Dates

Twelfth Night
June 3 & 5 —On sale from 10/27/14.
King Lear September 25, October 2, 7, 9 —On sale from 2/1/15.

Performances begin with a pre-show presentation starting at 10:45am.

To book, contact: Marketing & PR Manager Marilyn Langbehn at 510.809.3290 or

California Shakespeare Theater prides itself on presenting exciting and engaging stories in which the classics are often reimagined to relate to modern life. Frequently we address subjects that might challenge younger members of our audiences, and we encourage you to take on the role of deciding for yourself, with your student(s), how much you wish to engage in plays that might bring up things you feel sensitively or strongly about. In Shakespeare, violent acts and passionate love are frequently depicted, and he deeply explores questions of identity in both comedy and tragedy. In this we find rich ground for how people engage in today's world. We know these stories reflect everyone's struggles with individuality and the greater world, and that is what we wish to share with our audiences. Our only agenda is to share what we see around us, and interpreting through our art the human struggle in which we are all engaged.

We require that student groups be accompanied by adult chaperones at a ratio of one chaperone for every 10 students. Chaperones will be admitted at no charge; all other adults attending the event with the group may purchase tickets at a special discount rate of $25 each.

Welcome to the California Shakespeare Theater! We have an incredible show planned for you, and we hope you are looking forward to the experience as much as we are. In order to ensure that you and your students have a safe and enjoyable day, please review the following rules and share them with your students. We rely on our teachers/chaperones to do the majority of the supervision while at the theater. Please note that we expect you to arrive at the theater with 1 chaperone for every 10 students. Should a problem arise with a student at any point during the day, we will ask the student to sit outside the theater with a chaperone until the conclusion of the performance. Please make every effort to see that students are attentive and respectful to the theater, the grounds, the actors, and our staff. Thanks so much, and we’ll see you soon!

Please note: Performances generally run approximately two hours and 30 minutes minutes (including one 10-minute intermission) and are followed by a 15-minute Question-and-Answer period. Please contact learn@calshakes.org to inquire about run times for the performance you are attending.

Some other things to keep in mind:

BEFORE YOU ARRIVE: You are about to visit an outdoor theater, which means that the weather can be quite unpredictable! As we all know, the weather in one part of the Bay Area can be completely different from the weather in another part. Please urge your students to prepare for both hot and cold weather: bring sweaters, jackets, sunscreen, hats, plenty of water to drink, and some snacks. Bug spray is a good idea, too!
ARRIVING AT THE THEATER: Upon arrival, your group will be escorted from the parking lot up to the theater by ushers. If your group arrives before 10:20 a.m., our ushers will lead you to one of our beautiful eucalyptus groves to wait until we’re ready to lead you into the theater. You are welcome and encouraged to arrive anytime between 9:30-10:20 a.m. to picnic in our groves before the show! Please remain in the grove until your group is called to be seated in the theater. Please do not arrive any later than 10:20 a.m. so as to allow plenty of time to seat everyone before the pre-show.

ENTERING THE THEATER: Once the theater is opened, ushers will lead your group into the theater. As you enter, stand next to those you want to sit with. Once you are seated, do not change seats as this disrupts the flow of traffic for others being seated. Please sit in your assigned seating area only. Do not move to another area even if there are empty seats available—moving during the show is disruptive to the actors, and there may be other people assigned to those seats.
CHAPERONES: We ask that chaperones sit with and supervise students at all times, before, during, and after the performance.
RESPECT DURING THE PERFORMANCE: Out of respect for the actors and other audience members, once the performance has begun, students and chaperones may only leave the theater in case of emergency. Furthermore, actors often use the aisles during the performance, so aisles must be kept clear at all times. Students may not leave the theater during the performance unless accompanied by a chaperone. Once they leave, they will not be allowed back into the theater until an appropriate moment in the play. Students and chaperones must use the restroom before the play begins, during intermission, or at the end of the show.

FOOD: You may eat in the theater, but please unwrap anything that would make noise ahead of time. Please take all your trash & recyclables with you when you leave. There are bins outside the theater entrance. Chewing gum, bag candies or similar small, hard foods are discouraged in the theater.

WATER: Water fountains can be found in the main lobby near the road and behind the rear wall of the theater near the technical control booth.

BEACH CHAIRS: Some of you will be seated in portable beach chairs in the theater terrace. At the end of the performance, please return these chairs to the area just outside the top row of the seats as you leave the theater.

PHOTOGRAPHY of any kind is prohibited and illegal. This includes pictures taken with cell phones. Any cameras or camera phones will be confiscated.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES, including cell phones and laptops, may not be used during the performance. It is discourteous to the actors. If any are seen being used, they will be confiscated immediately.

SMOKING: Fire danger at our site is very high. No smoking is allowed anywhere. Anyone smoking will be asked to leave the theater.

WILDERNESS AREAS: NO off site exploration is allowed. Outside the theater, lobby and paths, this is a wilderness area, complete with rampant poison oak and many animals. We make every effort to reduce the yellow jacket population on our grounds; however, as the theater is surrounded by acres of wooded watershed, bees are almost always part of the experience. To keep the bees away, cover your food as much as possible. If a bee does come near you, keep calm and do not swat at it. If you do get stung, please see a Cal Shakes staff member.

EXITING THE THEATER: Once the show has ended, chaperones should assist students in picking up trash, folding up beach chairs and blankets (if applicable), and returning beach chairs and blankets to their designated areas. Chaperones should exit with students. Please use the footpath to return to the parking lot at the end of the show. DO NOT walk down the road as cars and the BART shuttle may be driving on the road.

Get your students prepared for and enthusiastic about seeing the show!  Our highly-trained Cal Shakes Teaching Artists visit your classroom to provide a dynamic and exciting session to teach students the themes and plot of the play, familiarize them with the language and our production, and help them gain an understanding of the relevancy of the story to their modern lives. Call Artistic Learning Programs Manager Beverly Sotelo, 510-809-3293 or bsotelo@calshakes.org to learn more about how to take advantage of this great opportunity. 

California Shakespeare Theater's Student Discovery program for Twelfth Night is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Other Student Discovery underwriters include: Dodge & Cox, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, the Thomas J. Long Foundation, the MCJ Amelior Foundation, and the Ida and William Rosenthal Foundation.


Marketing & PR Manager Marilyn Langbehn
510.809.3290 or mlangbehn@calshakes.org