Inspire appreciation for theater! We offer special student matinees of selected shows. A day of performance at Cal Shakes includes an interactive Teacher’s Guide, lively pre-performance games and activities at our outdoor theater, and a post-show Q&A with the actors, all included in the price of a ticket.

We also offer fun and educational pre- and post-show classroom visits by Teaching Artists to help contextualize the play and prepare students to more deeply engage in the production, at a reasonable additional charge.

“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 each season for our Student Discovery Matinees!

  • Info For
  • Pre- & Post-Show
  • Funders
  • FAQ

We require that student groups be accompanied by adult chaperones at a ratio of one chaperone for every 10 students. Fee-based chaperone tickets will be $20. Additional adult tickets are $25.

We rely on our teachers/chaperones to do the majority of the supervision while at the theater. 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.

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 to inquire about run times for the performance you are attending.

Some other things to keep in mind:

• Prepare for variable outdoor weather: jackets, sunscreen, hats, and plenty of water to drink. Bug spray is a good idea too!

• Upon arrival, your group will be escorted from the parking lot by Cal Shakes Staff and Volunteers, who will lead you to one of our beautiful eucalyptus groves to wait until we’re ready to lead you into the theater.
• Please remain in your grove until your group is called to be seated.

• Please have your students stand next to the person they want to sit with, and/or away from people who might distract them.
• Ushers will lead your group into the theater.
• Once your students are seated, they cannot change seats as it disrupts the flow of traffic.
• Chaperones: we ask that you spread yourselves out amongst your students to supervise them during the show.
• Please stay in your seats, 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.

• Please use the restroom before the show or at intermission.
• Students may not leave the theater during the performance unless accompanied by a chaperone. An usher will let you back in at an appropriate time in the play.
• Aisles must be kept clear because they are used by the actors.

• Photography and video are prohibited, including cell phone pictures and footage.
• Electronics (cell phones, gaming devices, etc) may not be used during the performance, out of respect for the actors.
• Phones and electronics being used during the performance will be confiscated.

• There will be concessions available at intermission. Because of limited time and the large number of attendees, we strongly encourage your students to pack lunch and snacks for the day. Please encourage your students to bring cash.
• You may eat in the theater, but please unwrap noisy wrappers ahead of time. Gum and other messy foods are discouraged.
• Please have your students take all trash & recyclables with them when you leave. There are bins in the lobby.
• Water fountains are in the main lobby and behind the theater near the technical control booth.

• Smoking is not allowed. Fire danger at our site is very high. Anyone smoking will be asked to leave the theater.
• Our theatre is surrounded by a wilderness area, complete with poison oak, bees and other critters. Please stay within designated areas: the theater, lobby, groves/picnic areas and paths.
• Please use the footpath to travel from the parking lot to the theatre and back. For your safety, please stay off the road to make way for cars and the BART shuttle.

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. Please email or call 510.809.3293 to learn more about how to take advantage of this great opportunity.

California Shakespeare Theater’ Student Discovery program for Othello is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Student Discovery programming for both Much Ado About Nothing and Othello is also supported by: Dale Family Fund, Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, Dodge & Cox, Ida and William Rosenthal Foundation, MCJ Amelior Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


To book tickets, please fill out the following form:

A representative from Cal Shakes will contact you shortly to review your order and/or answer any questions you might have.

Student Matinee FAQs

How many chaperones am I required to bring? Do they have to pay?
Cal Shakes requires there be one chaperone for every 10 students you are bringing to the theater.

What time does my group need to arrive at the theater?
We ask that groups arrive at the theater between 9:30am and 10am. If onsite activities are happening on the day you are attending and you would like your students to participate, please arrive at 9:30am to allow time for your students to participate in the activities.

How do the students eat while at the theater?
Students are allowed to eat during the show if they wish. There is also a 15-minute intermission in which they may eat or purchase a snack from our café. Because the intermission is only 15 minutes and the café lines are usually long we recommend that students do not rely on purchasing food by bringing a lunch or snacks with them.

What type of weather should we prepare for?
The weather is never certain at the Bruns Amphitheater. It is usually chilly in the mornings and warmer in the afternoons. We recommend that you dress in layers that are easily removed. Sunscreen, water bottles, sweatshirts, and blankets are always a good idea.

What is the timeline for the day?
9:30-10:20am – Arrival of groups and theater-activities in the groves
10:25-10:30am – Students line up to enter theater
10:30-10:45am – Seating for pre-show engagement
10:45am – Pre-show Engagement with Teaching Artist
11:00am – Pre-show Engagement Ends/Show begins Late seating completed for start of show approx..
Intermission - a 10-minute intermission will occur during the show, unless otherwise noted
End of Show - Groups that cannot stay for Q&A exit theater, Q&A begins shortly thereafter
End of Student Matinee Day - Remaining groups exit the theater