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THE NEED

The 545-seat Bruns Amphitheater was created for Cal Shakes 18 years ago to speak to the breathtaking landscape where it was built. The new Simpson Center was designed to modernize and upgrade our facilities, while maintaining the same harmonious interaction with nature.
 
The Center replaces the deteriorated buildings and infrastructure installed 18 years ago—much of it intended to be temporary—which had become virtually untenable. These permanent improvements will preserve and sustain the enduring power of the Bruns.

  • BEFORE: Actors prepared in poorly lit, dilapidated trailers. A single shower and bathroom served the entire ensemble, which could be more than a dozen actors in our large Shakespeare productions.
    NOW: Men’s and women’s dressing rooms have separate showers and bathrooms, in a spacious climate-controlled building.
  • BEFORE: Crumbling, inadequate restrooms—a mere 18 toilets—served more than 550 audience members, actors, and staff at any given performance.
    NOW: A total of 31 restrooms (25 of which are for patrons) reduce long lines at intermission.

  • BEFORE: Lighting and sound equipment often sits outdoors because of lack of proper storage space.
    NOW: A large flexible basement room stores tools, paint, and technical equipment in a secure location, protected from the elements.

  • BEFORE: For nearly 20 years, actors waited to go onstage in a rotting green room under the stage that flooded at least once each season. Staff spent precious time on extensive cleanup whenever it rained.
    NOW: The actors await their cues in a spacious waterproof green room on the same level as the stage, allowing them to stay warm and dry before making their entrances.

  • BEFORE: Wardrobe, stage management, and facilities management lacked adequate space to prepare during rehearsals and performances. Wardrobe waged a constant battle against moisture and mildew in their cramped washing and repair facility under the stage.
    NOW: Office space for wardrobe, stage management, and facilities management allows each team a dedicated place to work. The wardrobe facility allows costume storage in a dry climate-controlled interior space.





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