Berkeley, CA – The East Bay’s California Shakespeare Theater and San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts announce The Triangle Lab and the program’s new online home, Seeded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the two companies have formed the lab as a framework for collaborative experiments in theater-making, seeking to expand who participates in theater-making and how they participate.

“Cal Shakes and Intersection share a common vision for the civic role of the arts, and a joint dedication to telling the stories of people and communities who are often left out,” says Triangle Lab Director Rebecca Novick. “Together we are opening our rehearsal rooms, our classrooms, and our theaters to a broad range of community members. We aim for theaters, artists, and community members (the three points of the triangle) to become equal partners in discovering and sharing the profound stories of our times. We expect our experiments to yield new ways of making plays, new stories, and new ways of telling them, and to engage a broad range of participants in our community.”

The Lab’s programming launches this spring with Imagine Oakland, a project inspired by Cal Shakes upcoming production of Spunk, adapted by George C. Wolfe from three stories by acclaimed Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston was passionate about documenting the everyday language and stories of people, from the Caribbean to the American South. The Triangle Lab invites Oakland residents to join us in imagining the past, present, and future of their city. “If Zora were here now, Oakland is the kind of place she’d want to write about. She believed in going home to tell the stories of your places,” says Spunk director Patricia McGregor. The Imagine Oakland project invites Oaklanders to tell stories of their places, sharing and experiencing communal reflections in a variety of arenas—online, in person, pictorial, verbal—to paint a complex portrait of this dynamic city. Project partners include San Francisco-based TILT, the Youth Program of the Ninth Street Independent Film Center; East Oakland-based Youth UpRising, an organization dedicated to community transformation powered by the leadership of youth; and EC Reems Middle School in Oakland.

Components of Imagine Oakland include:

  • TILT media instructors training youth at Youth UpRising to create videos exploring their East Oakland neighborhood
  • Artist residency at EC Reems middle school working with students to create “imagine Oakland” performance pieces
  • Story circles led by Spunk director Patricia McGregor, with Bay Area residents
  • “Tell us about your Oakland” online submissions via
  • Online photo contest inviting submission of photos of your favorite Oakland corner
  • Interactive art installation at Cal Shakes’ Bruns Amphitheater to be created during the run of Spunk
  • Sound installation of Oakland stories in the BART shuttle to Cal Shakes’ performances of Spunk
  • Playwright Chinaka Hodge has been commissioned to create a 10-minute piece on Oakland stories to be played in the BART shuttle ride and to be available for download.

The Triangle Lab is supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support comes from the James Irvine Foundation.

For more information about The Triangle Lab, contact Director Rebecca Novick at

Now in its 39th season, California Shakespeare Theater is known for its innovative productions of the plays of William Shakespeare and other reimagined classics. Cal Shakes is committed to being a leading community citizen by nourishing the imaginations of audiences, artists, and learners of all ages. Cal Shakes makes boldly imagined and deeply entertaining interpretations of Shakespeare and the classics; provides in-depth, far-reaching artistic learning programs for learners of all ages and circumstances; and brings disparate communities together around the creation of new American plays that reflect the cultural diversity of the Bay Area. For more information on the entirety of Cal Shakes work on stage, in schools and in communities, go to


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Intersection for the Arts is a leading-edge arts and community development organization that connects people and communities across physical, social, cultural, and economic boundaries to instigate change.