Cal Shakes Set to Honor Luminaries at Guiding Stars Gala in Berkeley

(Anne Hamersky, Photographer)
Playwright Octavio Solis will receive the Make Award in celebration of his artistic achievements, including his 2018 play Quixote Nuevo.

    Plan for an evening of celebration at California Shakespeare Theater’s third annual “Guiding Stars” Dinner and Awards Ceremony.
    According to Cal Shakes Publication Director Alicia Coombes, the gala is among the company’s major annual fundraising activities. “The aim is to celebrate Cal Shakes, our patrons and artists, the work we do on stage, in schools, and in communities, and to raise money to continue supporting our programs, including our Artistic Learning and Artistic Engagement 
    Cal Shakes will present Luminary Awards to individuals and organizations who exemplify its four core pillars of Make, Learn, Engage and Support. 
    Educator and actor Lauren Spencer will be recognized with the Learn Award. A teaching artist, Spencer uses theater as a tool of empowerment and self-awareness to build cultural competence and student-centered learning.
    The Engage Award will be given to Production Manager Joan Osato, a producer, photographer, designer and community organizer who has been a pivotal player in local and national theater for more than two decades.
    The Support Award will be presented to Jennifer Sousae, the executive director of the RHE Charitable Foundation, whose philanthropic leadership has given Cal Shakes the capacity to create more impact through its programs. 
    Coombes said a Guiding Star award also will be given to a person “whose greatness inspires us.”  
    The Make Award will be given to Playwright/Director Octavio Solis whose work speaks from the experience and to the concerns of people living in and around the United States/Mexico border.  His world premiere Quixote Nuevo opened the 2018 Cal Shakes season.
    Solis says he believes that much of what artists make passes unnoticed in the world.  “That’s why an audience is paramount for us. Our art is our gift to them, and oh, how satisfying when they respond so well,” he says. To be honored by his Cal Shakes peers “is an assertion that I haven’t been working in a vacuum, that I’ve managed to add to the mosaic of our collective cultural experience.”
    The gala begins with a cocktail reception, raffles and games, followed by dinner, awards and a live auction.  The evening culminates with a celebratory dance party with live music.
     “Last year’s Guiding Stars was brilliant! The passion and generosity of nearly 250 guests garnered almost $400,000 in contributions, ticket sales and winning bids on incredible trips and one-of-a-kind experiences,” says Coombes.  
    The gala takes place Saturday, March 9 at 6 p.m. at the Claremont Club & Spa in Berkeley. Tickets begin at $350 and need to be reserved by March 7.  Call 510-899-4907 or email or visit to purchase.

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