Geneva Anderson digs into art

Inmates and the arts: Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at San Quentin this Friday, August 5, 2011

[footage from inmates’ 2009 production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”]

Tomorrow, at 11 a.m., inmates at San Quentin State Prison will have the rare opportunity to see thirteen of their peers performing in Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Twelfth Night.”  As part of the invited Bay Area press, ARThound will be attending too.  The inmates, under the direction of Marin Shakespeare Company’s Suraya Keating, have been studying the play, creating characters, learning lines, practicing songs and dance moves, and preparing for the performance for the past 10 months. The script is adapted by Marin Shakespeare’s Managing and Artistic Directors, Lesley and Robert Currier, and is set in the 1960’s with music from the Beatles, Rolling Stones and others.

The Marin Shakespeare Company, which performs at Dominican University’s Forest Meadows Amphitheatre each summer, added the Shakespeare program at San Quentin to their array of education programs in 2004 and every year, the Company has offered weekly classes to inmates culminating in an annual performance. The teachers who have worked with the inmates have found the men eager to learn.  Keating, who also teaches for Marin Shakespeare Company in public schools and summer Shakespeare camps, has a Masters degree in art therapy and experience working with incarcerated youth. For the past two years, the program has also involved Drama Therapy students, who have interned with Keating and participate in the productions.

 The cast is joined this year by interns Brent BC-Harvey and Elizabeth Keller, as well as Lesley Currier, who has performed with the men over the past eight years.

“Shakespeare gives inmates the opportunity to learn to communicate in new ways, to practice conflict resolution, to develop empathy, and teamwork skills. In addition, the men are expanding their vocabularies, learning about poetry, and enjoying classic literature,” said Currier. “Shakespeare has been transformational for many of the men who participate, building confidence and communication skills.”

“I welcome the opportunity to lead the actors into a deeper exploration of Shakespeare’s characters and stories. The men are hungry for Shakespeare,” Keating said.

 “Shakespeare actors are role models within the San Quentin community, demonstrating that even behind bars men can continue to set goals, learn new skills, and become better human beings.  Shakespeare at San Quentin is just one more way Marin Shakespeare Company is bringing Shakespeare into the lives of a variety of people,” Currier added.

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Theatre | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SF Opera’s Marin Opera Guild hosts its annual Champagne Gala this Sunday, August 7, 2011, at San Domenico Music Conservatory in San Anselmo

San Francisco Opera's Adler Fellows will perform this Sunday at the San Domenico Music Conservatory hosted by the Marin chapter of the San Francisco Opera Guild. Photo: courtesy SF Opera

The Marin Chapter of the San Francisco Opera Guild is hosting its 29th Annual Champagne Gala this Sunday, August 7, 2011, at the San Domenico Music Conservatory in San Anselmo.  The fundraiser will feature San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellows, resident artists of the San Francisco Opera Company, performing songs from Grand Opera and Broadway Classics.  Special guests Ellen Kerrigan and Baker Peeples will also sing.  The proceeds will benefit the Guild’s Opera a la Carte music education program for Marin County schools and its Opera Previews, featuring renowned musicologists offering an in-depth look into the season’s operas.  After the 2 p.m. performance, guests will be able to mingle with the artists and enjoy champagne and savory hors d’oeuvres in the conservatory’s idyllic setting.  

Current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows: Susannah Biller, soprano; Leah Crocetto, soprano; Sara Gartland, soprano; Nadine Sierra, soprano; Maya Lahyani, mezzo-soprano; Ryan Belongie, counter-tenor;  Brian Jagde, tenor; Brian Jagde, tenor; Daniel Montenegro, tenor; Ao Li, baritone; Ryan Kuster, bass-baritone; David Hanlon, coach and accompanist; Tamara Sanikidze, coach and accompanist.

Opera Previews Sponsored by the Marin Chaper of the San Francisco Guild for the 2011-2012 Season:


Mon Aug 29, 2011, 8 p.m. Turandot:      Giacomo Puccini Dr. Timothy Flynn: Olivet College, Assistant Professor of Music, Music Program Director
Thurs Sept 8, 2011, 8 p.m. Heart of a Soldier:      Christopher Theofanidas   Donna DiNovelli Dr.  Mitchell Morris:  Professor of Musicology, UCLA
Mon Sept 19, 2011, 8 p.m. Lucrezia Borgia:   Gaetano Donizetti  Dr. Mary Ann Smart:  Professor of Musicology, U.C. Berkeley 
Mon Oct 10, 2011, 8 p.m. Don Giovanni:   Wolfgang Amadeus  Mozart  Dr. Simon Williams:  Professor & Chair, Theatre & Dance Dept., U.C. Santa Barbara
Mon Oct 24, 2011, 8 p.m. Serse (Xerxes):   George Frideric Handel Dr. Bruce Lamott:  Director, Philharmonia Chorale
Thurs May 31, 2012, 8 p.m. Nixon in China:   John Adams   Dr. Stephen Hinton:  Professor of Music, Stanford University
Mon June 4, 2012 8 p.m. Attila:    Guiseppe Verdi Dr. Alexandra Amati-Camperi Dept Chair, Professor of Music, University of San Francisco

All Opera Previews at held at Villa Marin, 100 Thorndale Drive, San Rafael.  Time: 8 PM lecture; 7:30 PM complimentary tea/coffee and refreshments.  Admission: $10 per lecture or $60 for series.  For information, contact Tenki Davis at 415. 457.1118 or

Details: Champagne Gala begins at 2 p.m. at the San Domenico Music Conservatory, 1500 Butterfield Road, San Anselmo.  Tickets are $50 and can purchased at the event. For further information, contact Anne Zucchi at 415.924.9352, .

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Opera | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment