Friday, January 16, 2015
By Laura Brueckner
Today, California Shakespeare Theater and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts both announced that Cal Shakes artistic director Jonathan Moscone will leave that company in August 2015 for a new position as YBCA's chief of civic engagement.
Jonathan Moscone, departing artistic director
of California Shakespeare Theater.
Moscone brings to his new role a long history of leadership in community engagement and relationship building. During his 15-year tenure, Cal Shakes not only doubled its budget (plus some) but greatly expanded its mission and outreach, growing from a summer festival of the Bard's plays to a major producer of classics and contemporary work with a robust artistic learning program (currently serving more than 5,000 students), audience preshow enrichment activities such as its Grove Talks, and an experimental community involvement wing, the Triangle Lab, developed and operated in collaboration with Intersection for the Arts.
"Cal Shakes has experienced tremendous growth and success under Jon's visionary leadership," commented Cal Shakes board president Jean Simpson in a press release received today. Managing director Susie Falk added, "I couldn't have asked for a greater partner, mentor and friend than I've had in Jon over the past decade that we've worked together." Both expressed gratitude for Moscone's leadership and confidence that Cal Shakes's strength and reputation will attract a visionary new artistic director that will lead the company into the future.
According to the YBCA press release, Moscone will be responsible for designing and implementing the organization's civic engagement activities, connecting the art and artists of YBCA with the diverse constituencies of the center and San Francisco, developing and implementing ongoing collaborations with the city and with community based organizations from all over the Bay Area.
Moscone's move to a less explicitly artistic role may seem surprising, since he has also had great success as a distinguished theatrical director working at prestigious national venues. While noting that he plans to keep directing, he described his decision in a direct email sent to colleagues and theatre supporters, saying, "Cal Shakes is the most exciting theater that I know of, and no other regional theater company could have attracted me away from this place. This change goes beyond a career move for me; it is my passion to bring civic engagement and art together."