The Measure of Oakland

The Measure of Oakland

On April 1st, our students performed their original and evocative performance of M4M Remix to a packed house! Our donors enjoyed a glass of wine and appetizers before the show and then exciting conversations with the actors following the performance. Also, our student poets performed their original poetry before the play began!

Set in Oakland and inspired by Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure, The Measure of Oakland (M4M Remix) explored the topics of consent, power, and justice in modern society.

The Measure of Oakland / Civicorps

Creative Process

In January and February, directors Stephen Muterspaugh and Maryssa Wanlass of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival began private interviews with about 20 students from Civicorps. In the interviews, students were asked about their experiences living in Oakland, and they shared intimate stories and reflections on their lives. These stories were then used by playwright Davern Wright to shape an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure – the play that Civicorps performed in the fall. He worked hard to write the script in a way that reflected the themes and experiences of life in modern day Oakland, through our students’ eyes. What truly made this original theatrical performance both heart-breaking and inspiring, is that many portions of the script were born out of the true experiences of our students.

The Measure of Oakland / Civicorps

Life-Changing Experience for our Students

“It was a lot of work, but it was cool. I felt famous.” – Tai

“This is my third Shakespeare play. I love it because it’s pushed me to prepare for my future.” – Telicia

“Shakespeare taught me how to act, and I can take that anywhere with me in life.” – Kyndall

“Shakespeare helps me open up to be a better person.” – Miki

Play Synopsis

As the newly appointed mayor of Oakland, Sampson vows to “clean up” the city. He devises a plan to incarcerate all of the poor citizens of the city, in order to build high-rise luxury apartments for the rich. His transformation of the city is unprecedented and appears unstoppable. Will the community be able to come together to cease this injustice, or will the city of Oakland become another haven for the wealthy? This original theatrical performance will find an answer to this dilemma, while highlighting the power and importance of reclaiming personal voice and allowing our stories to be heard.

Check out pictures from the powerful performance!

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Measure for Measure!

Measure for Measure / CivicorpsLast Thursday, we had a packed house for our performance of Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure! As always, it was Shakespeare as only Civicorps students could deliver.

Starting in January, our students will be working with a playwright from the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival to incorporate the classic themes with contemporary issues. Don’t miss out on the modern adaptation of this play, which will be performed in March!

Thank you for supporting Civicorps. Shakespeare is an integral part of our life-changing programs, and we are happy that you were able to witness this amazing transformation.

Please check out more incredible photos from this performance and be sure to “like” our Facebook page so you can stay up-to-date with all of the success stories here at Civicorps!

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Within Us

Last night, our students performed our first-ever original play Within Us! Our community was thrilled to have such an enthusiastic audience for this incredible performance that explored the themes of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, but set in modern Oakland.

This powerful original play weaved in personal stories from our students as well as the nationwide #BlackLivesMatter movement to tell a personal and profound story of how we can come together during emotionally-charged times to create positive change in our community.

Thank you again to our amazing partner, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival as well as the playwright Greg Ayers, for helping guide this incredible process of writing and performing an original play.

Check out photos from the event!

Learn more about the process to write Within Us.

Donate to support our soul-enriching arts programs!

Within Us / Civicorps

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Justice - Mercy - Revenge - Forgiveness

Justice – Mercy – Revenge – Forgiveness

On March 27th, Civicorps students in partnership with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival will perform Within Us: an urban exploration of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice set in modern Oakland.

The student performers are currently working with a playwright to re-write the original play. The result will be a powerful story that interweaves Shakespeare’s timeless themes of justice, mercy, revenge, and forgiveness with contemporary issues.

After the performance, the student actors will join the audience for riveting small group conversation about the play’s themes.

Light appetizers and wine will be served
Admission is free — RSVP is required

March 27, 2015
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Civicorps Job Training Center
1425 5th St.
Oakland, CA 94607

Justice - Mercy - Revenge - Forgiveness / Civicorps

Read more about the artistic process to re-write this play!

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Discussing race + power; re-writing Shakespeare.

Re-writing Shakespeare

Last night Civicorps hosted a powerful discussion on race and power, which provided information on the adaption of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice that will be set in modern Oakland and will explore the issue of police violence.

Led by San Francisco Shakespeare Festival instructors, a panel of local politicians answered tough questions and then listened to students share their thoughts around the four themes of the play: justice, revenge, mercy and forgiveness.

Our panelists included:

  • Brigitte Cook, West Oakland Community Liaison to Councilmember Lynette McElhaney
  • Rodney Brooks, Chief of Staff for County Supervisor Keith Carson
  • Sargent Holly Joshi, Chief of Staff for Oakland Police Department

The result was a powerful, insightful conversation.

Student reflections:

“A thing that stood out for me was that a lot of the things that the panelists said about themselves – I could relate to.”

“The the themes of the play: mercy, revenge, forgiveness, and justice — I go through each one every day on the streets.”

“I liked when one of the panelists said ‘We all have a voice, so we all have power.’ It made me see that we do have power.”

Discussing race + power; re-writing Shakespeare / Civicorps

Now our students will work with a playwright to re-write the play and perform it on March 26th.

We hope to see you then for this incredible performance!


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Come see Merchant of Venice!

Come see Merchant of Venice! / CivicorpsMerchant of Venice

Each year, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Midnight Shakespeare program works with Civicorps students for ten weeks to put on a Shakespeare play.

This fall we are proud to present The Merchant of Venice!

Join us on Thursday, November 20th at 7:30 pm
for a performance you’ll never forget!

Lakeside Park Garden Center
666 Bellevue
Oakland, CA 94610

Free event! Family friendly! No RSVP needed!

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