Cal Performances launches music, theater streaming series

Photo of Yo-Yo Ma
Karen Chow/File
This fall, Cal Performances will launch an online streaming service that will showcase music and theater performances, as well as interviews, lectures and panel discussions.

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In response to COVID-19 concerns, Cal Performances is launching “Cal Performances at Home,” an online music and theater performance streaming series that will allow viewers to watch performers such as Yo-Yo Ma from their homes.

Performances will be streamed weekly from Oct. 1 to Jan. 14, according to a Cal Performances press release. The series will feature 15 newly-produced, full-length Main Stage performances, each of which will be accompanied by a digital “watch party” and a participatory live chat.

“As we approach fall 2020 and what would have been the beginning of our in-person season, Cal Performances’ most pressing goal has become finding a way to enable our audiences to continue to experience what they love about the performing arts,” said Jeremy Geffen, Cal Performances executive and artistic director, in a press release.

In addition to the Main Stage performances, Cal Performances at Home will include “Beyond the Stage” original content, including interviews, lectures and panel discussions for viewers to engage with artists and for artists to contextualize their art, according to Cal Performances spokesperson Jeanette Peach. The program will also include a digital classroom that will provide educational content for teachers and students of different ages.

“In this moment when in-person performances are not yet safe, we have been reminded of the performing arts’ unsurpassed ability to express the power and potential of the human spirit,” Geffen said in the press release.

The performances will include 10 programs that were originally scheduled to perform live in the fall, four new performances and a New Year’s Eve celebration piece, according to Peach.

She added that Cal Performances at Home videos will be streamed on demand to viewers’ home screens. Viewers can purchase tickets to the entire fall 2020 Cal Performances at Home series beginning at noon Tuesday, Sept. 8. The cost of tickets for the public will depend on the number of viewers and will be available to UC Berkeley students for $5.

The fall Cal Performances at Home series will be available for no charge to current 2020-2021 Cal Performances subscribers and for Cal Performances donors who have given $225 or more, Peach said in an email.

Viewers will have access to each video following its streaming debut for three months with the exceptions of Leif Ove Andsnes’ recital, Manual Cinema’s “A Christmas Carol” and the New Year’s Eve Musical Celebration, according to Peach.

“Cal Performances at Home takes us into bold and meaningful new territory where we can engage our audiences and community while simultaneously supporting the artists who are the lifeblood of our program,” Geffen said in the press release. “Today’s artists are truly showing us — on a daily basis — what it means to remain resilient, creative, and hopeful.”

Contact Blake Evans at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Blake_J_Evans.