Zendaya Donates $100,000 To The Shakespeare Theater Where She Began Her Acting Career

Zendaya Donates $100,000 To The Shakespeare Theater Where She Began Her Acting Career February 26, 2024Leave a comment

Zendaya arrives for the premiere of "Spider-Man: Far From Home" in Hollywood California on June 26, 2019

Zendaya this week donated $100,000 to the California Shakespeare Theater in Oakland, where she began her acting career as a child.

The "Dune" star partnered with the Women Donors Network to make the donation to the theater's North Star Fund, which supports improvements to the venue as well as future shows.

“We are deeply grateful to Zendaya and the WDN for their partnership, and their generous grant of $100,000 to the North Star Fund. This gift helps keep Cal Shakes going strong as we prepare for our 50th Anniversary season," Clive Worsley, Executive Director of the California Shakespeare Theater, known as Cal Shakes, said in a statement.

Cal Shakes, founded in 1974, said Zendaya's donation "moves us forward in a big way toward upgrading sound and lighting systems, enhancing the café, and of course funding our 50th Anniversary production of 'As You Like It', directed by Elizabeth Carter."

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 27-year-old actress first joined the theater during childhood when her mother worked summers there. The Cal Shakes summer season draws large audiences to the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater for outdoor performances.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer this general support grant in partnership with Zendaya. We hope that our funding supports your work and helps further your strategic vision, wherever funds are most needed," said Leena Barakat, President and CEO of the Women Donors Network.

Zendaya on the red carpet of the MTV Movie Awards
Wikimedia Commons / Nicole Alexander / CC 3.0

"As You Like It," one of Shakespeare's best-loved comedies, will be the finale for Cal Shakes' 50th anniversary season, running from Sept. 12–29 at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater.

“The eucalyptus groves at the Bruns will be standing in for the greenwood trees of the forest of Arden where Orlando pins his love letters to Rosalind," said Clive Worsley, Executive Director at Cal Shakes. "The play’s themes of love, discovering one’s true self, embracing the bucolic bliss of the forest, and returning to a state of nature are more important and relevant today than ever."

Director Elizabeth Carter said the play, to her, "is ultimately about the freedom to uncover ourselves and being loved for our true selves, and that the least of us is the most of us.”

“Shakespeare often has loss at the fulcrum of his plays, be it comedies, tragedies or romances — but in a comedy like 'As You Like It', he shows us the glorious, often hilarious, transformative power that goes along with losing," said Philippa Kelly, Resident Dramaturg at Cal Shakes. "Sometimes we just have to dare to lose everything we thought we were and needed before we can win."