• Events

SPACES: Oakland

Created and performed by Oakland artists and storytelling residents, SPACES: Oakland is a series of performances offering a glimpse into Oakland, one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in the United States.

Performances are at 6pm PT Fridays through Sundays July 9-11 and July 16-18. Audiences will walk, sit, stand, move, and interact with the performers as they are led through the Beaux Arts Oakland City Hall building and through the Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland’s central community gathering place. Capacity is limited to 80 participants per show. 

The featured performers and collaborators of SPACES: Oakland include BANDALOOP and dancer/choreographer Sarah Crowell, making her return to the stage, following her long and celebrated tenure as an arts education and community leader at Oakland’s Destiny Arts Center.

The soundscape, which spans multiple eras of Oakland’s music, is curated by YR Media’s youth and staff under the guidance of Ben Frost, Program Director for YR Media's ADP.FM, and will be DJ’d live by Thinkbeat Radio’s Dion Decibels. YR Media will publish a four-part playlist, each featuring one of the four eras of Oakland music, available weekly leading up to the show on All Day Play FM’s site, Spotify and YouTube.

Alongside these seasoned performers, Oakland residents will share their own stories about home, change and resilience, which they will develop and hone through workshops hosted by local organizations and facilitated by the SPACES artistic team. From the workshops about 25 storytellers will be invited to perform in SPACES: Oakland, which features six to nine different storytellers per night.

Artistic Director Simón Adinia Hanukai explains, “Our aim is to amplify voices of the community, and as a result the local workshops evolve differently in each place. Each city comes alive with this combination of place-based performance by seasoned local artists and the intimacy of local storytellers.”

SPACES: Harlem, Oakland and Saint-Denis

Co-created by Hanukai, Lauren Cox, and Jonathan Camuzeaux, the first iteration of SPACES -- SPACES: Harlem -- was commissioned by the Harlem Arts Festival and premiered in 2017 at the Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church in Harlem, NY. Inspired by the success of that production, the team reimagined the project, adapting its form to any city, anywhere and soon after were invited by the Oakland/Saint-Denis Cooperation Project to create twin versions of the project for these two cities located on opposite sides of the world, yet undergoing many similar transformations.

“Oakland and Saint-Denis are vibrant industrialized cities that are home to immigrant, working class and artist communities,” says Hanukai. “Both of these cities exist in the shadow of their better known neighboring metropolises but both are complex, multicultural, diverse communities of industry, business, commerce and art with rich histories.”

SPACES: Saint-Denis opens September 30, 2021 at the Saint-Denis market and the Basilica of Saint-Denis, France and will bring to life the blend of cultures that make the city of Saint-Denis in the Métropole of Grand Paris a medieval town and royal necropolis.

For more on the Oakland/Saint-Denis Cooperation Project, watch the video, Empowering Culture in Our Cities.

SPACES: Oakland is presented as part of the Oakland/Saint-Denis Cooperation Project of Villa San Francisco, in co-production with the French American Cultural Society, the Institut Français, California Humanities, and in collaboration with Légendes Urbaines, which brings together urban and cultural actors, institutions and academics in the San Francisco Bay Area and Grand Paris. SPACES is developed in partnership with the City of Oakland, Destiny Arts Center, BANDALOOP, Downtown Oakland Association/Oakland Central, The Townfolk Project, and YR Media. This project is made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit calhum.org. Additional support is provided by the French Embassy in the U.S., The Clorox Company Foundation, and the MAP Fund.