The Bruns III Memorial Amphitheater is located in Orinda, while the administrative offices, the rehearsal hall, the costume and the prop store are located in Berkeley.In 1988, the philanthropist Clarence Woodard led a capital campaign that led to the construction of the 545-seat Lt. G.H. Bruns III Memorial Amphitheater in the Siesta Valley of Orinda in 1991. 

It was named in memory of the late son of George and Sue Bruns of Lafayette, CA, who was killed on June 26, 1967, in a car accident just before he was due to be on duty in Vietnam. The Bruns grounds feature an annual sculpture installation, Art in the Groves, a variety of picnic groves, pre-show performance talks by playwrights, and on-site cafés. The stage itself has the Orinda hills as its backdrop, and patrons are encouraged to bring their food and drink into the amphitheater for the performance.

In 2009, Cal Shakes announced a second capital campaign, Building for the Future, to renovate the Bruns Amphitheater, including its grounds, backstage area, technical facilities and theater itself, using sustainable practices.

How do I get there?

The Bruns Amphitheater is located at 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda CA 94563, 7 miles from Berkeley and Oakland, just off Highway 24. Free parking is available on site, or you can take the BART to Orinda Station and catch a free shuttle service every 20 minutes, starting two hours before each show.

What Should You Wear?

It is recommended to wear layers and comfortable shoes – the ground can be uneven and the weather can vary from hot sunlight to chilly evenings. There are blankets available to borrow, or you can bring your own.

What else should You know about the space?

Because it is an outdoor venue, you may be impacted by the following:

  • Wildlife including bees and yellowjackets
  • Eucalyptus groves.
  • Bare dirt, slippery leaves, and uneven ground.
  • Chilly evenings and fog during evening shows and heat and bright sunshine during daytime shows.

The Amphitheater is surrounded by fragrant eucalyptus groves and spectacular views of hills and forest trails. You can choose from some or all of the spaces — indoors and outdoors — to make your event perfect.

The Plaza

The Plaza is an ADA compliant paved area with pistachio trees, string lights and coffee tables, located close to the toilets and the Amphitheater. The Bruns Plaza may be leased either alone or as part of the full Grounds Rental.

Upper Grove

The quietest and most friendly of the groves is also the one that is best suited for large groups to visit. It is shaded by eucalyptus and offers a stunning view of the Amphitheater and the Orinda hills. The Upper Grove is available at the full Grounds Rental.

Talking Grove

The Talking Grove includes a small speaking stage, picnic tables, chairs and an ADA-accessible table with a ramp. The Talking Grove is available at the full Grounds Rental.

North Star

Picnic tables in your choice of shade or sun during the day. The North Star Grove’s crowning jewel is Bruce Johnson’s North Star sculpture with a seat that helps intrepid climbers to look through a hole and see the North Star at night.

This well-known attraction is located near the following must-see sites in Orinda, California:

  • Orinda Community Center Park and Tennis Courts
  • Orinda Oaks Park
  • Siesta Valley Recreation Area
  • Orinda Library
  • Tilden Regional Park
  • Orinda Theatre
  • Briones Overlook 
  • Scotts Peak Trailhead

All of these wonderful offices are located just a short distance from our location on Boulevard Circle in historic Walnut Creek, California. Stop by for a visit anytime!