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2020/21 Season

Cal Performances’ new Illuminations series brings the public straight into the heart of the groundbreaking work taking place at UC Berkeley, using the performing arts to explore current discoveries and discussions that have the power to shape both the future and our understanding of the wider world.

Illuminations draws together a rich and diverse community—loyal Cal Performances patrons, first-time visitors, academics and students, the artists onstage, and members of the wider public—pulling back the curtain to reveal the dynamic relationship between cutting-edge thinking and the world in which we live.

Illuminations features performances inspired by pressing issues and themes of our time. In addition, Illuminations teams with campus departments and disciplines to develop public events that create open—and eye-opening—campus and community-wide conversations.

Join us during the 2020/21 Season as we partner with some of UC Berkeley’s most brilliant minds to shed light on the fascinating subjects of Music and the Mind and Fact or Fiction.

Music and the Mind

We do not “need” music to survive, yet rarely do we meet anyone who claims not to love it. Music has the power to unite, entertain, move, and comfort us. However, our relationship to music can sometimes feel full of mystery: Where does something so abstract and seemingly non-essential for human life get its power? What can listening—an act both simple and complex—teach us about how our brains work? And what is scientific research revealing about the therapeutic power of music to treat longterm degenerative diseases?

This season offers diverse opportunities to explore our deeply human connection with music. Watch the introduction video to learn more.

Fact or Fiction

Does something need to be real to be true? Mark Twain famously said we should never let the truth get in the way of a good story, and arts audiences have long accepted that a compelling performance experience may not be 100% faithful to history. Indeed, a different spin on the details has always played a role in morphing history into mythology and creating legends that amplify the stories of heroes.

Illuminations: Fact or Fiction examines the tension between this “creative license” and what happens when alterations of the truth—even the deliberate dissemination of disinformation—begin to impact our ability to tell fact from fiction, and how this challenge is impacting our world today.

This season invites us to consider the possibilities for making our way through the increasingly fluid landscape of truth and nontruth. Watch the introduction video to learn more.

Fact or Fiction Performance Events
Darcy James Argue’s Real Enemies
Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein
Bang on a Can All-Stars; Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer

Fact or Fiction Beyond the Stage
Fact or Fiction: Disinformation and Freedom of Speech
Illuminations “Fact or Fiction” Talk
Available on demand through May 1, 2021

Fighting the Disinformation Machine: Social Media and the Future of Journalism
Illuminations “Fact or Fiction” Talk
Available on demand through May 10, 2021

My Old Home, A Novel of Exile: Orville Schell and Peter Sellars in Conversation, with Musical Interludes
Illuminations “Fact or Fiction” Talk
Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 6pm (PST)