The revitalized drama program at El Cerrito High School will change the seasons next weekend with its production of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at the ECHS Performing Arts Center at 540 Ashbury Ave. and tickets are $10 adults and $5 students at the door.
The performances are a milestone for theater teacher Jennifer Dreyfus and the drama department as the first full-length student production at the school's state-of-the-art theater since it opened in 2009.
The theater has been popular for nonschool performances and events, but campus productions have been limited as ECHS and parents have worked to rebuild the school's drama program.
Supporters of the Theater Arts, a sponsored nonprofit committee of the school's Student Activity Fund, has been established to assist the program, raising funds and coordinating resources from the community.
"Community businesses have provided program sponsorships and donation of goods and materials, neighbors donated items for costumes and props during last year's citywide garage sale," writes school parent Karen Shebek, and the nearby Contra Costa Civic Theatre has also consistently provided support.
An ongoing fundraising effort is the sale of bags of Gaucho Coffee, a special roast by ECHS alum Mike McLaughlin, and gift "Spotlight on El Cerrito" coffee mugs. Both are available at the Adorn & Flourish
Tax deductible donations are also welcome and can be sent to Supporters of the Theater Arts, 3060 El Cerrito Plaza, #507, El Cerrito, CA 94530
WEST COUNTY NOTES: JoEllen Mancuso, a resident at El Cerrito Royale assisted living community, has an exhibit of her art on display through Dec. 1 at Zaver & Mor Jewelry Gallery, 2111-E Vine St. in Berkeley.
"The Early Works of JoEllen Mancuso" are pastel, watercolor and ink works from the 1990s to 2001 by the largely self-taught artist who went to night school at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Mancuso, who also plays and composes music for the piano, is again taking art classes at El Cerrito Royale with instructor Joan Finton.
Post-lighting refreshments will follow at the DeWitt Gallery, 121 Park Place.