Founder CATHY SPIELBERGER CASSETTA              Executive Artistic Director JONATHAN Williams

An Exclusive Interview with Iride Aparicio

SILICON VALLEY, CA. --  On September 10th, Cathy Spielberger Cassetta,founder of The Tabard Theatre Company in San José, was honored by the City of San José, with a commendation in recognition of her 20 years of bringing quality arts programming to the local community, partnering to support other local non profits, and for increasing access to  theatre arts education for the area youth in San José.

Raul Peralez, Member of San José City Council, Representing District 3 gives recognition to Tabard Theatre Company founder Cathy Spielberger Cassetta

During a telephone interview with Cultural World Bilingual several days after the recognition, we asked Cathy, 

C.W.B. With all your years and experience in theatre, how do you describe theatre?  
C.S.C.: "Theatre is a mutual engagement. A conversation between theatre artists, and audience.  Without an audience, there is no theatre. We discovered in the Pandemic how important a live audience is to performers, and how important live theatre is to audiences. Movies are always the same, whether there is an audience, or no audience. The audience in movies is not part of the equation. Not part of the conversation. Not part of the art. Theatre is different. Theatre needs the audience to finish and complete the art.”

C.W.B. What inspired you to create TABARD?  
C.S.C.: "I created TABARD to be a different kind of Theatre Company. TABARD is a company that exists with and for the community. With TABARD, I wanted to provide opportunities for theatre artists to discover and to create art. To provide theatre audiences an opportunity to see a different kinds of theatre. My commitment was to create a theatre that was suitable and appropriate for audiences of all ages.”


"In creating TABARD, I wanted to give back to the community by designating a local non-profit for each production that would receive a portion of our concession proceeds. TABARD was founded in the community, with the community, and for the community. TABARD was never intended to be my playground, my sand box. I created it for other people. I wanted to   break down barriers between ARTISTS and AUDIENCE  — that is why our theatre space is interactive. I also wanted to break down barriers between people groups. I wanted our shows to be able to connect people with each other."

For those unfamiliar with The TABARD Theatre, located on the second floor of a building on 29 N San Pedro Street in downtown S.J we can describe it as a large room with individual arm chairs, facing an open stage, with no curtains and low in height, so that the audience who sits around stage right, and facing stage front, like the audience does in the theatre -in- the- round, actually feels a part of the action.

C.W.B. So, to end our interview, Cathy, How do you feel to have been working for the community for twenty years and finally being recognized by the City of San José, for your work?
C.S.C.:  "It was lovely. A blessing without measure. I am humbled; I am happy because my objective was to make a difference in the community through the arts. To know that it was accomplished is very rewarding. Even more rewarding to me is that TABARD continues. I am grateful that Jonathan Rhys Williams accepted coming on board as TABARD’S Executive Artistic Director. He is doing an amazing job! TABARD continues today because of Jonathan. That is a testimony of the reality that TABARD filled and still fills a need in the community and that the community supports it. I feel deeply blessed, honored, humbled and happy.”