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Phone: (707) 643-7819
For grades: 3-12
Requirements for live visit: $100 travel fee beyond 100 miles from Vallejo, CA. $150 beyond 200 miles.
Fees for live visit: single performance - $725; two back-to-back performances - $795


Living History Theater »

Impressive. The best show I've seen in 16 years of teaching! Great content humorously presented with music, props and stories. I've never seen my class so attentive. It shows your skill as performers. And the set was so visually interesting, too. You had them enthralled. We'd love to book you again!
--- Teacher, Woodland Prairie School

COYOTE TALES from many tribal traditions are skillfully woven into a hilarious and haunting tapestry of Native American mythology by actor/scholars Michael and Renee Oakes, who is of Cherokee descent. Student and teacher volunteers help re-enact these edu-taining parables about self-esteem, environmental stewardship, tolerance, and kindness.


For Native Americans throughout the West Coyote stories are a favorite. This trickster and transformer is the ultimate anti-hero, teaching painfully funny lessons on how not to behave. Coyote is an irresistible model of our human foibles of pride and self-importance. In the words of a Chemehuevis elder, "We follow Coyote because he embodies all the human traits: laziness and frantic exertion; foolishness and skillful planning; selfishness and concern for others. He is the incomplete and the imperfect. Coyote has fun, and it is fun to hear about him and his exploits."


This collection of stories is drawn from the oral history of many tribes including Miwok, Pima, Okanogan, Crow, Karok, Caddo and more. Using beautiful costumes, masks and music we transport the audience to a mythical time when animals could talk, and humans could understand. The show includes a 15 minute pre-show rehearsal for eight students, and a useful Study Guide.


More Award-Winning Shows
To see a full description of other shows in our repertoire, click any of the links below, or visit


Scripted Shows

  • Coyote Tales (grades K-12)
    Mythical tales of 'the trickster' from many tribal traditions.
  • From Colonies to Country (grades K-12)
    A colonial quilt of diaries, documents, letters, and songs.
  • I Have A Dream: Dr. King & The Civil Rights Movement (grades K-12)
    A rousing musical history of the man and the movement.
  • A Christmas Carol (grades K-12)
    Dickens' literary classic comes to life with carols and student actor parts.
  • Ancient Greece and Rome (grades 3-12)
    The contributions of these cultural Titans are explored in an interactive show with evocative sets, classical costumes, a Greek game show, and a Roman Rap!
  • The Complete Condensed History of California (grades 3-12)
    An inspiring and hilarious whirlwind tour de force of history, including Native Californians, Explorers, Missions, the Gold Rush, African American '49ers, Asian immigrants, the Great Quake, Beats, Hippies, and dot-com-ers. Whew!
  • In the Wake of Gold (grades 3-12)
    A maritime voyage through Gold Rush California, with links to science, U.S., & World history.

Chautauqua Interactive Living-History Portrayals

  • The Call of the Wild: the Life of Jack London  (grades 3-12)
    A dynamic portrayal of this revolutionary writer.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci: Renaissance Man (grades 3-12)
    Renaissance Italy through the eyes of the Master.
  • Muir of the Mountains (grades K-12)
    The inspiring adventures of the 'Father of our National Parks.’
  • Shakespeare: Live! (grades 3-12)
    An entertaining and accessible portrait of the 'Prince of Players.’
  • Edgar Allen Poe (grades 3-12)
    Combines details of Poe's tragic life with passionate passages from his poems and prose to exhume America’s most haunting author.
  • John Steinbeck (grades 3-12)
    Selected readings and personal anecdotes bring to life this seminal American author of The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, and East of Eden.


Grade Level: All shows can be performed appropriately for grades 3-6, or 7-12. Shows marked K-12 are also suitable for lower grades.


Format: Our living history shows have one of two formats: scripted, or un-scripted chautauqua. The scripted shows weave together many historic characters. Each chautauqua is an interactive visit with a major historical figure.


Show Length: Shows can be tailored to run from 35-60 minutes, with 45 minutes most common. We love to do Q & A sessions if you schedule extra time.

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Live Oakes Educational Theater is dedicated to combining rigorous research with acting expertise to bring history to life. Since 1994 our mission has been to inspire our audiences with stories from the past that can make a difference for the future. We have a large repertoire of award-winning shows. We are seasoned professional actor/scholars, who research and write our own shows; we pride ourselves on really knowing our subjects. We have performed at Historical Societies, National and State Historic Parks, Museums, libraries, conferences, universities, theaters, Big Reads, and schools throughout the U.S.


Artistic Director Michael Oakes has been acting, directing, and teaching drama for over twenty-five years. He graduated from Stuyvesant H.S. in N.Y., earned his B.S. and M.S. at the University of Wisconsin, and trained at A.C.T. As a member of Actor's Equity, he performs with professional theatres, and tours his own shows throughout the country. His award-winning screenplay, DA VINCI'S DREAMS is being considered by Dreamworks, Warners, and Disney.


Our Managing Producer and Musical Director, Renee Oakes, is a classically trained soprano, a leading North Bay actress, and Musical Director. She is soprano section leader and frequent soloist with the Grammy nominated Pacific Mozart Ensemble, with which she has performed with Bobby McFerrin and recorded original works by Dave Brubeck. Ms. Oakes enhances our productions with women's history and traditional songs that touch the spirit.


2012 Hollywood Outreach Program Winner


Interpretive History Merit Award - California Historical Society


Global 500 Award - UNESCO

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