From an immersive art experience to a choreography workshop, La Jolla Playhouse has evolved into a virtual center catering to creative audiences throughout the world.
Eric Keen-Louie, producing director for the Playhouse, said he and the team knew about a week before the California stay-at-home order was announced that its theater programs would change.
“We quickly pivoted to creating online content shortly after deciding we needed to cancel the remainder of the run of our final 2019/20 season production of ‘Fly’ and our annual gala – about a week before Gov. Newsom’s announcement of the stay-at-home order,” Keen-Louie said. “A week after that announcement, we went live with our first program – ‘LJP Vault,’ which featured videos of Playhouse artists and staff sharing favorite photos, videos and memories. In the weeks following, we presented the first in our digital ‘WOW’ series launched on May 14.”
From there, the Playhouse team has worked its rolodex of renown artists to create digital programs catering to all walks of life. The team has also implemented digital programs to help aspiring, young playwrights, as well as, developing the skills of seasoned professionals.
Keen-Louie said feedback has been positive.
“We have been delighted with the positive feedback as well as the work’s reach well beyond San Diego,” Keen-Louie said. “Just this past weekend, we premiered a one-time-only, 12-hour live-streamed piece by the internationally renowned theater collective Gob Squad in Berlin that reached audiences not only here in the United States, but also Mexico, UK, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Australia, Chile, Portugal, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, China, Sweden, Korea and Switzerland.”
Although the Playhouse isn’t sure when it will reopen to live audiences, the public can expect an assortment of virtual programs in the coming weeks. “Binge” will appear beginning at the end of the week with a one-on-one performance that explores the “solitary experience of binge-watching television shows and transforms it into an opportunity to find comfort in the lives of fictional characters” while “The Wizards of Oakwood Drive” will run mid-July with young artists embarking on a treasure hunt.
“This time has allowed us to experiment with how to flex our muscles digitally to wonderful success,” Keen-Louie said. “While we are eager to bring audiences together live again, we do look forward to maintaining a connection to the national and international audience who are engaging with our work at this time.”
For more information about the La Jolla Playhouse or its programs, go to lajollaplayhouse.org/.
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