Polyglot Theater’s ‘Boats’ from the 2019 WOW Festival at Liberty Station.
La Jolla Playhouse has announced several first projects for its 2022 Without Walls (WOW) Festival. The WOW festival will take place April 21-24 at Arts District Liberty Station, home of the Playhouse’s 2019 WOW festival and the Pop-Up WOW event in August 2021.
Like previous WOW festivals, the 2022 event will feature four action-packed days of theatre, dance and music, with over 20 productions from renowned local, national and international artists taking place simultaneously throughout the weekend. The WOW festival creates a cultural and artistic hub in the city, where patrons gather to experience WOW performances, engage in lively discussions about work, and enjoy the many food and beverage options on offer at Liberty Station.
Tickets for WOW Festival productions, ranging from free to $20, go on sale in March. For more information, visit https://lajollaplayhouse.org/wowfestival2022/.
The appetite for WOW has grown tremendously since the program’s inception in 2011 – from audiences and performers alike – and the Playhouse is expanding the program to bring even more of this exciting, interactive work to the community. Beginning in 2022, the Playhouse will annually produce the WOW festival, making it a regular part of the San Diego events calendar for local, national and international audiences.
As a further part of this growth, the Playhouse recently appointed Mia Fiorella to the new position of Director of Experiences and Activations. She will oversee the series Without Walls with Amy Ashton, a Playhouse producer.
“Without Walls has really become part of the core of the Playhouse and it has been a dream of mine to make the WOW Festival an annual event in San Diego. By moving to an annual festival, we are taking another step in making La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego the premier destination for this type of site-inspired, immersive, captivating work,” said Christopher Ashley, Artistic Director of the Rich family of La Jolla Playhouse. .
“I am so pleased that Mia Fiorella is taking on this new role focused on leading the continued evolution of WOW. Her role, alongside festival producer Amy Ashton, gives us the opportunity to meet the growing demand for this uniquely exciting offering.
“This first lineup for our 2022 outing showcases an extraordinary group of artists from San Diego and around the world, including popular past WOW Festival participants such as CORPUS, Polyglot and Blindspot Collective. There will be experiences that appeal to visitors of all ages, and it’s a pleasure to be back at Liberty Station to celebrate our community’s theatrical adventure and rich cultural diversity.”
La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls series has become one of San Diego’s most popular and acclaimed performance programs. Designed to break through the barriers of traditional theater, this signature Playhouse initiative features immersive and site-inspired works that venture beyond the physical boundaries of the Playhouse facilities.
Over the past 10 years, the Playhouse has deployed and showcased this series of immersive, site-inspired and virtual productions across the San Diego community, including eight standalone productions, 14 digital WOW pieces, and four WOW festivals.
The first projects for the WOW festival in 2022 include:
Ants, from Australia-based Polyglot Theater (Boats from WOW Festival 2019; We Built This City from WOW Festival 2013); Ascension, from San Diego Opera; Black Séance, a world premiere by San Diego-based Blindspot Collective (Playhouse’s 2020/21 Resident Theater Company; Pop-Up WOWs when the bubble bursts; Digital WOW’s Walks of Life; 2019 WOW Festival’s Hall Pass); La Bulle, from Toronto-based CORPUS (2015 WOW Festival’s A Flock of Flyers); The Frontera Project, from Mexico-based Tijuana Hace Teatro and New Feet Productions in NYC; Lessons in Temperament, from Canada’s Outside the March; Monuments, by Australian-based artist Craig Walsh; and On Her Shoulders We Stand, by the San Diego-based Tu Yo Theater, plus a conceived piece created by students in the San Diego Unified School District’s 2022 Honors Theater Program.
Additional projects — including works by various art groups at the Arts District Liberty Station — will be announced shortly, along with performance schedules and COVID protocols.
Fiorella joined La Jolla Playhouse’s marketing team in 2011, helping launch the first-ever Without Walls (WOW) show, Susurrus, at the San Diego Botanical Garden, and the inaugural WOW festival in 2013. She also helped launch developing and producing several WOW projects, including Accomplice: San Diego, The Car Plays and Binge, as well as several Digital WOW productions.
In addition, Fiorella worked on the marketing of popular Playhouse shows like Come From Away, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Blueprints to Freedom, Junk and Miss You Like Hell, along with all WOW projects. Her passion is bringing audiences and artists together to share stories, cultures and experiences.
She previously worked as an audience development manager at The Old Globe, and in Chicago as a publicist for John Iltis and Cheryl Lewin Associates and as director of marketing and publicity for The Noble Fool Theater and Trinity Irish Dance Company.
Ashton joined La Jolla Playhouse in 2020 as a production assistant, where she produced several projects last summer, including the Digital WOW series and the Pop-Up WOW event. She was director of Colt Coeur Theater Company for seven seasons, developing and producing eight world premieres, including Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel, and the East Coast premiere of Eureka Day by Jonathan Spector.
She produced site-specific and immersive projects, such as Empire Travel Agency, KPOP and Does It Hurt When I Do This? with Woodshed Collective. She was previously an artistic collaborator with Roundabout Theater and The Civilians. She also produced the 2015 Prototype Festival production of Kansas City Choir Boy, starring Courtney Love and Todd Almond, and the 2017 NYMF production of The Demise.