This special Pop-Up WOW event will take place at ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station, home of the Playhouse’s 2019 WOW Festival, and will feature five short, Playhouse-commissioned projects by WOW artists David I. Reynoso/Optika Moderna (Playhouse’s 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 Resident Artist; WOW Festival’s Las Quinceañeras in 2019 and Waking La Llorona in 2017); Blindspot Collective (Playhouse’s 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 Resident Theatre Company; 2019 WOW Festival’s Hall Pass); and UC San Diego M.F.A. graduate Jesca Prudencio (2019 WOW Festival’s PDA); along with Kenny Ramos (Playhouse 2021/22 Resident Artist) and the San Diego Black Artist Collective. All productions for the Pop-Up WOW event will be free and have multiple performance times throughout the weekend. Full programming and schedules will be announced at a later date.
Blindspot Collective develops radically inclusive programming that cultivates new work, emerging artists, and diverse audiences. The company develops transformative theatre that amplifies marginalized voices, illuminates untold stories, and energizes vulnerable communities in San Diego County. Since its founding in 2017, Blindspot Collective has collaborated with La Jolla Playhouse; The Old Globe; California Center for the Arts, Escondido; Diversionary Theatre; ARTS (A Reason to Survive); UC San Diego and other community partners to develop projects that meaningfully engage audiences and artists in the blindspot of society. The organization centers equity, inclusion, and pressing social issues in its work on and off stage with collaborators that include San Diego Unified School District, Juvenile Court and Community Schools, Cajon Valley Union School District, and Live Well San Diego. Most recently, Blindspot Collective was the first theatre company to be awarded a performing arts residency at the San Diego International Airport, where the organization developed and presented site-specific performances in 2019. The company has received acclaim for its original work, including Hall Pass, an immersive musical featured in the 2019 Without Walls Festival; Qulili, a documentary play based on the stories of local refugees developed with support from the Critical Refugee Studies Collective; The Magic in this Soul, a verbatim play about discrimination and resilience that won the Audience Favorite Award at the 2018 San Diego International Fringe Festival; and Untold, another verbatim play about mental illness that won the Dunn-Rankin Award for New Work at the 2017 San Diego Fringe. The company also develops interactive Forum Theatre for youth audiences, including Safa’s Story and Danny’s Story, which allow young people to consider the complexities of difference and prejudice. Those two productions have been seen by over 12,000 students in the past two years.
Jesca Prudencio is a director, choreographer and community-based artist. She is dedicated to developing new theatrical works that humanize issues and explore the tension between cultures. She focuses on new plays, musicals, film and dance theater in New York, regionally, and internationally. Jesca has developed new work at The Kennedy Center, La Jolla Playhouse, East West Players, The Lark, NAMT, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Space on Ryder Farm, La MaMa, Clubbed Thumb, Joe’s Pub and The Movement Theatre Company. She is the recipient of the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange at the Old Vic, The Drama League Fall Fellowship, and the 2018 Artist-In-Residency at the Performance Project at University Settlement in Manhattan. Jesca is the inaugural recipient of The Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship which supported her travels through Thailand, Japan and The Philippines throughout 2017 as she researched and trained in traditional and contemporary forms of theater in each country. She was recently named a 2021 Woman To Watch on Broadway by the Broadway Women’s Fund. She founded her company People Of Interest in 2014 to focus on new theatrical events that address community specific issues. Most recently, they presented PDA as part of the 2019 La Jolla Playhouse WOW Festival, exploring the relationships of three real couples and how they love out loud. As an educator, Jesca has taught workshops at numerous institutions across the U.S. and Asia. She was the former Education Director at Ping Chong + Company, where she worked as a writer, director, and associate on a dozen interdisciplinary and documentary theater projects across the U.S., including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, BAM and The Smithsonian. Currently the Head of Directing at San Diego State University, she holds a BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch, and an MFA in Directing from UC San Diego.
Kenny Ramos is a theatre artist from the Barona Band of Mission Indians/ Kumeyaay Nation. He grew up on the Barona Indian Reservation and started his theater career locally at the Starlight Bowl and Moonlight Amphitheatre before moving to Los Angeles to attend UCLA, where he earned a degree in American Indian Studies. Kenny is an ensemble member at Cornerstone Theater Company where he is collaborating on a series of community-engaged theater productions that center various tribal nations and communities across the United States. He is a recipient of First Peoples Fund’s Cultural Capital Fellowship, TCG’s Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship, and Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity & Transnational Migration’s 2021 Mellon Arts Practitioner Fellowship. Kenny’s favorite acting credits include the world-premiere productions of Larissa FastHorse’s Urban Rez and Native Nation (Cornerstone), Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Return to Niobrara (Rose Theater Omaha), Vera Starbard’s Devilfish (Perseverance Theatre) and Dillon Chitto’s Bingo Hall (Native Voices at the Autry). He has also performed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center and The Kennedy Center, and he recently received his first play commission from Diversionary Theatre’s Rising Tide Commissioning Program. Kenny is passionate about creating theater that centers Native perspectives, asserts tribal sovereignty, and challenges settler colonial realities of American society.
David I. Reynoso is a scenic/costume designer and the creator, with Optika Moderna, of La Jolla Playhouse’s acclaimed Without Walls Festival productions of Las Quinceañeras (2019) and Waking La Llorona (2017), as well as the 2020 Digital WOW production of Portaleza. Other Playhouse designs include: Queens, At the Old Place, Tiger Style!, Healing Wars, The Darrell Hammond Project and Kingdom City. He is also recognized locally for his designs of The Old Globe’s Ebenezer Scrooge’s Big San Diego Christmas Show, As You Like It, The Tempest, The Wanderers, tokyo fish story, Twelfth Night, Arms and the Man, Water by the Spoonful and Time and the Conways, among others. The Obie Award–winning costume designer of Sleep No More (New York and Shanghai), Mr. Reynoso’s other selected work includes: Hamlet at ACT and Futurity, Cabaret, The Snow Queen, Alice vs. Wonderland at ART. He is the recipient of the Creative Catalyst Grant of The San Diego Foundation, an Elliot Norton Award, a Craig Noel Award nomination and multiple IRNE and BroadwayWorld Award nominations.
In February, 2020, at the invitation of The Old Globe, a group of Black artists gathered to break bread and discuss common interests. In June of that same year, the group formally became The San Diego Black Artist Collective. Although the collective was integral in the formation of local EDI and Anti-Racist policies, the mission of the SDBAC is to act as a resource for the accomplishment of local Black Works. The San Diego Black Artist Collective is a multidisciplinary collective of Artists advocating for Black stories to be seen and heard.
Top banner photo credit: PEREGRINUS by Teatr KTO, part of the 2019 WOW Festival
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