Without Walls (WOW)

About Without Walls (WOW)

The Playhouse’s Without Walls (WOW) program is a dizzying array of interactive and site-inspired theatre that attracts energetic art lovers, thrill seekers and families. Full of diverse offerings, WOW shows have one thing in common – they are an invitation to rethink theatre in intriguing and playful experiences.

Many WOW performances take place outside the confines of a theatre and in unusual or unexpected locations. Past hit shows have occurred in the backseat of a car, on a basketball court and even emerging from the ocean at La Jolla Shores beach. WOW audiences can expect to be part of the action. You might find yourself getting down in an impromptu dance party or taking a stroll through a lush botanical garden as your WOW experience unfolds.

For the past eight years, the Playhouse has offered one or more WOW programs a year, plus a biennial Without Walls Festival. The celebrated WOW Festival is four days of adventures that feature local and international artists in vibrant, interactive experiences that amplify the energy of the city.

We welcome you to discover San Diego in new ways with memorable WOW performances in which the city is the stage, and you are both participant and performer.

» Click here to learn about WOW Festival 2019

Critical Praise for WOW

“Bold, extreme theater”


“La Jolla Playhouse’s festival charms with its site-specific and roaming works”

–Los Angeles Times

“The city is the stage.”

–San Diego Magazine

“You’re part of the experience. What you do matters.”

–The Rich Family Artistic Director Christopher Ashley in The Wall Street Journal

“Coolest thing happening in town.”

–San Diego CityBeat

“When theatre is this memorable and fun, who needs air conditioning or gloves?”

–American Theatre Magazine

Past WOW Productions

Past WOW Productions

What Happens Next

A Without Walls Production, in association with Cornerstone Theater Company
By Naomi Iizuka
Directed by Michael John Garcés
April 19 – 29, 2018; Challenged Athletes Foundation

Without Walls (WOW) Festival 2017

Performance Dates: October 19 – 22, 2017
Click here to visit the WOW 2017 website
Click here to download WOW 2017 program (PDF)
Click here to download WOW 2017 press kit (PDF)

The Bitter Game

A Without Walls Production, in association with Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation
Written and performed by Keith Wallace
Directed by Deborah Stein
October 4 – 9, 2016; Writerz Blok

Without Walls (WoW) Festival 2015

Performance Dates: October 9 – 11, 2015
Click here to visit the WOW 2015 website
Click here for WoW production credits

Healing Wars

Conceived, directed and choreographed by Liz Lerman
Director and choreographer Liz Lerman is a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow and founder of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.
Performance Dates: September 29 – October 25, 2015; Mandell Weiss Forum
Centerpiece of the 2015 Without Walls Festival (Oct 9-11)

The Grift at the Lafayette

Conceived, Written and Directed by Tom Salamon
Performance Dates: January 27 – March 22, 2015

El Henry

A Without Walls Production, in association with San Diego REPertory Theatre
By Herbert Siguenza
Adapted from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1
Directed by Sam Woodhouse
Performance Dates: June 14 – June 29, 2014; SILO in Makers Quarter, 753 15th Street

Without Walls (WoW) Festival 2013

Performance Dates: October 3 – 6, 2013
Click here to visit the WOW 2013 website
Click here for WoW production credits

Accomplice: San Diego

A Without Walls Production
Written by Tom Salamon and Betsy Salamon-Sufott
Directed by Tom Salamon
Performance Dates: March 26 – July 7, 2013

Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir

A Without Walls Production
Written by Keith Bunin
Directed by Mark Rucker
Performance Dates: September 24 – October 10, 2012; Martini’s Above Fourth

The Car Plays: San Diego

A Without Walls Production
Conceived by Paul Stein
Performance Dates: February 23 – March 11, 2012; La Jolla Playhouse parking lot


A Without Walls Production
Written by David Leddy
Performance Dates: September 16 – October 23, 2011; San Diego Botanical Garden

Photo credit: Model Home by Mimi Lien, part of the 2017 Without Walls Festival. Photo by Renee Cascia Photography.

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