Liberty Station will transform into an immersive theater playground in October as La Jolla Playhouse's bi-annual Without Walls Festival takes over the space for a long weekend.
The fourth iteration of the WoW festival, running from Oct. 17 to 20, brings artists from across the world to San Diego to create interactive theater. Half of the productions will be completely free to the audience.
WoW Festival Director Teresa Sapien wanted to bring in performances that could inhabit the space in different ways, from performances in the street to experiences confined to smaller spaces.
"We started looking for projects that could inhabit that space in different ways, from exciting art that can happen in the street and people could just happen upon it to more tucked away immersive experiences that felt confined to the home within the greater liberty station area," Sapien said.
Audiences can expect to find a large variety of theater and performance art when they visit Liberty Station: from a site-specific version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by the San Diego Ballet to a space where adults and children navigate their boats to safety (put on by Australia's Polyglot Theatre), there's something for everyone of all ages.
Though there's no theme, many of the pieces are inspired by current events as well, Sapien said.
"There's several pieces that have to do with migration, belonging, and that's just what the artists are inspired by," she said.
No matter the piece, Sapien said, there's one big difference between these performances and the usual La Jolla Playhouse productions: the WoW Festival works need an audience in order to happen.
"They're one-on-one experiences that happen between the audience member and an actor," Sapien said. "There's a real coming together of audience and artist, which is really specific for this kind of art form, and not typical to the art, even, that the La Jolla Playhouse usually does."
Sapien said she hopes the festival brings people together, whether they intentionally come down to the festival or happen to stumble upon it, and allows them to spend quality time with their family and loved ones.
"All of these shows, you could see it with a best friend, with a spouse, with an entire family. There's a lot of age ranges and types of shows," she said. "Hopefully people will break out and see some art with people that are important to them."
By placing the festival in a popular gathering spot for San Diegans, Sapien said, she hopes people come by and start to see places they may see every day in a different way.
"That's one of the joys of WOW programming," Sapien said. "Being able to use nooks and crannies of the everyday world as a space for art."
The Without Walls Festival runs from Thursday, Oct. 17 to Sunday, Oct. 20 at Liberty Station.