On Stage

Arts and Theatre for All!

By Berto Fernández

It is no secret that San Diego has a rich and vibrant Theatre network that is revered and recognized nationwide. A lot of these local Theatre companies offer extensive community outreach programs that are available for individuals of all ages to participate in. A vast majority of the programs are free of cost, making it a fantastic opportunity to get involved in the Arts and Theatre. Here are just a few of these accessible experiences available to our community.

Diversionary Theatre
Diversionary Theatre offers community engagement programs for San Diego’s LGBTQIA+ population, providing a safe space to explore and create. One of the community sectors that is Diversionary’s focus is Queer youth, who are able to engage with each other while discovering their love for the Arts. These programs are free of charge, and support members of all ages. Some of them are:

The Silver Squad
A series of free diverse theatre classes for the older LGBTQIA+ community.

LGBTQIA+ Teen Playwriting Lab
A free six-week writing workshop for teens with professional Queer playwrights in partnership with Rattlestick Playwrights Theatres.

A free tour of an LGBTQIA+ themed show throughout the San Diego Public School system and beyond.

Student Matinee Series
Free Matinee performance series for San Diego public schools, including a pre and post show in-classroom workshop.

A Free After School theatre training program for elementary and middle schools.

Our free LGBTQIA+ ensemble rehearses and performs a new Queer production on the Mainstage.

Queer Youth Karaoke
At the Clark Cabaret at Diversionary Theatre, on the second Saturday of every month from 5 to 7 PM, and includes pizza, singing, and community.

The Stonewall Salon
Our free LGBTQIA+ ensemble for older adults to write and perform stories from their personal history.

Diversionary Werks!
Drop-in Theater Classes for All Ages Diversionary Werks is a brand-new FREE series of artistic classes for all ages.

CCAE Theatricals
CCAE Theatricals is one of the newest established Theatre companies in San Diego, but it’s been generating a lot of buzz for producing phenomenal work, winning them several awards in a short time span. They also have a commitment to arts development within the community, by creating the Dorris Staples Theatrical Conservatory which offers access to education and experiences in the theatrical arts to all. Creative Youth Development (CYD) is their focus: “A commitment to supporting young people’s stories, ideas, and dreams through creative expression and honoring their lived experiences.”

As part of the CYD program, the company created a camp in partnership with the Escondido Union School District’s Expanded Learning Program to provide 2nd to 4th graders an introduction to storytelling and self-expression. Camp ¡Exprésate! is a fantastic way to welcome children to the world of the Arts, as they engage with other kids and develop their own sense of self-identity and confidence. Kids get guidance through acting, singing, and design classes to share their stories and life inspiration.

On top of the conservatory, the company has apprenticeship and internship opportunities to work in their mainstage productions, marketing, education, and company management. CCAE also provides Masterclasses with local and national artists to share their knowledge of the artform to a new generation of creative individuals.

The Old Globe Theatre
Established in 1937, The Old Globe Theatre has become one of the nation’s leading Theatre companies, working with renowned artists, directors, musicians, and playwrights from all over the world. As part of their mission, accessibility of the artform is at the forefront, providing opportunities to the San Diego community to experience Theatre, engage in all facets of it, and help their creativity blossom. “Making Theatre matter to more people.”

The Globe has an array of programs to choose from; here are just a few:

Free programs created to broaden our concept of audience, include communities across San Diego County, and increase access to Balboa Park.

Behind the Curtain
Offers participants a hands-on chance to explore the magic of creating a theatrical production. One-offs include the Spanish version Detrás del Telón and Behind the Curtain: Art of Protest.

A collaborative art-making process between community members and artists, turning stories into theatre and developing both artists and new work.

Community Voices
A series of free workshops dedicated to the process of creating short plays by adult residents of San Diego County in and for their communities. 

Creative Youth Studio
A weekly webcast that presents insightful interviews with youth and experts from all facets of the industry, fun activities, and opportunities to get more involved in the community.

Globe for All
A tour of a free Shakespeare production that also includes workshops and talkbacks, reaching thousands of people.

Globe Learning
Provides professional development opportunities to our local theatre community of actors, directors, teaching artists, and educators, connecting them with visiting artists from our production season, strengthening the community network of theatre makers, and supporting and advancing participants’ skills in theatre making, engagement, and performance.

Globe to Go
Offers distance learning lesson plans free to educators, classroom teachers, and homeschool parents looking for introductory theatre and Shakespeare lessons to try at home.

Summer Shakespeare Studio
Participants develop their artistic muscles and a personal relationship to Shakespeare’s writings. They create original material and engage physically with dance, movement, and stage combat. Vocal and music classes are also part of the curriculum.

La Jolla Playhouse
Nationally acclaimed Theatre company, La Jolla Playhouse, is another major organization focused on bringing the Arts to the community through their accessible programs. Known for their pre-Broadway innovative productions, as well as the popular WOW Festival, The Playhouse continues to make a mark in the theatrical world of San Diego. A few of the programs they offer to the community are:

Performance Outreach Program (POP)
(POP) Tour is an annual world-premiere, Playhouse-commissioned production that brings the magic of theatre to San Diego classrooms. Launched in 1987, the POP Tour can be accessed by schools, libraries and community centers. Additionally, to this tour has in-school programs that partner with school districts to bring professional theatre educators to the classroom.

Playhouse Teen Council (PTC​)
An advocacy and advisory group involving creative and dynamic high school students throughout San Diego County who demonstrate strong leadership qualities and a passion for theatre. 

Veterans Playwriting Workshop
An 8-week writing program that gives veterans, those on active duty, military spouses and national interpreters, the opportunity to develop their playwriting skills.

Arts, Music, and Theatre are a crucial part of our development as emotional human beings. Take advantage of these fantastic programs with your friends and family, as we build a stronger sense of community in our rich and diverse city of San Diego.