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For the Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company, participating in this years Without Wall’s Festival by La Jolla Playhouse, was an easy decision. After all, with as a San Diego theatre company dedicated to joyful play and a human connection, what’s more fun than a festival that encourages creative storytelling in a location that is as close as their backyard?

Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company was founded in 2015 by Artistic Director Francis Gercke and Executive Director Jessica John Gercke, with Producing Director Anthony Methvin. They have produced everything from plays, musicals, and world premier productions, so this festival seems like a great fit. The show called WRITTEN IN STONE, is made up of five new 10-minute plays staged in the Stone Brewing’sLiberty Station Bistro and Gardens.

Artistic Director Francis Gercke had a moment to chat about the how they became a part of the festival and also what to expect during this arts packed weekend in Liberty Station.

What excited you about being a part of the WOW festival this year?

WOW is such a unique event in San Diego featuring local and international artists. And La Jolla Playhouse is, well, La Jolla Playhouse! To be associated with this company and this event is truly a privilege and an honor. And it’s wonderfully terrifying. Without Walls – site specific theatrical experiences – is something we’ve always admired and in the last several years Anthony, Jessica, and I have brainstormed how we might be able to develop and produce an event akin to WOW. And then we were approached by Jacole Kitchen and Teresa Sapien and provided an opportunity to collaborate with the Playhouse on this year’s WOW Festival. We had to leap at the chance.

Made up of multiple plays, by small audience groups, Gercke is excited for this unique performance experience for both the audience and the performers.

The Playhouse commissioned 5 up and coming playwrights to pen original work inspired by their personal experiences, their experiences in San Diego, and/or the experience of Stone Brewery and Liberty Station. Each is wholly unique which is central to the fun of everything WOW. A great way to describe the WRITTEN IN STONE experience is “And now for something completely different….”

Some people may be intimidated by the idea of multiple plays within a performance, executed multiple times a day over the course of the weekend. Instead Gercke feels like this sounds like a fun challenge.

That’s part of the fun. It’s a completely live event. We have been guided and have planned meticulously so that we can anticipate the mechanics of WRITTEN IN STONE. But there are certain things that we won’t know until we are in the various environments where the plays are actually performed. “Keep Calm and Act On”

The hope is that at the end of the performances Gercke hopes the audience will leave having had a enjoyable time and want to experience more.

We hope they’ve had a whole bunch of fun; the chance to laugh, to be stimulated intellectually, and a desire to take in everything else at the WOW Festival. It’s hopefully going to be like getting off an amusement park ride – the thrill of the experience makes you want to give it another whirl or take your chances on another attraction.

WRITTEN IN STONE by Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company will be playing through Sunday, October 20th at Liberty Station for the La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls festival. For more information or show time please go to

For more information on Backyard renaissance you can find their next season information at

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