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Amy Ashton talks about producing the WOW Festival

 The sun is shining and it’s the perfect time to go outdoors and see some theatre! The La Jolla Playhouse WOW Festival is back April 21- 24th at the Arts District in Liberty Station. WOW Festival producer Amy Ashton talks about the festival, what to expect from this year’s shows, and what she hopes it inspires in people for the future.

Amy Ashton is the producer of the WOW Festival this year which means she is the best person to describe what this festival comprised of local, national, and International Artists.

“The WOW festival is an exciting and surprising weekend where we leave the confines of our theatres and present ‘outside of the box’ performances. This year’s 24 experiences include theatre, dance, music, and more. There should be something for everyone, whether you’re booking in advance to create an itinerary for the weekend, or if you just want to hunker down at the Hub and enjoy a full day of free public art.”

La Bulle: La Jolla Playhouse’s 2022 WOW Festival production of La Bulle from Canada’s CORPUS; photo by Robert Deleskie.

One of the best parts about this festival is that no matter if you have attended a WOW Festival before or not, there is always something fun and new to experience. A sense of adventure is always appreciated and will help you make the most out of the festival.

“Expect the unexpected! We have everything from life-sized puppets to interact with, environmental dance set in a garden, intimate performances you can only experience with a handful of people, and a show where the actor is contained inside a 3’x3′ box. Audiences should bring their sense of wonder and adventure. The more open you are to explore, the more you’ll get out of the festival.”

TransMythical: La Jolla Playhouse’s 2022 WOW Festival production of TransMythical, from San Diego’s Animal Cracker Conspiracy.

This is the first WOW Festival in person after the pandemic, which Ashton says was a challenge the festival, and all of the participating artists were more than happy to tackle to showcase these works to audiences while making sure everyone feels safe.

“It has certainly been challenging in new ways, as most companies have been dormant, or focusing on how to make work remotely or digitally. But there was so much joy and relief in returning to conversations about what we can make together for in-person audiences. So there are a lot of pieces that have been created just in the time since restrictions started to lift. And pieces that were developed before the pandemic take on new meaning in our new reality. We are still keeping safety and health at the forefront of our planning, more than half of the pieces will be performed outside, and all audiences who attend indoor performances will be asked to show proof of vaccination or a negative test and remain masked.”

The Box Show: La Jolla Playhouse’s 2022 WOW Festival production of The Box Show, from NY-based artist Dominique Salerno.

With such a diverse selection of productions, and the chance to gather together to watch them, this WOW Festival should make for an exciting weekend.

“We have such a variety of work on display at this festival, there isn’t one specific theme. But the universal feeling from artists and audiences alike is the pure thrill of being able to gather together again in person to experience and make art!”

Amy hopes that the festival not only entertains but also inspires people to make art, talk about art, and support theatres and the festivals of the future as well.

“I hope everyone who attends the WOW Festival leaves having seen or experienced something new that will stick with them; something unique you tell your friends about, and when you remember it, you’ll get excited for the next year’s festival!”

How to get Tickets

The WOW Festival from La JollaPLayhouse is running in the Arts District of Liberty Station from April 21st to April 24th. For show details, times, and ticket information go to

Indoor WOW Events

Masks are required. Prior to entering the performance or event space, all guests 5 years and up must show proof of full vaccination, along with a photo ID. You may present your physical vaccination card, a photo of your vaccination card, or a QR code from a medical provider or the State of California’s Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record. Not fully vaccinated guests and children under 5 will need to show proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of performance or event. Acceptable proof of a negative PCR test includes test results with a date or QR code from the provider.

Wristbands will be provided for all patrons who have completed their vaccination/test status checked to allow entry in to multiple productions. However, patrons must secure a new wristband for each day they attend the WOW Festival. WOW wristbands will be issued at performance location check-in for indoor events. You may use the same wristband for any indoor shows you attend on the same day.

Outdoor WOW Events

Masks are optional. No proof of vaccination or negative test is required for outdoor WOW events.

WOW Event Staff

All WOW Event staff are fully vaccinated and boosted. Event staff will wear masks for all indoor events. ​

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