Offerings for the Fall and Winter begin today

 

There is a moment in What Problem? Bill T. Jones’ newest dance/theater piece (which will have its Los Angeles premiere at CAP UCLA in November), when Bill, his company of dancers, four inspirational singers and 24 local participants achieve a kind of exquisite harmony – 30 plus bodies on stage moving, speaking, singing, all separate individuals who achieve cohesion.

One of the great joys of programming a season is putting these sublime moments in front of our community.

We sit together and are moved; we laugh, ask questions, we are awed.

There are some amazing moments in the months ahead:

  • A Thousand Ways: An Assembly by 600 Highwaymen asks an audience of strangers to create a script, exploring the line between isolation and kinship.
  • The pianist Tigran Hamasyan fuses jazz improvisation with the music of his native Armenia.
  • Cellist Seth Parker Woods and choreographer Roderick George collaborate on Difficult Grace, a dance/music/theater piece exploring migration and belonging.
  • Cécile McLorin Salvant, a composer, visual artist and singer uses her versatile and evocative voice to unearth the connections between vaudeville, blues, global folk traditions, and jazz.
  • We continue our Artist Residency Program with Los Angeles–based artists Dan Froot, Annie Saunders and Edgar Arceneaux, who are each developing highly personal work around family, individual narrative and community.
  • Dancer, choreographer and filmmaker, Eiko Otake is back with us this fall, teaching master classes and developing a new piece that explores how bodies engage with place and landscape.
  • Our K-12 arts education program, Design for Sharing introduces thousands of public-school students to live performance, and Art in Action, our free community engagement program, returns with art-making activities, workshops, master classes, discussions, and collaborations with students and departments across campus.

The theater is a place where we come together and discover each other. There is joy in being together. The act of gathering is an act of hope. We hope you’ll join us, and we look forward to seeing you.

Meryl Friedman and Fred Frumberg, Co-Interim Directors

National Hispanic Heritage Month Sept 15- Oct 15

Check out these events around LA as we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the culture, contributions, and heritage of Hispanic Americans.

  1. LA County Library – Hispanic Heritage Month
  2. National Hispanic Heritage Month
  3. Hispanic Heritage Festival – Inglewood
  4. Aquarium of the Pacific – Baha Splash Cultural Festival
  5. Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration – West Covina
  6. Pasadena Latino Heritage Celebrations
  7. Museum of Latin American Art –  Latinx Heritage Month – Long Beach
  8. East LA Parade Mexican Independence Day Parade & Festival
  9. Abuelita’s Kitchen: Mexican Food Stories 
  10. Pasadena Latino Heritage Parade & Festival
  11. Melancholia – Latino Theater Co. at the LATC
  12. Desert Stories for Lost Girls – Latino Theater Co. at the LATC
  13. Las Marionetas en Desfile (Puppets on Parade)

Dreaming of cooler days

We are dreaming of cooler days as we gear up for our Fall/Winter programs! 

We will return October 1 with nine performances, six programs for K-12 public school students, four artist residencies, as well as a number of special events and behind-the-scenes experiences for CAP UCLA members and supporters. We invite you to learn more about our membership benefits and hope you will consider joining.

We can’t wait to see you and share the experience of live performance.

Opening the season is an interactive theatrical experience that invites an audience of 16 participants (ages 12+) to create a private performance from a shared script. Blurring the lines between spectator and participant, 600 Highwaymen’s A Thousand Ways (Part Three): An Assembly explores how the most intimate gathering can become a profoundly radical encounter.

We are then joined by one of the most influential and revered figures in contemporary music! The Branford Marsalis Quartet will be performing selections from their latest album The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul. This supercharged and energetic evening of jazz is a must-see.

Explore the rest of the lineup and celebrate the art of performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall with new work by some of the most dynamic artists of our time.

Back to school and back to the arts

For decades, the start of the school year has also meant the start of Design for Sharing’s (CAP UCLA’s free K-12 Arts Education program) annual series of performances, workshops and in-class activities. Each year, thousands of K-12 students have the opportunity to be moved by live music, dance or theater with an array of CAP UCLA artists and L.A.-based creators working and teaching within our communities.

With Los Angeles public schools back in session and a new season on the horizon, Design for Sharing is gearing up to get young people back in Royce Hall for the first time since 2020!

The 2022-23 Design for Sharing season launches later this month with artists that share global vision and local roots: L.A.’s own Extra Ancestral and CONTRA-TIEMPO. Featuring multiple percussionists, strings, horns, and powerful ancestral dances, Extra Ancestral will get our upper elementary and middle school crowd moving with Afrobeat, Reggae, Jazz, Salsa, and traditional African musical forms. The following week, activist dance theater company CONTRA-TIEMPO will share their inspiring take on joy as the ultimate act of resistance with our teen audiences.

Later in the season, students will experience performances or workshops with artists like Antonio Sánchez (pictured above with High School band students at his last DFS appearance) Israel Galván, Get Lit! and more.

We know that the arts have the power to unlock our own empathy and creativity, allowing us to learn from each other in meaningful ways. It’s always a privilege to open the doors of our venues to the young people of our city. We’ve been doing it since 1969!

In a few weeks when the first busloads of kids pull up to campus and make their way into Royce Hall, we’ll be meeting them with extra gratitude — for the artists that make time to inspire the next generation, for the educators that make space for the arts, and the supporters that make our work possible.

Find out more about Design for Sharing, and how you can be part of our tradition of sharing. Join DFS supporters at our free community celebration on the Royce Hall Terrace on September 29, featuring al fresco food and drinks, and an interactive performance by CONTRA-TIEMPO.

Work on UCLA Nimoy Theater Progresses as 2023 Opening Nears.

While CAP UCLA has been on our annual programming break this summer, construction on our new theater, the UCLA Nimoy Theater, has been heating up! We’re excited to share an update on the project’s progress.

For those of you who ever attended a movie at The Crest, you’ll recall its distinctive style, created by the Disney designer Joseph Musil.

At the beginning of construction, the much loved murals were de-installed and saved for later re-installation. All of the seats were permanently removed and the theater’s auditorium stripped down to a shell that is being converted to a state-of-the-art space for live performance. Some of the major structural work has now been completed, including:
 

 

Underground Systems for Optimal Sound

A12’-deep trench was dug under the theater’s original floor for the installation of the main ductwork, which will contain all of the theater’s HVAC, electrical and plumbing. Having these systems operate deeply underground will minimize any vibrations and noise, creating optimal performance conditions.

Raked Floors for Optimal Viewing

The Nimoy auditorium will feature fixed seating on a raked floor in the rear and movable seating in the front, allowing for flexibility in configurations (cabaret, dance, etc.) and up to 299 seats.

Preparing the Ceiling and Roof 

The next step in the auditorium is to configure the ceiling for the lighting and sound systems for live performances. A massive scaffolding structure has been set up in the auditorium to allow this work. Once this is done, the fixed seating will be installed and the space will begin to look much more like a theater!

We’ll look forward to sharing more updates and images later this fall, and if you are interested in learning more about our capital campaign to raise the funds for this ambitious project,  please visit cap.ucla.edu/TheNimoy.

Wishing you a happy summer!

We hope you’re enjoying the longer days of summer!

As you might have seen tickets are available for our Fall/Winter season and we can’t wait to see you in person at the performance of your choice.

There is something for everyone so please dig in.

A one-of-a-kind, intimate experience by Obie Award-winning experimental theater duo 600 HighwaymenAntonio Sánchez performing songs from his new album SHIFT (Bad Hombre Vol. 2) along with Thana Alexa, BIGYUKI & Lex Sadler. Singer and composer Cécile McLorin Salvant and the revered Branford Marsalis Quartet.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company’s presentation of What Problem?, the US premiere of Mellizo Doble by experimental flamenco artist Israel Galván and guitarist Niño de Elche.

A multimedia concert tour de force by cellist Seth Parker Wood and sounds from around the world by MVF band and Tigran Hamasyan.

We would love to hear how you are getting your art fix this summer so please take a few moments to share what is inspiring you this summer!

The Nimoy sets new horizon for the arts community

A new era for CAP UCLA is underway as we continue to make significant strides toward the development of the UCLA Nimoy Theater and its inaugural season. Located near the UCLA campus on Westwood Boulevard, The Nimoy is a reimagining of the historic Crest Theater as a flexible, state-of-the-art performance space.

Opening in late March 2023, the intimately-scaled venue is named for artist, actor, director and philanthropist Leonard Nimoy. Shawmut Construction has been working steadily to renovate the venue, which will be equipped with new and green technologies to support the creation and presentation of innovative work. 

The Nimoy will be a home for artists representing a broad diversity of voices, viewpoints, ideas and creative expressions in music, dance, theater, literary arts, digital media arts and collaborative disciplines. The inaugural season will feature a large slate of amazing shows, including new work by the legendary Kronos Quartet, “live documentarian” filmmaker Sam Green, and a collaboration between two essential musical voices of Los Angeles, Quetzal and Perla Batalla. 

Artist-as-energy-worker Daniel Alexander Jones and spoken word poet J. Ivy will play special roles in developing Nimoy programs — both as singular, resonant performers and associate curators inviting emerging and established L.A.-based artists to join the CAP UCLA season. 

The CAP UCLA team is constantly inspired by what this intimate and approachable venue will mean for an emerging generation of artists and their community of supporters. The Nimoy represents an investment in the future of a new generation of arts practitioners and activates a new path forward. As a fully equipped and welcoming home for creative exchange between artists and audiences, The Nimoy will be a place where communities can celebrate and discover together.

We will be updating you on the progress of The Nimoy monthly and we can’t wait to welcome you to our newest home! 

CAP UCLA’s Work on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Continues

Early on in the pandemic, as the world roiled from protests against racism and police violence, CAP UCLA, like many traditionally white-dominated cultural organizations, did some serious soul-searching. Members of CAP UCLA’s staff, in collaboration with colleagues from UCLA’s Theater Management Services, formed an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee to challenge complacency and focus on issues of structural power. They’ve met regularly ever since, working on making CAP UCLA and TMS more inclusive and equitable experiences for both staff and audiences.

As the value statement the EDI committee drafted puts it, “We must empower the historically underrepresented. We must uplift excluded voices. We must resist structural racism. We will commit fiercely to our responsibility to observe, absorb, consider, contemplate, endure, share and engage in this change.”

Much of this change happens backstage, long before the audience enters a theater. But we hope that CAP UCLA’s commitment to this important work is on display in our newly announced Fall/Winter programming. For example, the trouble of even defining “we” is tackled in the new Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company choreographic piece What Problem?, which explores the work of collective redemption and the tensions of belonging. Our programming also includes a diverse array of musicians, such as Grammy Award-winning artists Antonio Sánchez and Cécile McLorin Salvant. We are dedicated to presenting artistic performance that reflects the global, evolving nature of our city.

In a few days it will be Juneteenth, a celebration of the legal emancipation of enslaved Black Americans at the end of the Civil War. But that victory was only a partial one, and the lingering incompleteness of Reconstruction still haunts American politics and society. CAP UCLA hopes that the programs we present and the work that we do can contribute, in some small way, to this long overdue process of social healing.

A Sampling of CAP UCLA’s Upcoming Season

Now that CAP UCLA has returned to in-person programming, in our coming season we’ll be celebrating live performance with new work by some of the most dynamic artists of our time. Below is a sampling of our Fall/Winter season, which will be announced in full on June 8.

Dance aficionados won’t want to miss the U.S. premiere of Mellizo Doble by experimental flamenco artist Israel Galván, a collaboration with singer/guitarist Niño de Elche.  Galván recodifies the physical language of flamenco, incorporating a multiplicity of influences in order to break out of the accumulated sediment of tradition. He will be familiar to longtime CAP UCLA audiences from our streaming channel — we’re excited to have him join us in person! 

Of course, there will be plenty of music in our new season, including three-time Grammy winner and MacArthur Fellowship Award recipient Cécile McLorin Salvant, a composer, singer and visual artist who unearths the connections between vaudeville, blues, theater, jazz, and baroque music. Additionally, we’ll be honoring Royce Hall’s long history of hosting iconic jazz musicians when our stage is graced by the Branford Marsalis Quartet.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to several other Fall/Winter performances, we’re opening a new venue, the UCLA Nimoy Theater, early next year, and will be presenting a large slate of amazing shows, including Kronos Quartet performing the music from their mammoth 50 for the Future project in its entirety. The Nimoy will open with 32 Sounds, an immersive documentary and profound sensory experience from filmmaker Sam Green, which explores the elemental phenomenon of sound. This special screening will feature live narration by Green and original music performed live by JD Samson of Le Tigre.

Public tickets will go on sale on June 21. Subscribers to our enews will get early access to tickets, on June 17. If you’d like access even earlier, consider becoming a member

There’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of CAP UCLA’s future. In whatever capacity you are able, we hope you’ll join us in the season to come.

Thank You For Reminding Us Why We Do This

On March 7, 2020, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance presented Toshi Reagon’s rock opera adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable Of The Sower, a science fiction examination of an overconfident society on the brink of disaster. The work proved prescient when the world shut down days later.

After quickly pivoting into two years of presenting free performances online, we were thrilled to welcome audiences back to in-person performance this March with choreographer Ronald K. Brown’s The Equality of Night and Day: First Glimpse, which reflected on the tumult of the preceding years in challenging popular assumptions of balance, equity, and fairness. The new work received a standing ovation from an appreciative audience.

Although we only had a handful of in-person performances this season, each drew an enthusiastic crowd. Toshi Reagon returned to perform an evening of uplifting music with her band, BIGLovely. The Oscar-winning Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla played songs from across his illustrious career. Violinist Jennifer Koh & bass-baritone Davóne Tines shared their deeply moving exploration of the minority experience, Everything Rises. Pianist Anthony de Mare performed re-imagined versions of the music of Stephen Sondheim. Writer David Sedaris returned to Royce Hall, a stage that he has graced regularly since 1998. Most powerfully, the Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha performed a heartrending show at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, with images of the destruction in their homeland accompanying their “ethno-chaotic” take on their folk traditions.

Each presentation was enhanced with relevant contributions from CAP UCLA’s Education Department and the Student Committee for the Arts, with highlights including live poetry writing, student humorists, a public piano, and a tango class. But what truly made each night of live performance memorable was the passion of you, our audience.

After two years away, being able to watch exceptional artists in spaces shared with hundreds of other people was a reminder of why we do this, a reminder of how these works were intended to be experienced. In each case, the dynamic exchange of energy between performers and audiences was electrifying. For that we want to thank each and every one of you who ventured out to join us. Thanks to you, we’re more excited than ever about our upcoming season, which will be announced next month, and about next year’s grand opening of the intimate UCLA Nimoy Theater.

We couldn’t do this without you, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from all this, it’s that we wouldn’t want to.

Thoughts from the staff of CAP UCLA