Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Design for Sharing Turns 50

Dear Friends,

I hope that you and yours are holding up alright out there, staying healthy and looking after yourselves. Also, that you are finding moments of positive astonishment, levity and wonder within the gargantuan backdrop of what we are all in together.

I do miss being able to welcome you all at our performances. Admittedly, I was always a bit nervous to take the mic in hand and step momentarily into a pool of light, before the artists took the stage, to share a few thoughts and express our appreciation for your presence. With my nerves now totally realigned, I feel a yearning to return to that mic and see your faces in the audience. Writing will have to suffice for now, but my appreciation for your presence remains immense.

These letters feel akin to clicking off Morse code dispatches in the hope that they will find you and carry meaning once sent off through the internet. When I was a 5th grader, a friend who lived across the street insisted on teaching me the dots and dashes of Morse code in the event I ever needed them during an emergency at sea. To improve my skills there needed to be practice sessions, and these took the form of the two of us using flashlights for sending signals from our bedroom windows each night at precisely 11:00 PM. Spelling anything via the dots (short-flash) and dashes (long-flash) of Morse code made for a lot of gibberish. We would crack up the next day at the bus stop when sharing what we each thought the other had said. We tired of it after a couple of weeks, but given this possible emergency at sea one day, I made certain that I had mastered “S.O.S.” before moving on to other projects. His name was Matt, and he went on to become an accomplished scientist.

There is a great deal of work that UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance does with students, and this newsletter edition is about that work. With every kid in California and beyond unable to go to school in the way they were able to but weeks ago, we have heard ample S.O.S. signals from kids, teachers and parents and so we have put together some things for you from our K-12 program, Design For Sharing. Also, from Art In Action – our program for UCLA students and all who seek new ways of knowing through the arts.

In the spirit of my 5th grade self to yours:
w.e.c.a.n.d.o.t.h.i.s!

—Kristy Edmunds,
Executive and Artistic Director
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance

A Community That Keeps Making

Dear Friends,

I’ve been trying to reconstruct the sequence of what went on behind the scenes over the past three weeks at CAP UCLA. In the widening uncertainty that was changing by the hour with increasing intensity, there were critical signs to listen for and crucial decisions to make. Everything was moving at a monstrous pace that was upending our daily lives, and flummoxing every pattern of continuity in rapid succession. At CAP UCLA we had to pass through the stages of grief at lightning speed and lean directly into an acceptance that we would necessarily postpone everything we worked on for years to manifest with so many artists, managers, producers and collaborators.

While refunding tickets for thousands of audience members, cancelling hotel and flight reservations, sending staff home to identify the holes we would surely encounter working remotely, and fielding calls from our colleagues nationwide ⁠— we also needed to make a hard pivot to focus on the impossible situations that were having an instant impact on performing artists.

Our already fragile performing arts economies were in freefall. In order to best help each other we drew on the resources that we had: our hearts, our wits, our networks and our ideas. And while it is nothing more or less remarkable than what every single person was (and is) uniquely contending with, there is a bit of a ‘silver lining’ moment we want to share with you. Something we managed to pull together before the ‘Safer at Home’ order began. It is something we knew how to do and knew we could make happen with some love and willing effort. And we did it with you in mind.

As news of successive tour cancellations poured in, we linked artists to our contacts in cities around the country. We started the important work of shaping emergency relief efforts (not knowing how fast that need would grow), and we were in contact with artists abroad to relay important information as it was coming to us. Within days, the international ensembles already in the U.S. and en route to Los Angeles were learning that they would be facing quarantine periods upon their return home – Porte Parole returned to Canada and Ladysmith Black Mambazo quickly diverted to Los Angeles where we were able to put them up, practice our newly acquired physical distancing and regroup together before their return to South Africa.

Here is the silver lining part ⁠—

In the short time that Ladysmith Black Mambazo was here, we decided that we would proceed with their concert in Royce Hall. Instead of performing to a live audience of close to 1800 people along with a separate concert for 1500 public school students, as was originally intended, they would instead perform to a 3-person camera crew and a smattering of staff. Royce Hall is 191,000 square feet ⁠— an ample space to keep us under the then required ‘no more than 50 people’ distancing measure in place. The unparalleled work ethic of our technical production team ensured that every aspect of the original production design would happen in full.

That late Monday afternoon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo stood together on the Royce Hall stage in full costume and sang out the wisdom, resilience and harmonies of their incredible music and cultural heritage. They sang to every audience member’s empty seat, to the rafters of Royce, to the crew and to this global moment that we all must meet with shared purpose.

I want to thank Ladysmith, their management, the Royce Hall crew and CAP UCLA staff, the camera operators and editor, the sound engineer, and our incredible collaborators at KCRW.

For all of us who operate from the principled ethic that “the show must go on,” it is more than rhetorical. Every one of us plays a role in the grand collaboration of making the art of the stage come to life for our communities that have found their way to our theaters and concert halls for centuries.

It is how our collective creativity and compassion finds form.

—Kristy Edmunds,
Executive and Artistic Director
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance

Kristy Edmunds on Sharing Perspectives and Staying Connected

Dear Friends,

I don’t presume to conceive of what your experience of this is, but it makes me feel better to try. I have been experiencing every bit of it here at CAP UCLA and at home at a staggering pace, but I also frequently expand outwards to imagine the myriad of individual circumstances that are happening as we collectively face the uncharted territory of this worldwide public health crisis.

Now we find ourselves in a commanding awareness that the most immediate thing we can do is to remain in place, stay connected, strive for continuity, exercise patience, and look after our hands, faces and vital signs. This is the practice of care to which we are called.

All of us at CAP UCLA and Royce Hall look forward to hearing how you are and how we can help where possible. We will be sending out a weekly aggregate of what the arts community and the Center are doing, sharing our knowledge of crucial relief efforts and some things from our amazing staff and the artists who are with us every step of the way.

There are incredible bright spots happening, and important informational resources that we want to get to you. A story here or there, a new playlist from the artists we have the good fortune to know, and ways for us to remain engaged with each other. The days and weeks ahead will not be easy.

We can do it though; together.

Be well, be safe – more soon.

—Kristy Edmunds,
Executive and Artistic Director
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance

Eiko Otake: Residency Snapshot 

Discover how CAP UCLA engages behind the scenes to facilitate artistic development.

 

 

CAP UCLA’s artist residencies provide local and national artists creative time and the necessary space to develop new work. This year CAP UCLA is excited to welcome Eiko Otake back in October 2019 for the second half of her artist residency, which will include a public demonstration or performative element.

 

Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko is a movement–based, interdisciplinary artist. She worked for more than 40 years as half of the internationally acclaimed Eiko & Koma, but since 2014 has been performing her own solo project, A Body in Places. 

 

Eiko’s residency time at CAP UCLA is to develop and create an installment of her ongoing work Duet Project: Distance is Malleable. As a commissioning partner, CAP UCLA is interested in further developing a platform for her extraordinary artistry in Los Angeles. This multi-part creative development period will result in extensive site visits, dialogues and audience development threads in advance of what is anticipated to become a major presentation in season 20-21.

 

Eiko’s first research and residency visit was in April 2019, during which she spent time with local LA artists and went on a roadtrip to visit ecologically sensitive sites. 

 

About her experience, Eiko shares, “With the strong guidance of  CAP UCLA staff and its chief Kristy Edmunds, I was invited to travel widely and deeply recognized that California and its landscape illuminate so many of the problems we are facing both regionally and globally elsewhere. California is bigger than Japan where I come from and so varied. Having worked in the irradiated landscape of Fukushima over 5 visits as an outsider, I wanted to be a careful visitor to both distraught landscapes (Salton Sea, sites of forest fires) as well as ancient landscapes (Death Valley and Sequoia trees) and historical sites (Manzunar).  Some of the landscapes were so inspiring and awe-causing I ended up creating some media work which will be incorporated into a larger scale installation that is new to me.”

 

Throughout her residency, CAP UCLA will present informal works-in-progress of the project and Eiko plans to offer three master classes for UCLA dance students. The impact of residencies can be felt beyond the artists involved, often spurring collaboration, igniting inspiration and spreading nourishing ideas throughout the UCLA student and local creative communities in Los Angeles.

 

Supporters can make a gift directly to CAP UCLA’s Artist in Residence Fund. Each donation, no matter the size, helps to fuel an artist’s practice and provide crucial support and vital resources to works-in-progress which may not otherwise become actualized. These rare and hard to come by offerings to resident-artists are only possible because of generous patrons and dedicated allies who believe in the power of the arts.

 

CAP UCLA would like to acknowledge the generous support of Susan & Leonard Nimoy, Good Works Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for investing in creative development initiatives at the Center. 

 

To invest in new work and provide crucial support for artists, make a gift today! You can also learn more about our residents and explore ways to be involved here.

We Need to Talk About Tina Benko

We are in the final throes of preparation for Desdemona, in its Los Angeles premiere Thursday night.

Thus far, we’ve talked and heard a lot about the creators of this exceptional work of theater, with Toni Morrison receiving the UCLA Medal just yesterday, and Rokia Traore returning to CAP UCLA after a triumphant concert experience last spring.

BENKO_bluphotoDesdemona

It’s time to talk Tina Benko. As the company has come back together over the last few weeks, remounting this work for our stage, we have been overwhelmed by the absolute greatness of this gifted actress.

Morrison’s language is as gently evocative and eloquent as you might assume, Traoré’s powerful ,musical presence and voice provides emotional tethering and texture, but Benko’s performance is what allows us to traverse time and space, to defy the laws of mortality and to experience the richness that is inherent in this quiet, but unmistakably potent piece of theater.

Benko stars as Desdemona, alongside Traoré as Barbary, but there are other characters in this play, other voices, all of whom are embodied and enlivened and shared with us by Tina Benko alone. It is a feat of performance that not just any actor could bear.

Tina is a stage actor who has performed worldwide, and is a consummate and commanding presence. She was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for playing Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in Elfriede Jellinek’s solo play Jackie. She won the Bayfield award for her portrayal of Titania in Julie Taymor’s production of Midsummer Nights Dream at Theatre For a New Audience. Other theatre credits include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s commissioned play Informed Consent, Katori Hall’s Whaddabloodclot!!!, Wallace Shawn’s Marie and Bruce, David Grimm’s Tales From Red Vienna, as well as Not About Nightingales and Irena’s Vow on Broadway. She’s appeared in several hit films and television shows including The Avengers, “The Good Wife,” “Blue Bloods,” “Mysteries of Laura,” “Person of Interest,” “Brotherhood” and “Flesh and Bone.”

In Benko, as Desdemona, worlds collide; Morrison’s words find heightened consanguinity with Traore’s lyrics. Inside this remarkable artist the centuries of ill-fated love between Shakespeare’s tormented Othello and Desdemona alchemize into a new reality, a new truth.

I feel confident in promising that her performance will be a gift we will carry with us long after the curtain has closed. Don’t miss it.

There are a few tickets still available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances.

And then it’s gone.

Join us, and help us applaud Tina Benko.

Ruminations on Creative Coding Lab

Linearity plus Travel Intensity plus Center of Mass plus Gaze equals…

Motion.

Movement.
Specifically…
bodies
in
motion.
in solo improvisation
enacting a written score
responding to visual prompts
navigating an aural landscape
mirroring another body
translating ordinary movements into 3D sculptures.

The final day of our Choreographic Coding Lab: CCL 5 was in many ways about capturing motion.

Motion.  /ˈmōSH(ə)n/ noun. The action or process of moving or being moved.

On Saturday afternoon, about 60 colleagues, friends, and observers moved through the EDA gallery space in the UCLA Broad Arts Center in an informal showing of projects, ideas, hypotheses, investigations and whimsy.  How does the body move – how does the structure of motion capture the intent of the one who is moving?   How does an audience or observer, interpret that intent?  In this final day of the CCL, movement was projected on screens, walls and floors, bodies caught by a thermal camera, a digital paint brush, or a series of lines and dots transmitted via sensors.  MōSH(ə)n.  We are captivated by it. We can’t look away.

One of the participants, also a gymnast, attached some simple Go-Pros and sensor devices to her ankles and wrists.  Jumping on a trampoline, her splits, scissors, rolls and tumbles were rendered digitally on a screen – capturing her flight though space.  We watched a complex web of dots and lines in constant motion, and it was totally clear what she had been doing, how she had been moving.  Her intent was to capture the memory of her movement, so that when she can no longer move that way, a record exists.  “I wanted proof,” she said, “proof that I could do it.  I wanted to see what my body feels.”

Motion. The action or process of moving or being moved.

It was such a thrilling experience to be a part of this week, to watch ideas take shape, change, and assume a different shape. It felt like things were being made, sparks were definitely flying.  As the day came to an end and the projectors were turned off, and the laptops were closed and the extension chords were rolled and the ladders were struck, the EDA space – our home base for the week – regained its old shape. Empty and quiet, but ready for the next wave of motion.

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Gesture = Dance: Ann Carlson @ Creative Coding Labs

LYON 2015-09-16 The Coding Lab 164

Ann Carlson, our intrepid artist in residence and the creator of The Symphonic Body UCLA, joined the participants of the Fifth Creative Coding Labs on Wednesday to talk about her aesthetic, share insight into her approach to movement and explore what she calls “the movement of the movement.” Ann is the architect of a unique dance performance under construction that will be performed by workers from this campus on Nov. 21 in Royce Hall. (Check out videos of the progress of this piece here).

For Ann, the word “gesture” is synonymous with the word “dance.” Much of her work, The Symphonic Body in particular is focused on accumulation and inspiration, on “the aesthetic of the everyday.”

“The movement of the movement is taking a functional gesture of utility and moving it to something more abstract, metaphorical or ripe with symbolism,” she said.

Carlson talked about triggers in her conceptual development as an artist (hearkening back to moments that snapped her attention away from her childhood traditional ballet training). She talked about dismantling conceptions that surround what a dancer should look like and false constructs of what dance language should be comprised of.  She talked about movement as both a memory trigger and memory preserver.

CCL participants got a minimalist sneak peek at The Symphonic Body, with two performers rehearsing segments of the ever-evolving performance work in front of a rapt audience who seemed fascinated not only by the intricate and unique social structure of the project, but by the potential for emotion and self discovery that can be triggered by having an artist observe a person’s everyday movement and physical gesture and then collaborate with that person to manifest a highly personalized and idiosyncratic movement vocabulary based on it. This is what The Symphonic Body is all about.

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It’s interesting to watch Ann’s own gestures as well as they rehearse and create, to witness the gestural language she has developed that will allow her conduct the movement and score the physical symphony.

Her projects and presence seemed to energize the room and play on themes that had already started creeping in to this experimental space.

We’ve been working on this project with Ann for the better part of a year and have been enmeshed in the very UCLA-specific nature of this work, so it was also quite fun to see shades of Symphonic Body in a piece Ann created almost 20 years ago, titled Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore. For this, she shadowed four young lawyers in their daily work lives, then created a dance piece based on their movements, rooting their feet to the floor.

Here’s a look at an early performance in the mid 1980s

 

And the lawyers are still performing it. Here’s a 2007 interpretation of the piece.

“You can dance doing anything,” Ann said, quoting a lecture from Murray Louis that had inspired her as a child.

You can even dance while being a lawyer….

Who knew?

Photos by Calista Lyon

The ‘Artist-Centric’ Motivation

Around here we often use the phrase “artist-centric.”

We are an artist-centric organization.

What exactly does that mean?

There are a couple of things happening this week and in the near future that I think help to shed light on just what that phrase means, with two polar-opposite artist-centric commitments from the Center serving as great examples of the phrase.

First, starting today, is the Fifth Choreographic Coding Lab from Motion Bank, a project that grew out of work with the William Forsythe Company four years ago. It is a gathering of disparate artists/creators, some dancers, some choreographers, some video and graphic designers, some coders, some who dabble in multiples of these things.

Every day this week they will come together in the Experimental Digital Arts Space on the first floor of the Eli and Edythe Broad Arts Center, UCLA.

This gathering represents one extreme end of the artist-centric continuum. These individuals are here simply to collaborate, to explore, to dream, to understand and to inspire each other. There is no projected outcome. There is no performance pressure. Something tangible might come of it,  or even multiple things—some new technology or piece of visual art or movement vocabulary. Or not.  The point is not the end result, the point is creating and harboring a space where artistically inclined individuals can, without restriction or pressure, endeavor to build and traverse rabbit holes of possibility.

We had a casual meet-and-greet with the participants last night. There are a few former UCLA students involved, a few students from other design schools in the city, two coders and video artists from Seattle. Everyone I talked to admitted they were excitedly entering the project with few preconceived notions or thoughts on what will transpire. All are curious and open to whatever comes.

Here’s a quick snapshot of them all sharing space together today:

Bringing Motion Bank to campus has been a work in progress over the course of a year. And as Kristy Edmunds, artistic and executive director of CAP UCLA said last night, the Labs actually do have the potential to have a lasting impact on an art form—dance.

I spoke with Scott DelaHunta, one of the Motion Bank founders who said this will likely be the last Coding Lab for a while as the Motion Bank researchers step back to assess all they have learned and derived from this and previous gatherings. So it is a special thing to be involved in. It also marks our first official collaboration with the incredible Design Media Arts program at UCLA. We have been eager for some time to work with students and faculty in this unique program and Design Media Arts professor Casey Reas is one of the leaders of the Coding Lab.

The Labs have an open door policy. Members of the public can drop in throughout the week from 10 am to 5 pm. Days are loosely structured for maximum creativity but begin with a sort of roundtable discussion with all participants sharing a thought, idea or possible working project. But who knows?

On Saturday all will gather at 4 p.m. to share some final thoughts,  showcase any presentations or new material, and in general just celebrate the art of making.

On the other end of the artist-centric spectrum is our ongoing commitment to a master artist and solo performer—Canadian puppeteer and theater maker Ronnie Burkett.

I vividly recall,  in some of our earliest meetings with Kristy after taking her post here as our leader in 2011, she expressed a desire to greatly increase the visibility of Ronnie in the U.S. He is a beloved and well known creator and performer in his home country and other parts of the world, especially Australia, where Kristy spent four years as curator/director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival. But, he is (was) less known here in the states.

In the 2013-2014 season we gave Ronnie his L.A. debut, with his masterfully dark narrative work Penny Plain. His performances here were met with enthusiastic response from the local theater community, comprised of arts lovers many of whom had never experienced his work, and the local puppetry community, which, we discovered quickly was already rife with avid Ronnie Burkett fans.

The following season, we were all very excited to have Ronnie back on the program, this time for a longer run and with a wildly different work of theater–the raucous and tender variety show titled The Daisy Theatre, created and again performed by a solo Burkett, (with a little help from a few audience members). It is equal parts witty and wicked, naughty and nostalgic and it could only have sprung from Burkett’s mind. The Center is a co-commissioner of The Daisy Theatre and as such we have an ongoing commitment to its success.

The same week The Daisy Theater opened at the Actor’s Gang space in Culver City, artists Willem Dafoe and Mikhail Baryshnikov were in rehearsal for another theater work The Old Woman, which would take place here in Royce Hall over the weekend, concurrent with The Daisy Theatre’s nearby engagement. We took this as an opportunity to introduce Mikhail Baryshnikov to Burkett’s work and to the artist himself.

Kristy Edmunds snapped this Instagram shot of Ronnie showing the performing-arts legend how to move one of the show’s most important and poignant character’s–Schnitzel.

RonnieandBaryshnikov

We are very proud this season to collaborate with the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City as they become home to the New York debut of The Daisy Theatre. Performances open Sept. 30 and run through October 10. Kristy Edmunds will be on hand for opening night to cheer on one of our favorite artists. If you have friends or family in the city, tell them to head to BAC and catch this show. They won’t regret it.

BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov, who sought to build an arts center in New York City that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC’s opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative space for artists from around the world.

This is an important moment in Ronnie’s life as a performer. We’re thrilled and more than a little envious of the New York audiences who will have so many chances to experience The Daisy Theatre.

So, from the experimental confines of a campus collective to the high-concept solo masterwork performed against the glittering lights of the city that never sleeps–we take a moment to revel in our artist-centric nature.

 

 

 

 

‘Desdemona’ Director Peter Sellars Says It’s OK to Fall Asleep

Well, maybe not exactly asleep, but while experiencing  his theater work Desdemona, if you find yourself slipping into a sort of meditative trance, or feel yourself straddling other unearthly worlds and universes…you’re doing it right.

Peter Sellars visited our offices last week to talk about our upcoming performances of Desdemona, a magical and thoughtful re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Othello, written by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison and the magnificent Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré, who performs in the piece with exceptional stage and film actress Tina Benko and an ensemble of Malian musicians. As he reflected on the attitude of this quiet piece, he laughingly recalled a sentiment often expressed in Japanese Noh Theater—“dozing encouraged.”

One of the things Peter very eloquently conveyed to us was the powerful quietness and absolutely intimate nature of this piece of theater.

IMG_5174

“It is one of the most elusive things I have ever put on the stage,” he said. “You do sort of feel like you are starting to fall asleep and dream…your heart rate slows until you are feeling differently and aware of this flowing space between waking and dreaming, and this beautiful work of theater touches the edges of the dream state.”

The physical staging is purposely simple, designed to evoke the feeling of traditional African mourning altars, he said. We enter into this benevolent graveyard to be greeted by the voices of women—songs from Rokia Traoré that defy translation sung softly, eloquent language from Toni Morrison spoken softly and with deep intent.  The technical sound requirements require precision instruments and exacting attention to detail so that every gesture, every sound, every movement from the stage may nurturingly welcome us deeper and deeper into a sense of otherworldliness, Sellars said.

MA_Desdemona_Barbican_12_c.Mark_Allan

The scope and shape of the play itself evolved organically over the course of its creation, Sellars said. There was no initial vision or design that the performers and writers were trying to match. Morrison essentially plucked one line out of the play, one line spoken quietly by Desdemona to the woman her husband was having an affair with, and amplified that one line into an otherworldly experience for us all, one that will change the way we think about the character of Othello, the historically revered man who invented him and the racial and social themes that continue to emanate through our society.

“In this age of big spectacle, what we are doing here is examining how valuable and rich is a single human being, and how many worlds reside within each of us,” Sellars said.

It is ephemerality laced with ephemerality packaged in ephemerality—and these are the trappings of transcendence.

We have a brief shining moment with these words and these exceptional performers. Just four performances in Freud Playhouse, a 500-seat theater. After that, the cast and crew travel to Australia for two festivals and it is not likely the play will be mounted again anytime soon.  Traoré is a rising force in global music and will be focusing on her recording career for the foreseeable future.  She is so integral to the casting, Sellars says she doesn’t see it ever being performed without her.

Be here with us. Let’s take this journey together.

 

Choose Your Own Arts Adventure!

You are in control of your own season experience!
You are in control of your own season experience!

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone who has already subscribed to our upcoming season. We’re currently working on seating order for subscribers and your tickets will be in the mail soon! We are looking forward to a packed calendar of inspiring, provocative and exciting performers from around the world, and it is always great to know we have a cadre of committed arts lovers readying themselves for the season along with us.

Subscriptions to our pre-curated series of Theater, Spoken Word, Jazz, Roots & World, Global Music, Dance, and our special four-night package celebrating Belgian contemporary company Rosas ended last week. But, you can still subscribe to the 2015-2016 season with a self-programmed Create-Your-Own series of five or more events. In fact, you can order a Create-Your-Own series at any point during the season, gathering any five or more upcoming performances.

This choose-your-own-arts-adventure option has by far become our most-popular subscription method over the last several years. It makes sense. As a social media savvy society, we are increasingly able to curate our own experiences with information, pop culture and entertainment. It seems natural that arts lovers would gravitate toward desiring a series of events that will specifically enhance their individual interests. And our programming is eclectic enough that we know you are also likely to be exploring and engaging with new artists and experiences as you build those personalized series.

There are people who might ask– why subscribe to CAP UCLA or to any performing arts program at all?  Why not just buy tickets as the shows approach? We know subscribing to a series in advance definitely entails a certain amount of pre-planning on your personal calendar, self-education/research into artists as well as an initial financial investment—all of which might seem daunting.

But, if you’ve never purchased a subscription to a performing arts program before, consider some of the benefits. For us, and likely for many other organizations, the only discounts on ticket prices happen during the subscription window. For example, our series subscribers (anyone who purchases our pre-curated selections) save 15% off list prices. For our Create-Your-Own option, you save 10%. This adds up to a great deal per ticket, one you won’t get otherwise.

And, ticket fees, which no one loves, but are inevitable and necessary, are lower on a subscription package because you pay one fee for five performances, rather than doling out fees on five or more different purchases throughout the year.

At CAP UCLA subscribing is also your best way to get the best seats in the house. Our venues are not large–Royce Hall is an 1,800 seat theater, Freud Playouse just 500 seats. Prime seats go to first to our returning subscribers who are also philanthropic members of CAP UCLA, then to our repeat series subscribers. By the time individual tickets go on sale every year, there is very limited access to seats front-and-center in any of our venues. So if you’re the kind who loves to see the sweat on a dancer’s brow, or catch every nuance of an actor’s facial expression, or see fingers fly across a keyboard or guitar string, subscribing is your best bet to get that experience.

For us, subscribers are the foundation of success for any given performance. We are proud of the artists we present and we bring them to Los Angeles because we truly believe that there are people here who should witness them. The subscribers who sign on now to be here for a performance up to a year from now, we know are going to bring the kind of energy to this place that will lift us all up.

For those of you who subscribe year after year, we see you. We feel you and we thank you. For those of you who are new subscribers this year, we can’t wait to see what you bring to the program. And for those of you who pick up tickets as the season progresses, we are so appreciative of the support and energy you add to the whole process as the curtain call draws near.

Individual tickets go on sale June 26 at full price. If you see several things you like on our upcoming season, consider taking a chance and Create-Your-Own series now or at any moment before a performance begins.

Regardless of how you get here though, know that we’re extremely happy when you arrive.

Here’s a peek into my arts-addled mind. This is the series I would create if I wasn’t essentially already subscribed to every single performance.

Miranda July: New Society-Because I like earnestly rendered awkwardness and I like  community togetherness and this “social experiment” is poised to provide both.

Kid Koala’s Nufonia Must Fall–While I am an electronic music lover, I’m not super familiar with his DJ work, but I find this combination of electronic sounds, live string instruments and graphics very intriguing. Plus I have a huge soft spot for sweet-looking animated robots.

Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The 20th Century Abridged.–Because I also have a huge soft spot for men in drag.  (Avid re-watcher of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Rocky Horror Picture Show right here).  I caught Taylor in a performance at the Hammer earlier this year and not only is he incredibly glam, but surprisingly tender and with truly legit vocal chops. Can’t wait to see him bedazzle Royce Hall.

Akram Khan and Israel Galvan: Torobaka-I fell in love with Akram Khan’s work when we presented Vertical Road a couple of years ago. It was the same year he created this beautiful piece for the London Olympics opening ceremony, which the U.S. cut out of its broadcast in favor of a Ryan Seacrest interview. I’ve watched this segment many times since then and am looking very much forward to seeing Khan perform in what seems like it will be a very powerful physical dialogue between two dancers and two forms.

An Evening with Anoushka Shankar–I love the sitar and had many chances living in L.A. to see her glorious father perform live, none of which I took. I am remedying that mistake with the next generation.