La Jolla and San Diego Opera Receive Irvine Grants

By: Aug. 11, 2006
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La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Opera have been announced as recipients of two generous, newly instituted grants from The James Irvine Foundation.

The two San Diego arts institutions were awarded grants from the new Artistic Innovation Fund with the goal of increasing the premier organizations' innovation in artistic programming, customer relations and organizational management.  $700,000 went to La Jolla Playhouse to develop a production and audience development model for new theatre work; San Diego Opera received $600,000 to engage new audiences and deepen the participation of traditional opera attendees through relationship marketing and enhanced theatricality.

"La Jolla Playhouse is deeply honored to be the recipient of this prestigious grant," remarked La Jolla Playhouse's Managing Director Steven B. Libman.  "The funding will allow us to focus efforts on attracting a new audience through the creation of innovative theatre.  We are extremely grateful to the Irvine Foundation for this opportunity to enhance these essential programs."

"Through our Page To Stage New Play Development Program, we have learned that many of our audiences have developed an appetite for adventurous new work," added Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Shirley Fishman. "This grant from the Irvine Foundation will allow the Playhouse to broaden the scope of the new work we produce in collaboration with artists who are taking theatre in new directions, and share this bold and dynamic work with our audiences."

The two companies will be further entwined next April 2007 when Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Des McAnuff makes his opera directing debut with San Diego Opera's production of Wozzeck. Alban Berg's psychological drama opens as the fourth opera of San Diego Opera's 2007 International Season on Saturday, April 14, 2007 for four performances at the Civic Theatre.

"One of Ian Campbell's great strengths is his ability to match people and projects," comments McAnuff. "Wozzeck is my favorite 20th-century opera — and very high on my list of operas in general."

The $2.4 million production will also feature striking high-tech sets by accomplished University of California, San Diego grad and La Jolla Playhouse alum Robert Brill, who is currently at work on McAnuff's re-imagining of The Wiz, debuting in September 2006 at the Playhouse.

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