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WoW Festival Projects and Artists/Companies

Meiyin Wang

Meiyin Wang (Festival Director) most recently served as Co-Director of Under the Radar Festival (UTR) and Director of the Devised Theater Initiative at The Public Theater in New York. Since 2005, the 12-day UTR festival has been a catalyst in discovering new performance in the US and around the world. Artists have included Reggie Watts, 600 Highwaymen, Toshiki Okada, Belarus Free Theatre, Back to Back Theater, and Guillermo Calderon. In 2013, she led the creation of the Devised Theater Initiative, a program that enhances UTR’s year-round programmatic structure by serving as an incubator for independently-produced work. She was the 2015 curator of the Artist in Residence series of New York’s critically-heralded Park Avenue Armory and the lead curator of Arts Emerson’s TNT Festival 2012. She is currently the creative producer for the opera Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon, and Pig Iron Theater Company’s A Period of Animate Existence. She is also a Mellon Foundation Creative Research Fellow at the University of Washington. Wang holds a B.A in Political Science and Theater Studies from Yale and an M.F.A. in Directing from Columbia.

Gob Squad - Super Night Shot

Gob Squad’s Super Night Shot is a unique multi-screen movie which is shown only once. Filming begins exactly one hour before the audience arrive at the theatre when Gob Squad take to the city streets, cameras rolling. The city streets are turned into a film set where cigarette butts, graffiti and cars serve as props and facades and the local people become potential lovers, liberators or friends. This is the movie of their lives, their chance to shine. Super Night Shot is a magical journey through the night time streets of San Diego. Full of unexpected surprises, the public become co-stars in a movie that celebrates unplanned meetings with strangers, serendipity and chance. Anything can happen – each show is as totally unique as the city in which it is filmed and the people who inhabit it. Following its highly acclaimed premiere in Berlin, Super Night Shot continues to wage its war on anonymity in various cities all over the world with over 250 shows on six continents.

Gob Squad has been devising, directing and performing together since 1994, working where theatre meets art, media and real life. Always on the hunt for beauty amidst the mundane, they place their work at the heart of urban life: in houses, shops, underground stations, car parks, hotels or directly on the street, as well as in theatres and galleries. Motivated by a desire to elevate the everyday and empower audience members to step beyond their traditional role as passive spectators, Gob Squad set up often absurdly utopian scenarios where meaningful collective experience and genuine encounters involving passers-by and audience members are suddenly possible. Audiences might be asked to dance, sing, play guitar in a band, play the part of a lover or liberator in a semi-improvised film, or be asked to explain the complexities of the world to an unknown future. Or they might just simply be asked to sit and bear witness to the organized chaos unfolding on stage before them. For 20 years, Gob Squad have been searching for new ways to combine media and performance, producing stage shows, video installations, radio plays, interactive live films and urban interventions. They try to scratch beneath the shiny, pixelated surface of the 21st century, seeking out the dark corners and hidden desires of contemporary culture. Gob Squad was founded in 1994, whilst its members were still at Nottingham Trent and Giessen universities. Berlin has been the group’s creative home since 1999. Core members are Johanna Freiburg, Sean Patten, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Bastian Trost and Simon Will.

Mimi Lien

Model Home is an urban intervention/installation situated in downtown San Diego, anchored by a large construction crane hoisting a brightly colored, archetypal house, high up in the air. At once incongruous and familiar, the performative installation reflects the shifting infrastructure of a changing city, and asks, what makes a home?

Mimi Lien is a designer of sets/environments for theater, dance, and opera. Arriving at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. She was named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow, and is the first set designer ever to achieve this distinction. Lien is a company member of Pig Iron Theatre Company, resident designer at BalletTech, and co-founder of JACK, a performance/art space in Brooklyn. Selected work includes Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway; Tony Award, Lortel Award, 2013 Hewes Design Award), John (Signature Theatre, 2016 Hewes Design Award), Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum, LA Drama Critics Circle Award), Preludes, The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), An Octoroon (Soho Rep/TFANA, Drama Desk and Lortel nominations), Black Mountain Songs (BAM Next Wave). Her stage designs have been exhibited in the Prague Quadrennial in 2011 and 2015, and her sculptures were featured in the exhibition, LANDSCAPES OF QUARANTINE, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Lien is a recipient of the Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity at Lincoln Center Theater, Lucille Lortel Award, American Theatre Wing Hewes Design Award, LA Drama Critics Circle Award, Barrymore Award, and an OBIE Award for sustained excellence.

Sledgehammer Theatre

Under Construction: An American Masque by Charles L. Mee is set within a contemporary banqueting hall, where spectators will be served a light repast while immersed within a collage of America today — scenes and songs and dances inspired by Norman Rockwell of the fifties, and scenes and songs and dances inspired by the installation artist whose work most resonates in today’s culture of socio-political corruption and moral degradation, Jason Rhoades. Rockwell and Rhoades juxtaposed side by side—then and now, the fifties and the present, the red states and the blue states, where we grew up and where we live today, a piece that is, like America, permanently under construction. Following their exuberant and muscular production of Mee’s Heaven on Earth at the 2015 WoW Festival, Under Construction will be conceived, directed and designed by the same core artistic team, consisting of Sledgehammer Founding Artists Scott Feldsher and Robert Brill (Feldsher will direct, Brill will design) and will be produced in association with the UC San Diego Department of Theatre & Dance, where Brill serves as Professor of Scenic Design.

Thirty years ago a group of ambitious UC San Diego undergraduates set about to make their mark on theater creating their first show in a canyon near Geisel Library, and a company designed to “sledgehammer” existing theatre. Moving to the warehouse district of pre- Redevelopment downtown, they were quickly dubbed the “Bad Boys of Sledgehammer Theatre” in a 1998 American Theatre magazine cover story, making a national reputation for bold settings of classic works, new plays and multi-media installations. Collaboration among multidisciplinary artists is a core artistic value, with most productions featuring original musical scores and collaboration with visual and movement artists. The company has created over 70 productions, almost 30 world premieres, performed in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and operated St. Cecilia’s Theatre (6th Avenue Playhouse) for over 10 years, providing a creative home for other local and emerging companies. More at

So Say We All

So Say We All’s Sex, Drugs, and Copenhagen showcases the voices of military veteran writers and their true stories related to the coping mechanisms they depended on, both in the service and while re-acclimating to civilian life. A rare opportunity to hear about the relationships and habits they formed, at the risk of their careers but to preserve their mental health, the newest offering by the So Say We All Veteran Writers Division will surprise audiences and confound stereotypes related to service members, hilarious and poignant all at once.

Founded in 2009, So Say We All (SSWA) is a literary and performing arts non-profit organization whose mission is to help people tell their stories, and tell them better, through three core priorities: publishing, performance, and education. In addition to programs made available to the public, SSWA offers education outreach programs specifically targeting communities who have been talked about disproportionately more than heard from in mainstream media. The biggest hurdle for someone with a story that needs to be told is knowing where to begin. So Say We All’s purpose is to answer that need, to be a resource that listens to all facets of its community regardless of the volume at which they speak.

New Childrens Museum

The Quest 3.0, developed in collaboration between La Jolla Playhouse and The New Children’s Museum, is an interactive family adventure that challenges participants to gather clues as they embark on a great adventure—exploring artifacts, engaging in clandestine meetings and solving peculiar puzzles—in order to discover a surprising truth. Help the Society of Creative Thinkers solve this dilemma. Open your eyes to the world around you where anything—or anyone—might be a clue. Make your plans now to embark on The Quest 3.0. Everyone is guaranteed to have a fun time! Oh, and remember: hints may be hidden in plain sight.

Trisha Brown Dance Company

In planning since before Trisha Brown’s death earlier this year, ArtPower is proud to present a unique iteration of In Plain Site, a site-specific work created for the UC San Diego campus by Trisha Brown Dance Company (TBDC). The company will adapt Brown’s signature works around the campus, honoring her commitment to the presentation of performances in nontraditional venues, a format she helped pioneer. Trisha Brown was an iconic American choreographer and cofounder of postmodern dance. She formed TBDC in 1970, and the company has toured her work throughout the world. She was a recipient of awards from the MacArthur Foundation, U.S. Artists, the Dorothy & Lillian Gish Prize, and the National Medal of the Arts, among many others. Brown engaged collaborators who are themselves leaders in music, theater, and the visual arts, including visual artists Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, and Elizabeth Murray, and musicians Laurie Anderson, John Cage, and Alvin Curran, just to name a few. With these partners, she created exceptionally varied works that have been staples in the dance world for decades.