With the support of the New California Arts Fund (NCAF), The Old Globe’s long-term vision is to be known not only as a creator of world-class theatre, but also a hub for participatory art-making, fostering cross-cultural and intergenerational shared experiences that traverse socioeconomic and geographic boundaries.
The Old Globe, a public institution that receives public funding and stands on public land in the middle of a great public park, feels a deep responsibility to broaden its public service by developing programming accessible to a constituency whose diversity (economic, racial, ethnic, gender, ability, and age) better reflects the demographics of San Diego County.
As a public asset to the community of San Diego, The Old Globe sees its audience as much broader than only those people who fill its seats. The company is focused on serving communities of color and low-income communities, from Iraqi refugees, African American seniors, and Latino families, to veterans, active-duty military, and homeless people of all ethnicities. Globe teaching artists engage and work with individuals and families in a variety of settings, from school auditoriums and churches to military bases and correctional facilities. To truly understand and serve these communities, The Old Globe is partnering with community-based organizations that already have deep roots and long histories.
The company’s successful “Globe for All” tour that brings professional productions of Shakespeare to community venues free of charge is ongoing. But a rich program of new community engagement work is moving the company beyond theatrical presentation. These programs are leveraging the unique assets and resources of the organization to provide workshops on topics ranging from job training to self expression to life skills.
As The Old Globe increased its outreach to communities, it became apparent that demand for its services was overwhelming. The Globe found new audiences at Naval Base San Diego, Veterans Village of San Diego, Malcolm X Library, Las Colinas Women’s Detention and Reentry Facility, Fourth District Seniors Resource Center, and Father Joes’s Villages. Each new partnership helps chip away at the barriers between the diverse communities of San Diego and The Old Globe.
Moving engagement work to the core of the organization has necessitated organizational restructuring, new hires, and a strategic planning process to rearticulate their vision and values. Most notably, the education department has transformed into a new Department of Arts Engagement, whose director is at senior leadership level in the organization. The mission of this new department is to make theater matter to more people and to strengthen the connections between neighbors and the institution. The Globe’s Department of Arts Engagement shares with individuals and families a chance to experience theater, perhaps for the first time. The work opens new doors to creativity through theater-based activities that encourage direct participation in art-making and that engage San Diegans with every level of the institution. The Globe’s Arts Engagement team strives to make the Globe truly accessible to its neighbors through a combination of new and existing programs that are innovative, participatory, and multigenerational. Arts Engagement creates new bonds of community and deepens exiting ones.
The Old Globe is located in the heart of one of the nation’s largest urban parks, San Diego’s Balboa Park, a home it shares with the San Diego Zoo, more than two dozen museums and performance venues, and world renowned public gardens. Its location in the park, which welcomes nearly 10 million visitors each year, is central to how the company is thinking about engaging audiences in its outdoor Copley Plaza with a new creative placemaking initiative. By hosting and co-hosting free events in this outdoor public space, The Old Globe hopes to transform its plaza into a participatory arts venue available to all San Diegans, who will have access to a major theatre company without having to purchase tickets.
October 1, 2015 - October 31, 2018
In many large arts organizations, real and perceived silos emerge over time, separating internal departments and becoming a barrier between the organization and its community. The Old Globe is working to break down those barriers and seeking insights on:
Effective community engagement practices.
Board diversity strategies.
Successful collaborations with small and large, community-based non-profits.