Known as a launching pad for Broadway Shows, developing up-and-coming talent, and a favorite tour stop for established stars, Balboa Park offers rewarding experiences at a host of intimate venues.
Balboa Park is also home to many arts organizations that offer up a wide range of performances throughout the year. From classic Shakespearean plays to avant-garde productions, every season at the park offers new works in addition to traditional offerings.
Considered one of the finest regional theaters in the country, The Old Globe Theatre was built in 1935 as part of the California Pacific International Exposition and was modeled after Shakespeare’s Old Globe in London. Since then, it has been home to some of theater’s most acclaimed actors, designers, directors and playwrights. More than 20 productions produced at The Old Globe have gone on to Broadway and Off Broadway, garnering 13 Tony Awards and numerous nominations. In 1984, the Globe was the recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre for its contribution to the development of the art form. The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions on its three stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of the Globe's internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. The Old Globe’s productions are from all periods and styles, ranging from Shakespeare to an ongoing emphasis on the development and production of new works, along with the annual family musical "Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"
Established in 1991, the Bon Temps Social Club is dedicated to spread the love of Louisiana music and culture. The group offers monthly dances on the second Saturday of the month starting at 7 p.m. at the War Memorial Building, with a free dance lesson for beginners starting forty minutes beforehand.
Dedicated to supporting and promoting dance arts, the Civic Dance Arts program provides year-round performance opportunities to its four performing-level companies and 3,000 recreational level students. Performance highlights include December Nights, spring recitals, Free Night of Theater, and the award-winning Collage dance concert at the park’s Casa del Prado Theater.
Founded in 1948, the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater is the longest continuous running puppet theater in the United States. Puppet performances at the 200-seat theater are presented throughout the year by a variety of troupes, including six rotating resident puppeteers and two associate puppeteers plus occasional guest artists from around the United States.
Founded in 1945, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet has been the resident classical ballet school in Balboa Park for more than 70 years. Offering affordable, year-round, high-quality classes for dancers ages 4 to adult in the park’s beautiful Casa del Prado, the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet presents four major productions on the stage of the historic Casa del Prado Theater each year, including the holiday family tradition, The Nutcracker.
Established in 1948, San Diego Junior Theatre is the oldest youth theatre program in the United States. It boasts high-quality productions throughout the year and offers numerous educational and community programs, including classes in drama, voice, dance, and theatre production for children ages 3 to 18.
The San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory is the 6th oldest continuously operating youth symphony in the United States, and serves more than 600 students annually in 10 ensembles from its home in Balboa Park. Skill levels range from beginner to pre-professional, with participating students ages 8 to 25 and there are open rehearsals for the public to enjoy on many Saturdays.
Donated to the City of San Diego in 1914 for the Panama-California Exposition, the Spreckels Organ is the largest pipe organ in the world, containing more than 5,000 pipes that range in length from the size of a pencil to 32 feet. San Diego is one of only two U.S. cities with a civic organist and recently selected Raúl Prieto Ramírez for this role. He is a world-renowned organist and is scheduled to play as many as 62 free concerts a year, including weekly concerts on Sunday at 2 p.m., with music that ranges from Bach’s Toccata in C to songs from the movie La La Land and the theme to The Pink Panther.
Originally commissioned by the Ford Motor Company for the 1935 California-Pacific Exposition, the Starlight Bowl became one of San Diego’s favorite outdoor arts venues. Closed for the near future, the Save the Starlight organization is a grass-roots effort that is attempting to preserve the theater's history while creating a new and adaptable platform for future events and generations.
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