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La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival 2024 Guide

Immerse yourself in free outdoor theatre, art, dance, and music April 4–7 at UC San Diego
Without Walls Festival 2015
Photo Credit: Daniel Norwood

Get out. No, really. Leave behind the constraints of screens, stages, and, yes, even walls at La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls (WOW) Festival. This year’s event is the art fest’s seventh iteration (and the second in which every show is 100 percent free).

Attendees will have the chance to experience dozens of fun, fascinating, often family-friendly performances and installations from local and international artists pushing boundaries, asking big questions, and reminding us that art is everywhere. Speaking of—don’t be surprised if you leave with an acting credit. Innovative and immersive, many WOW events tap audiences in as part of the show.

Ready to jump in? Here’s everything you need to know about Without Walls Festival 2024.

What is Without Walls Festival 2024?

WOW is a free performing and visual arts event featuring local and international artists. The festival offers site-specific and interactive performances, installations, and workshops, ranging from plays, musicals, and exhibitions to puppeteering, silent discos, and dance. Think of it as San Diego’s own private, international fringe festival.

Without Walls Festival 2022
Photo Credit: Rich Soublet II

When is Without Walls Festival 2024?

The 2024 WOW Festival takes place April 4–7. The WOW festival is partnering with UC San Diego this year to hold events at three main hubs on campus: the Revelle Plaza, the Epstein Family Amphitheater, and the La Jolla Playhouse (though some events take place at other venues). On Thursday, April 4, events begin at 4 p.m. and run until 8:30 p.m. Friday hours are 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday events occur 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday’s activities run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How do I get tickets to Without Walls Festival 2024?

Though this festival is completely free, some events require or recommend an RSVP. Check out the WOW website to browse the events categorized by “RSVP Required,” “RSVP Recommended,” and “Just Show Up.” Space for some events is limited and reservations may fill up.

"Princess Lockerooo’s The Fabulous Waack Dancers: The Big Show" at WOW 2024
Princess Lockerooo’s The Fabulous Waack Dancers: The Big Show
Courtesy of La Jolla Playhouse

What should I see and be a part of at Without Walls Festival 2024?

With more than 25 different local, national, and international performances and installations to explore, picking what see will be the hardest part of your weekend. Here are some standouts:


Get ready to find yourself following a script on the spot or boogieing with a giant bear. New York City–based artist Drew Peterson brings audiences into the action, inviting them to create a show together as you go.

Beautiful Escape: Emergency Exit

Six actors older than 60 will take to the streets for Beautiful Escape: Emergency Exit, a dance-and-theater experience that explores the anxiety and excitement of aging. The roaming show was first performed in 2010 in France.

Princess Lockerooo’s The Fabulous Waack Dancers: The Big Show

Developed in LA’s hidden gay clubs in the 1970s, waacking came to more mainstream attention on the Black culture–focused music and dance show Soul Train. Princess Lockerooo, a longtime protogé of Soul Train alum Tyrone Proctor, celebrates the art form against a heart-pounding, eclectic soundtrack.


From local theatre company Blindspot Collective (who count collabs with The Old Globe and Diversionary Theatre among their accomplishments) comes iykyk, a youth-led showcase of nine performances at UCSD’s Che Café.

Folding Futures

You’ve heard of space tourism. Now get ready for… time tourism? Audiences become interdimensional travelers in this “extended reality” experience that sends attendees forward into 2064, where you can see—and perhaps shape—the future of earth.

Pigments of Imagination: An Interactive Virtual Reality Composition

This VR-driven production is a continuously accessible ongoing event, beginning April 4 at 5 p.m. and ending April 7 at 8 p.m. The experience utilizes various genres of music—from hip-hop and soul to blues and electronic—to tell the remarkable tale of a child’s trip to the moon.

The Apple Avenue Detective Agency 

This playable performance makes attendees ages 12 and older members of a kids’ detective club. Unleash your inner Nancy Drew and help the inquisitive young investigators solve a meaningful mystery partly inspired by writers Jeff and Andy Crocker’s real-life experiences.

"The Apple Avenue Detective Agency" at WOW 2024
The Apple Avenue Detective Agency
Courtesy of La Jolla Playhouse

Is Without Walls Festival 2024 family-friendly?

Absolutely—though, some events are more appropriate for younger audiences than others. Here are a few must-see performances and installations if you’ve got kids in tow:

Abeba in the Tall Grass

Recently commissioned by the La Jolla Playhouse, Abeba in the Tall Grass follows a fifth-grade horticulturist as she finds ways to coexist—and even connect—with not-so-like-minded students in her beloved urban garden.

Spectrum: Society of Wonder

Kaleidoscopic creatures star in this family-friendly puppet show soundtracked by a San Diego Symphony string quartet. The celestial critters will save the earth and prompt audiences to consider how they can take better care of our shared planet. Arrive early to make a lantern for the show’s set

"Duo" at WOW 2024
Photo Credit: Pixel in Pixel

What should I bring to Without Walls Festival 2024?

We’re finally moving out of rainy season here in San Diego, so expect mid-60s weather and sunny skies during the day, with temps dipping into the 50s at night. Dress in layers, don sunscreen, and bring a jacket to evening performances with the expectation of being outdoors most of the time.

You’ll also want a smartphone and earbuds or headphones on hand, since some events require connecting virtually for the full experience. Pack a portable charger if you plan to be at the fest all day. For some performances, like acrobatic extravaganza Duo, you may want to bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket for comfier seating—see WOW’s FAQ for more specific info on these shows.

Where do I park at Without Walls Festival 2024?

You’ll find plenty of parking structures on UCSD’s campus. The Gilman and South structures are closest to the festival’s venues. Parking passes for the duration of the festival cost $8.40 to $12.40 per day, depending on showtimes.

Save on parking fees (and go the more sustainable route) by taking the Blue Line trolley, which stops just steps from the Epstein Family Amphitheater.

What are the food and drink options at Without Walls Festival 2024?

UC San Diego’s campus dining options will be open during the festival, which means attendees will find themselves spoiled for choice. Grab a bite at more than 15 nearby eateries, including San Diego institutions like Rubio’s and Dirty Birds.

By Amanda Parmele

Amanda Parmele is a third year undergraduate student at UCSD and works at SD Magazine as a Photography/Visual Editing intern. She takes photos for her school newspaper, is a writing mentor, and loves surf photography, though she cannot surf to save her life.

By Danielle Allaire

Danielle is a freelance culture journalist focusing on music, food, wine, hospitality, and arts, and founder-playwright of Yeah No Yeah Theatre company, based in San Diego. Her work has been featured in FLAUNT, Filter Magazine, and San Diego Magazine. Born and raised in Maui, she still loves a good Mai Tai.

By Amelia Rodriguez

Amelia Rodriguez is San Diego Magazine’s Associate Editor. The 2023 winner of the San Diego Press Club's Rising Star Award, she’s covered music, food, arts & culture, fashion, and design for Rolling Stone, Palm Springs Life, and other national and regional publications. After work, you can find her hunting down San Diego’s best pastries and maintaining her three-year Duolingo streak.

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