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Art & Life with AJ Knox

Today we’d like to introduce you to AJ Knox.

AJ, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My personal story starts with accidentally stumbling into drama in high school, and immediately falling in love with it. I then went on to get my Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in theatre. After about 15 years doing theatre outside of San Diego, I moved back to my hometown, where I started a short-lived theatre company before finding my way to New Village Arts, where I serve as the marketing director and Artistic Associate, and where I direct, perform, and design.

New Village Arts’ story began eighteen years ago. Since then, New Village Arts has become the most critically acclaimed theatre in North County San Diego. NVA was founded in April 2001 by graduates of New York’s Actors Studio Drama School and its first full production was seen in November of 2001. BRILLIANT TRACES was staged in the Granary – a converted chicken coop in Carlsbad’s Magee Park – and received Critic’s Choice from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Pat Launer (of KPBS) named New Village Arts “The Most Exciting New Theatre” in San Diego in January 2002.

New Village Arts found a temporary, professional home in the Studio Space at Jazzercise, Inc. In the five years that NVA produced at Jazzercise, they were awarded many major awards for such productions as A LIE OF THE MIND, ORPHANS, THE WAVERLY GALLERY, THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD and NOCTURNE. New Village Arts has become known for their intense, ensemble-driven productions.

Thanks to the support of the City of Carlsbad, NVA has spent the last several years thrilling patrons in Carlsbad Village with musicals, plays, original works, concerts, and much more. The current location of the theatre was built in 1922 as a lumber yard (be sure to check out the gorgeous woodwork) and is one of the oldest buildings in the Village. It now houses a comfortable 99-seat theatre – an intense, intimate way to experience live theatre.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
At New Village Arts, our mission is to create adventurous artistic experiences that awaken the human spirit. Our theatrical productions are provocative, intimate, occasionally experimental, and thought-provoking, as we strive to provide a forum for laughter, discussion, and deeper thinking within our community. We provide a collaborative and inspiring home for performing and visual artists, and we value stories that encompass the diversity and range of experiences within our local community.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
Today it’s easier than ever for artists to get their work seen through social media and other outlets, but it’s hard for theatres to showcase their works in those mediums. In many cases, theatre audiences are not terribly diverse in age, economics, or sociocultural demographics–one thing we are trying to do at NVA is change that. We love our audiences, but we want to also broaden our audience makeup, and make theatre that people of all backgrounds and ages will be excited about seeing, supporting, and participating in. To that end, it is important to all of us that the works we produce come from diverse voices, and that we showcase playwrights, directors, designers, actors, and musicians who bring a variety of backgrounds and experiences with them.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
New Village Arts stages several mainstage shows each year, and the easiest way people can experience our work is to come see our shows–we also offer reduced-price and pay-what-you-can preview performances for all mainstage shows. Ticket sales only make up a percentage of our income, so we also rely on generous donations from patrons, and corporate and community sponsors. Our unofficial motto is “it takes a village” and we believe that our art thrives best with support from our community.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photographer: Daren Scott.

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