Kingdom in Residence

In a first for The Old Globe, the full production of Kingdom was performed both at Lincoln High School Center for the Arts in southeastern San Diego and at the Old Globe Theatre. Performances at Lincoln High were scheduled during the school day so that all of the students could experience Kingdom. Over 2,100 students, representing almost the entire student population at Lincoln High, attended four student matinee performances free of charge. Additionally, Globe teaching artists conducted pre-show workshops in 84 classrooms to prepare students for the production. While some students were able to meet with the playwright and creative team after school to discuss the production, the Globe also provided study guides for the teachers to use in guiding post-show class discussions and activities. The four weekend performances at Lincoln High School were open to the public, with over 1,600 attendees. The show moved to the Old Globe Theatre with an additional six performances. Over 2,600 people attended the performances at the Globe, including City and County officials, school administrators, and students.

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In developing Kingdom, the Globe reached out to numerous community organizations, including local law enforcement. Officers from the San Diego Police Department’s Gang Unit attended rehearsals and provided feedback on their experiences on the streets of San Diego. Officers also took the playwright, composer, and actors on “ride-alongs” throughout southeastern San Diego, giving them a better understanding of gang issues facing these communities.

An exciting partnership was formed with Writerz Blok, a non-profit graffiti arts studio supported by the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. Artists from Writerz Blok worked with Globe Associate Designer Sean Fanning and other technical staff at The Old Globe Technical Center to create an authentic physical production for Kingdom.

Playwright Aaron Jafferis served as artist-in-residence at Globe partner schools and helped train Globe teaching artists. Students learned about the creation and performance of hip-hop theatre and were encouraged to respond to the themes of power, family, community and survival in Kingdom by creating their own theatrical work.

In addition to providing in-class workshops, playwright Aaron Jafferis led a nine-session residency at Lincoln High for a group of twenty students selected by school officials. Students created their own short theatre piece, which was performed in Lincoln High School Center for the Arts’ black box theatre for an audience of fellow students.

Later in 2009, ReVision Theatre’s Kingdom Gang Symposium brought together adults and youth from various communities impacted by gangs for a focused dialogue which resulted in the creation of new alliances in peace-driven youth work. Panelists included a local high school principal, police chief, education specialist, detective, Boys & Girls Club Gang Prevention Director, hip hop artist, ReVision dramaturg, Kingdom’s writer and director, and conflict-resolution facilitators from Where Peace Lives.

Kingdom residency quotes

“Thank you for bringing Kingdom not only to the Globe but also to an underserved neighborhood in Southeastern San Diego at Lincoln High School, where nearly every Lincoln High student had an opportunity to experience this extraordinary new hip-hop/rock musical. Kingdom exemplifies the power of the arts to inspire a deeper understanding of the forces that have driven so many young people to join gangs, use drugs and engage in senseless violence against one another.”
– Victoria L. Hamilton, Executive Director, Commission for Arts and Culture, City of San Diego

“Last night’s performance of Kingdom at Lincoln High School set the bar for what the arts can do for the community. Using an articulate and exceedingly well-performed theatre vehicle, you addressed real community issues AND you did this in a setting and with encouragement to allow the community to participate in the dialogue. Knowing of the trauma that the community has suffered in recent months, it was very moving to hear the audience discuss the gang issues raised by the play. It does not get any better than this.”
– Peter K. Ellsworth, President, The Legler Benbough Foundation

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  • “Creative riches explode from one small, claustrophobic space in ‘Stuck Elevator,’ the extraordinary musical that... pack[s] an epic’s worth of inspired music and inspirational content, performances and design... A vibrant opera-musical theater hybrid with a story both personally compelling and eye-opening.” – San Francisco Chronicle
  • About Aaron

    Aaron Jafferis is a hip hop poet and playwright. Read his bio, his CV, or contact him.