Arts + Culture

UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance expands into downtown Los Angeles

In the coming season, CAP UCLA will present a dozen performances at the Theatre at Ace Hotel

Theater at the Ace Hotel
Mireyah Marcinek

CAP UCLA and the Ace Hotel are a natural partnership.

UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance will team up with the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for the center’s 2017–2018 season, which launches in September. Conceived and curated under the direction of Kristy Edmunds, artistic and executive director of CAP UCLA, the season will showcase maverick work with a downtown vibe, presented in the heart of an increasingly vibrant city hub where artists and art-lovers regularly connect.

“This alliance has sympatico written all over it,” Edmunds said. “We have been able to forge a collaboration that has shared aims around community cause and unfettered creativity. We have a passion for connecting people, and for being a creative home for the ever-adventurous artists of our time.”

The CAP UCLA collaboration with the Ace Hotel stems from a creative relationship between Edmunds and the Ace Hotel founders that dates back to the late 90s. All parties share deep ties to the Pacific Northwest, and a desire to build an ethos of support for contemporary artists. In Los Angeles, Edmunds and the Ace have embarked on a long-term alliance that melds their sensibilities, serves contemporary performance and brings UCLA’s creative footprint into downtown Los Angeles.

“Frankly it is a bit like finding your sibling after being separated at birth, who went off into dizzying heights of success,” Edmunds said. “And to find they are as inspired by what you are doing as you are by what they are doing. It’s like ‘getting the band back together’ in some ways, and then figuring out what the set list is going to be.”

The Theatre at Ace Hotel will host a variety of CAP UCLA performances in the forthcoming season including “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening in conversation with Lynda Berry creator of the underground comic “Ernie Pook’s Comeek.” The duo will discuss their 40 years of friendship and the trials and tribulations of being funny for a living. Also part of the Ace series are two critically acclaimed multimedia performances — “In My Mind” by jazz pianist Jason Moran and a recent work from internationally celebrated avant-garde composer and light-and-sound-installation artist Ryoji Ikeda.

Taylor Mac performing out in the middle of the audience in a darkened theater
Courtesy of Taylor Mac
Taylor Mac

Taylor Mac, the 2017 recipient of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, will present his original, multi-night music theater extravaganza, “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music,” which was commissioned in part by CAP UCLA. Mac will harness his unique style aesthetic to design an unrepeatable performance specific to the Ace Hotel.

“We’ve been cross-pollinating and sharing paths and friendships with the folks at CAP UCLA for years now, from Seattle to Portland to L.A. As we’ve grown, we’ve each built these thriving communities of creatives between us,” said Kelly Sawdon, partner and chief brand officer, Ace Hotel/Atelier Ace. “Kristy and CAP UCLA’s mission has always been about providing a supportive space for artists, and Ace has been welcoming musicians and friends to stay with us since we first open in Seattle in the 90s. This partnership and melding of minds coming together feels like a natural fit — we’re excited to see what new territories we cross together.”

The Theatre at Ace Hotel is an iconic performance site in downtown Los Angeles. The 1,600-seat Spanish-Gothic venue was restored as a cathedral to the arts and church of past radicals, complete with a three-story grand lobby, ornate balcony and a vaulted ceiling adorned with thousands of mirrors that illuminate the space.

This collaboration will also allow CAP UCLA and the Ace to support special projects, artists and audiences in downtown Los Angeles.

“I could not be more thrilled by this new, synergistic collaboration between CAP UCLA and the Theater at Ace Hotel,” said David Roussève, interim dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. “The arts are essential to humanity — so to be able to expand the artistic vision and voice that CAP UCLA brings to life each year through its inspired and innovative programming to new audiences and engage even more deeply with the broader cultural ecosystem of Los Angeles is very exciting.”

The full CAP UCLA season will be announced May 4 and includes the full range of performances at both the Theatre at Ace Hotel and Royce Hall on campus, in addition to other locations. Individual tickets for all events will be available beginning July 17. For additional information, please visit or

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