In 2019 Max and Alika officially took the helm as Co-Artistic Directors at the Dragon to rebuild and reimagine the company not only as a theatre producing a season of plays, but as a vibrant community hub which connects artists and audiences across a wide range of demographics and can respond dynamically to the needs of our local community. Justine Bechler joined the Dragon as the Education Director to continue growing our offerings for adult theatre students, as well as create a year-round youth education program under the brand of Redwood City Youth Theatre.
In 2019, we continued to produce our season of plays but reimagined some old projects and developed some new ones.2nd Stages became Dragon’s Nest, an incubator for artists and artistic projects, focused on centering those which don’t fit into the overwhelmingly white, privileged ‘emerging artist’ pipelines elsewhere in our industry. As part of Dragon’s Nest, we developed new collaborations.
We partnered with Fuse Theatre to create Redwood City Play Festival, which launched with Gender Shorts featuring three plays exploring gender issues from three different gender perspectives, and events like live music, art installations and social justice discussions across downtown Redwood City.
We joined forces with Sedric Drake to produce a monthly late night stand up comedy showcase of hilarious, and diverse local talent. We also developed Dragon Experience Design Lab which manifested itself first as a companion piece to the play in our season Shoggoths on the Veldt by Cameron McNary: The Riggstone Chronicles – a narratively driven escape room housed in our classroom which explored the universe and backstory of Shoggoths on the Veldt. Dragon Experience Design Lab also explored storytelling through the combined use of Virtual Reality technology and live actors, and the use of projection mapping in production of circus shows, plays and to create magical environments for parties.
In January 2020 Max and Alika, together with long-time Managing Director, Kimberly Wadycki, launched a plan to fully transition the Dragon into its new form by 2023. They also worked with local designer Maggie Ziomek to roll out new branding and, along with the support of Dragon’s Board of Directors, voted to adopt our current mission.