The Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s multi-theater complex serves as the Joshua Tree National Park gateway communities’ primary source for hi-quality theatrical performances and education. For over 50 years, the Cultural Center’s award-winning Hi-Desert Playhouse division has provided the area’s best in professional, community, and youth theater productions. From HBO or New York Drama Desk award-winning playwrights trying-out new staged readings or full-scale theatrical works with Tony Award-winning actors, to the performances of a large community cast bringing to life the classic Wizard of Oz, to a powerful youth theater production of Disney’s The Lion King Jr., or the original avante-garde spoken word monologues and performances of eclectic desert artisans – the Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s professionally staged productions and state-of-the-art venues are YOUR theaters of choice.
First Fridays! Reader’s Theater Series
In addition to the main productions, the HDCC’s inaugural “First Fridays! Reader’s Theater Series” is accepting proposals from directors to bring their talents to our stage with cutting-edge drama and comedy, American classics, what’s hot from Broadway and original scripts, all to be performed script-in-hand. With only three rehearsals and one performance for each production, this exciting series gives playwrights, directors, actors and audiences the opportunity to experience live theater focusing on the words. A question and answer session with the directors and actors will follow each performance. The readings will take place on the first Fridays of select months.
About the Center
The Hi-Desert Cultural Center is a many-faceted, multi-venue facility for performing and visual arts. It is the largest arts organization in the region and is a fully-compliant not-for-profit organization registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) entity incorporated in the State of California and located in the city of Joshua Tree in San Bernardino County. The Center and its facilities are not government owned or subsidized.
The Hi-Desert Cultural Center was started by retired actors, directors, and producers from Hollywood and first began serving the cultural needs of its surrounding communities in 1964. In 1967, the Center was officially incorporated as a not-for-profit under the name Hi-Desert Playhouse Guild, Inc. and by 1980 construction on its main theater building was completed. The Center rapidly became a cultural icon and landmark for the area, drawing visitors from throughout southern California. The Center then added a second theater and rehearsal hall to accommodate the growing needs of the area.
The Center’s art complex contains its main 300-400+ seat theater, which will re-open this coming season after extensive renovations, and its 100-200+ seat Blak Box Theater located in its Palmer Performance Hall.
The mission and purpose of the Hi-Desert Cultural Center is to operate a Cultural Center that provides venues, support facilities, funding, promotion, leadership, organization, innovation, education, and other resources for programs and productions whose focus is on the aesthetic arts – including the dramatic, musical, visual, and other forms of artistic expression. The Cultural Center also unifies and coordinates community cultural activities in these fields of art for the local area known as the Morongo Basin Division of the San Bernardino Municipal Court District. The Center will also serve as a center for innovative learning and recreational music-making programs (including wellness programs) for the Western United States.
The Center’s programs currently provide at least 78,050 hours per year of service to an astonishing 6,900 individuals – 95% of whom are from its primary geographic service areas including the communities of Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, and Twentynine Palms and also serves the Coachella Valley, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
The Hi-Desert Cultural Center has been experiencing exponential growth the last few years due to its new offerings and leadership that is placing the Cultural Center as a foremost leader in innovation and creativity. In addition to producing original, award-winning entertainment and serving as a performance venue for prominent media, the Center places great significance on education and community collaborations. Its pioneering inter-generational community orchestra has caught national attention for its innovative approach to music making that allows participants of many skill levels to play music together. Additionally, the Center became the first such organization to create a collaboration with the YAMAHA Music and Wellness Institute and the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center in order to introduce state-of-the-art technologies that enable two performing arts centers in two different locations throughout the world to experience live, interactive master-classes and concerts in real time.
The Center is expanding its strategic coalition-building and, with REMO Drums’ HealthRHYTHMS programs and the Hi-Desert Medical Center, has implemented scientifically-proven programs that use arts to target youth-at-risk and help them to become thriving members of our community that finish their current schooling and continue on to higher education. These programs also have helped treat patients recovering from a variety of ailments. Additionally, utilizing our leading-edge technologies, the Center is developing itself into not just the area’s first true Arts Academy, but an online arts center for the western United States. It has now also served Midland, PA, and New York City, NY but also soon the Conservatory of the Plains in Texas – the Center will continue to stretch its influence around the world as the power of the internet realizes no physical boundaries.
The Center possesses valuable, unencumbered assets well over a million dollars and unlike many other performing arts venues, the Center owns its real property, improvements, and other assets and is not straddled with debt. Therefore it is able to expand immediately according to its plan rather than be forced to first work its way out of a financial hole or fund the acquisition of substantial start-up assets.
A DESERT ICON
The Center’s location brings with it a unique set of attributes – all of which serve to enhance the Center’s viability. It is located at the entrance and in the center of the artistically rich communities surrounding Joshua Tree National Park. The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times have recently called Joshua Tree the “new Bohemia” and “mecca” for the arts. The Joshua Tree National Park attracts over 1.4 million visitors a year, all of which must pass by the Center. In addition, the Morongo Basin is home to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center – the largest armed forces base in the world.
HI-DESERT CULTURAL CENTER has achieved the coveted “Gold“ status from GuideStar for its exceptional transparency & compliancy—fewer than 0.1% of the 1.8 million non-profits ever achieve this status. The Cultural Center is the only arts organization in the region to have achieved this status.