Pageant of the Masters

Pageant of the Masters

The Pageant of the Masters is the Festival of Arts’ crowning jewel and arguably one of the most unique productions in the entire world. It is world-renowned in the artistry and theatrical illusion of living pictures, mini-documentaries that can “tell more of the story.” Each night, at an outdoor amphitheater, during the summer season at 8:30 the Festival of Arts presents this famous attraction.

This year The Big Picture will also add a cinematic spin to its world-class presentation with classic masterpieces that inspired legendary filmmakers. This ninety-minute stage show of “living pictures”—with a professional orchestra, live narration, intricate sets, and sophisticated lighting—is an incredibly faithful art recreations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces.

While the Pageant is theatrical, engaging and imaginative it still honors the sense of tradition and history the Pageant has created during its nearly eight decades. But over the years the Pageant has become more fluid, with seamless transitions often performed in full view of the audience. Other technical advances have provided some of the Pageant’s most memorable moments: In the heat of the summer of 2003, it “snowed” in the Irvine Bowl. And in 2011, giant dragons “breathed fire” and held court. Don’t forget you are not only here to see the art, but also hear it. This Pageant is the only only venue in Orange County that has this sound system, where you feel the sounds in your soul, which only adds to the experience.

Director Challis Davy has maintained a clear vision of what’s fundamentally unchanged during its history; this Pageant is live theatre. “Our very ‘hands on’ way of building tableaux will never change. There is no replacement for the time-consuming, trial-and-error work that is done by the team. Set construction, set painting, making costumes, applying makeup… these tasks are exacting and must be done the old fashioned way. It’s a proverbial labor of love.” Director Challis Davy and her team agree that sometimes magical moments where art and life intersect are possible. That’s why, nearly 80 years later, the Pageant is still in the business of making “living pictures.” Evolutionary, and maybe just a little bit revolutionary.

I know most people think that seeing a show once is enough, but this is a lot to take in and you may want to see it twice. So come stay with us at out Laguna Beach vacation rentals. Relax on our ocean view deck, and reflect on the living pictures you’ve just witnessed.

Performing from July 7th through August 31st at 8:30 pm, at 650 Laguna Canyon Road. For tickets and more information visit