Sacrifice Zone: Los Angeles

January 13, 14, 19–21, 26, and 28 | 6:30 pm–9 pm
Add to calendar 2024-01-13 18:30:00 2024-01-13 21:00:00 Sacrifice Zone: Los Angeles–An Immersive Installation and Performance Natural History Museum nhmla America/Los_Angeles public
oil rigs with a train and mountains in the background against a purple and orange sunset


January 13, 14, 19–21, 26, and 28 | 6:30 pm–9 pm
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Natural History Museum
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Free; reservation required.
Parking is $15 in NHM's Car Park.

Sacrifice Zone: Los Angeles (SZLA) is an immersive and interactive environmental justice experience that merges exhibition with live performance. Utilizing multimedia enriched, documentary theatre and film storytelling, SZLA highlights the damaging effects of decades of industrial pollution on South Los Angeles communities.


Los Angeles is home to the largest port complex in the United states (which is also the biggest source of air pollution in the L.A. basin), hosts the largest active urban oil field in the world (with a third of L.A. residents living within a mile of an oil drilling site), and houses countless manufacturing facilities that release toxic chemicals into L.A. County’s air and water every day.

Merging exhibition, performance, and activism, Sacrifice Zone: Los Angeles transforms the Otis Booth Pavilion at the Natural History Museum into a home along the I-710 Corridor in South L.A. that is besieged by health risks from L.A.’s myriad sources of pollution. SZLA’s immersive experience uses community interviews, interactive media, audio soundscapes, and production design to explore the personal health challenges of families living in these “sacrifice zones”—the places in our city devastated by ongoing environmental pollution.

During eight live performances, the exhibit will be brought to life. Audiences will bear witness to a family preparing for their matriarch’s birthday. As the story unfolds, attendees have  the freedom to explore the household in the order of their choosing—going at their own pace—while learning about the issues faced by the communities in these neighborhoods, and what can be done about it.

How to view Sacrifice Zone: Los Angeles


Access to the installation, without the performance, is available daily, to all ticketed NHM visitors from Friday, January 12, through Sunday, January 28, 2024.


For performances, attendees should plan to spend 45–60 minutes in the experience.
Tickets are free, but reservations are required.
Parking is $15 in NHM's Car Park.
Performances run from 6:30 pm–9 pm at 30 minute, timed intervals on the following dates:
Saturday, January 13      
Sunday, January 14
Friday, January 19
Saturday, January 20
Sunday, January 21
Friday, January 26
Sunday, January 28
Other NHM exhibits will not be open for viewing during performances.

Learn more about planning your visit.


Sacrifice Zone: Los Angeles is a collaboration between many members of the South Los Angeles community including: Sylvia Betancourt, Pat Diaz, Hugo Garcia, Eric Kearney, Ashley Lazaro, Teresa Mendoza,  Maria Reyes, and Alicia Rivera.

SZLA was co-created by filmmaker Michael Bodie and playwright Paula Cizmar, the performances are directed by Fran de Leon, with production design by Sibyl Wickersheimer, costume design by Ann Closs-Farley, olfactory design by Dr. Elizabeth Ramsey, and interactive design by Luke Quezada.

SZLA is presented by USC Arts in Action and co-sponsored by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Further collaboration and support was provided by the People Not Pozos Campaign of Esperanza Community Housing, the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, the Institute for Theatre and Social Change at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ division of Media Arts + Practice.

SZLA is made possible with generous funding provided by USC Arts in Action, the MAP Fund, the Arkay Foundation, the USC Equity Research Institute, and the Center for Children’s Environmental Health Research Translation at USC Keck School of Medicine.

The SZLA Cast:

Head and shoulders portrait of Claudia Elmore

Claudia Elmore

Head and shoulders portrait of Xol Gonzalez

Xol Gonzalez

Head and shoulders portrait of David Huynh

David Huynh

Head and shoulders portrait of Ella Lao

Ella Lao

Head and shoulders portrait of Lee Martinez

Lee Martinez

Head and shoulders portrait of Alejandra Villanueva

Alejandra Villanueva

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Claudia Elmore

Xol Gonzalez

David Huynh

Ella Lao

Lee Martinez

Alejandra Villanueva