What is the Latina/o Theatre Commons?
The Latina/o Theatre Commons (LTC) is a growing network, a forward-thinking movement, and a digital workspace made up of passionate, articulate, driven Latina/o theatre makers and scholars from across the country. The LTC is a self-organized collective who have chosen to adopt a commons-based approach to advocate for Latina/o theatre as a vital, significant presence in the not-for-profit theatre sector. We foster emergent national leadership through an organic organizing method of activating our existing networks and expanding our circles of connection. We cultivate our collective wisdom through conscious conversation and conscientious community. The four tenets of the Latina/o Theatre Commons are Advocacy, Convening/Networking, Art-making, and Scholarship, and all that we do seeks to celebrate diverse connections, honor our past with reflection, and envision our future with optimism and enthusiasm. Infrastructure for the LTC is provided by HowlRound: A Center for the Theatre Commons, based at Emerson College.
To download a September 2014 LTC Info Sheet in a .pdf, click here.
How did the Latina/o Theatre Commons form?
A group of eight Latina/o theatre makers came together in May 2012 led by Karen Zacarías, under the auspices of HowlRound, and the idea for the Latina/o Theatre Commons was born. That group of eight partnered with HowlRound and other Latina/o theatre communities from around the country and created a dedicated steering committee of over thirty practitioners who worked together to produce the Latina/o Theatre Commons National Convening, which was held in October 2013 at Emerson College in Boston. The National Convening was an incredible experience for all involved, and the LTC self-determined to continue the collective going and began looking ahead to future projects.
The Latina/o Theatre Commons National Convening (was) an extraordinary start to what we hope will be the first of many ongoing conversations about the vibrant, multifaceted and culturally diverse field of U.S. Latina/o theater at the start of the 21st century. —Anne García-Romero, Assistant Professor of Theatre, University of Notre Dame
After the 2013 National Convening in Boston, the LTC Steering Committee grew to almost fifty practitioners passionately working on initiatives all over the country. The Steering Committee decided in early 2014 to hire a Producer, and with the help of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, was able to hire their first Producer in June 2014. With the addition of full time staff member, the LTC will be able to reach their goals of promoting the breadth of Latina/o theatre across the nation and re-imagining the American dramatic narrative.
Who are we right now?
Steering Committee 2.0 (2014-2015)
Abel Lopez | Gala Theatre
Abigail Vega | LTC Producer & Teatro Luna
Alex Meda | Teatro Luna
Amparo Garcia-Crow | Independent Artist
Anne Garcia-Romero | Playwright/Scholar, Notre Dame
Anthony Rodriguez | Aurora Theatre Company
Armando Huipe | REDCAT & LTA/LA
Beatriz Rizk | Teatro Avante/Scholar
Bernardo Solano | Playwright & California State Polytechnic University
Beto O’Byrne | Playwright, Radical Evolution/Theatre Communications Group
Brian Herrera | Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University
Chantal Rodriguez | Los Angeles Theater Center/Scholar
Daniel Jaquez | Freelance Director
David Lozano | Cara Mia Theatre Company
Georgina Escobar | Playwright
Irma Mayorga | Playwright/Scholar, Dartmouth College
Jesus Reyes | East LA Rep
Jose Carrasquillo | Freelance Director
Jose Luis Valenzuela | Los Angeles Theater Center/Latino Theater Company/UCLA
Juliette Carrillo | Freelance Director
Karen Zacarias | Playwright
Kinan Valdez | El Teatro Campesino
Laurie Woolery | Director/Producer
Lisa Portes | Director, DePaul University
Marc David Pinate | Borderlands Theatre
Mario Ernesto Sanchez | Teatro Avante/Intnl Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami
Marisela Orta | Playwright
Marissa Chibas | Duende CalArts
Mark Valdez | Network of Ensemble Theaters
Olga Sanchez | Milagro
Regina Garcia | Scenic Designer
Rich Perez | Hope College & Chicago Dramatists
Rose Cano | eSe Teatro
Sandra Delgado | Teatro Vista, Collaboraction
Sandra Islas | Latino Producers Action Network
Teresa Marrero | TANTO/University of North Texas, Dallas
Tiffany Ana Lopez | LTA LA & UC Riverside, CA
Tiffany Vega | HI-ARTS
Tlaloc Rivas | Director, University of Iowa
Tony Garcia | Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center
(The first LTC Steering and Advisory Committees served from 2012-2013. Download the list of members here.)
What projects does the Latina/o Theatre Commons currently support?
The 2014 LTC National Convening at the LATC 2014 Encuentro: A National Latina/o Theatre Festival
The Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC), in association with the LTC, will present the 2014 LATC Encuentro, October 12-November 10, 2014. Encuentro translates to “an encounter,” a theme that is a core component of this groundbreaking festival, which is also the largest national Latina/o theatre festival in over twenty-five years. The Encuentro will explore the multi-faceted Latina/o experience on stage by featuring Pulitzer Prize winning plays, English and Spanish language productions, devised theater, experimental work, ensemble-based, and solo shows. In addition to presenting their work to the public, artists will work together during the month-long residency sharing creative methodologies in artistic workshops that will culminate in a public performance of the co-created new works. On the final weekend of the Encuentro, the LTC Steering Committee will gather in Los Angeles to attend the performances, engage in discussions about art-making and aesthetics, and attend the first in-person LTC Steering Committee 2.0 meeting. Through these five days of convening, the LTC Steering Committee will seek an answer to the core question of the Encuentro itself: What is the state of Latina/o Theater today?
The 2014 LATC Encuentro is being produced "in association" with the Latina/o Theatre Commons. The LTC espouses four major tenets, which also reflect the ways in which we are supporting the Encuentro:
Art-Making - The Latina/o Theatre Commons served on the Selection Committee to aid the Latino Theater Company and the LATC in choosing the companies and programming for the 2014 LATC Encuentro. Members of the Latina/o Theatre Commons Steering Committee formed the Selection Committee, and traveled to Los Angeles in April 2014 to select the companies from a pool of applicants that was sourced nationwide through an open application process. They brought their professional expertise, experience and taste to the table to ensure that the Encuentro programming fully reflected the state of Latina/o Theatre in the USA, both in style and geographic representation.
Advocacy - The Latina/o Theatre Commons will continue to promote the 2014 LATC Encuentro as a hub of Latina/o theatre activity through Café Onda, will encourage people from all over the country to attend this historic event, and will leverage their relationship with Emerson College to promote the Encuentro in the most effective way possible. The Latina/o Theatre Commons will also use the Encuentro to encourage the national dialogue around Latina/o theatre online, in person and in publications.
Networking/Convening - The Latina/o Theatre Commons will produce a Convening during the final weekend of the 2014 LATC Encuentro from November 6-10, 2014 to gather Latina/o theatre makers from all over the USA to engage in conversations around these four tenants, as well as attend the first in-person Latina/o Theatre Commons Steering Committee Meeting of 2014. The focus of the Convening will be on art-making and collaboration between artists, and, in the words of José Luis Valenzuela, continue the development of a National Ensemble of Latina/o theatre makers. The LTC will also support and work closely with the Los Angeles Host committee to program Late Night performers and Artist Excursions to ensure the full experience of "encuentro" is felt by all - artists and audience members alike.
Scholarship - The Latina/o Theatre Commons will produce nine (9) events and two (2) exhibits during the month of the Encuentro, labeled as "Tertulia events." These Tertulias will help to deepen the conversations brought up in the productions presented in the 2014 LATC Encuentro, and will call upon the expertise of national and Los Angeles-based artists and scholars to engage audience members in panels, dialogues, speeches and interactive events around diverse topics pertinent to the field. The Latina/o Theatre Commons will also support the archiving of all Encuentro events.
The LTC Carnaval of New Work hosted by The Theatre School at DePaul University
The LTC is will produce a Carnaval of New Work in Summer 2015, hosted by The Theatre School at DePaul University to showcase new plays by Latina/o playwrights in the United States. The Carnaval endeavors to increase the visibility of work by Latina/o playwrights and to encourage the production of new work in the nation’s resident theatres. The Carnaval is a direct response to the question posed by many artistic directors and literary managers all over the country: Who are the Latina/o playwrights that we should be producing?
Café Onda: The Online Journal of the LTC
Café Onda is the online journal of the LTC, hosted on HowlRound that seeks to expand and extend the national dialogue and discourse around Latina/o theatre. All articles, blog posts, and newcrit reviews are pitched and written by you for you. Like HowlRound, Café Onda uses a commons-based approach to increase the effective use of resources and to democratize access, which means that anyone can submit a pitch for consideration. All writers are paid for their contribution. The Editorial Board, made up of dedicated scholars and theatre practitioners from the LTC Steering Committee, are committed to providing a safe, crowd-sourced space for online dialogue and discussions around the topic of Latina/o theatre. For more information on writing for Café Onda, click here. To see what has already been published on Café Onda, click here. To submit a pitch, e-mail Managing Editor Georgina Escobar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Café Onda is a reflection of opinions and current trends in the field and is constantly bringing new definitions to the questions: What Latina/o theatre is happening around the country? And what are the pressing challenges and opportunities that need to be discussed?
The Sol Project Meeting: A Gathering of New York City-based Latina/o Theater Artists
The Sol Project, originally envisioned as a multi-year commitment in New York City for the production of Latina/o plays (modeled loosely after 13P), was the first new initiative proposed to the LTC after the National Convening in October 2013. In August 2014, the LTC is incubating this project by hosting a day-long meeting of leading New York City Latina/o theater artists and scholars. The insights gained from this gathering will nurture the ongoing development of The Sol Project. We are gathering the collective wisdom of the community to answer the question: What does the Latina/o theatre community in New York City need for its continued growth and expansion?
How do I get involved in the Latina/o Theatre Commons?
The LTC is committed to radical transparency, knowledge sharing, and making the aggregation and dissemination of that knowledge accessible to all. With the exception of LTC Producer Abigail Vega, all of our active and advisory board members are volunteers and, in the spirit of the Commons, routinely work and advocate for the betterment of the field as a whole—sharing resources and encouraging collaboration to build a better future for all.
Stay in the Loop!
In addition to the LTC Facebook page, we also send out our quarterly email (contact email@example.com to sign up!). Guidelines for new LTC Steering Committee membership will be published in Fall 2014.
What are the past initiatives of the Latina/o Theatre Commons?
October 2013: Latina/o Theatre Commons National Convening
The first large-scale formal gathering of the Latina/o theater community since 1986 took place last October 31-November 2 2013 at Emerson College in Boston, Massachussets. The LTC hosted a historical convening of 78 Latina/o actors, directors, producers, playwrights, designers, and scholars representing all regions of the United States. They gathered to explore the history, current challenges, opportunities, and visions for Latina/o theater-makers in the 21st century. Over the course of the convening, those gathered sought to advance the state of Latina/o theater-making through sharing artistic, organizing, and institutional wisdom. Strategies were identified to seed collaborations and strengthen the burgeoning network of Latina/o theater artists.
The convening brought together veteranos, emerging artists, and independent as well as organizationally affiliated practitioners and scholars, illuminating the diversity of the Latina/o experience from across the country. Participants served as delegates of their regions and communities, tracing their roots to many nations, some Spanish speaking and non-Spanish speaking, identifying on the queer spectrum, and embracing Native or African heritages as well.
The National Convening was made possible through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For a full list of donors, please download the convening program below.
- Download the LTC National Convening press release in English | in Spanish.
- For the full convening program click here.
- To watch the convening in the HowlRound TV archive or read about it, click here.
What are the future goals of the Latina/o Theatre Commons?
The Maria Irene Fornes Center for the Advancement of Latina/o Theatre:
Within the next decade the Latina/o Theatre Commons intends to establish a Center for the advancement of our work in honor of Maria Irene Fornes, whose influence and mentorship gave birth to a generation of Latina/o writers and thinkers.
The Latina/o Theatre Commons promotes the breadth of Latina/o theater across the nation. Our work is many-faceted both in its ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as in its content and aesthetic. We therefore continually call into question and seek to explore how we and the entire theater-making community define Latinidad. We provide knowledge of the field—of the artists, the canon, and the current state of the art—to Latina/o and non-Latina/o theater-makers, educators, and organizations. We are the New Americans. The Latina/o experience is always at least bi-cultural. Latina/o theater makers create theatrical events from a bi-, tri-, or many-cultured point of view. In a nation that will soon be more ethnically mixed than not, Latina/o theater makers re-imagine the American dramatic narrative.