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Call for Submissions for the Summer 2015 LTC Carnaval of New Latina/o Work

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The Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) announces a call for submissions for the inaugural Carnaval of New Latina/o Work—a showcase of new work by Latina/o playwrights and theatermakers in the United States. Produced in association with Teatro Vista and ALTA Chicago and hosted by The Theatre School at DePaul University, the Carnaval will take place July 23-25, 2015.

The Carnaval endeavors to increase the visibility of work by Latina/o playwrights and to encourage the production of that work in the nation’s theaters. The event will include eight readings of new work representing the four geographical regions of the United States; three pieces by master Latina/o directors devised with DePaul Theatre School students; and conversations between producers and the Latina/o theatermaking community. The gathering will include artistic directors, literary managers, new play development directors, and producers seeking new work/artists to present and support. It will welcome playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, and performers involved in the readings, as well as scholars, members of the LTC community and members of Chicago’s vibrant Latina/o theater community. As a programming extension of the LTC, the Carnaval seeks to connect producers to theatermakers, scholars, and the LTC community at large.  

The Carnaval is one of three original dreams conceived by the DC8, eight Latina/o artists who came together at Arena Stage under the auspices of HowlRound in May 2012 at the urging of playwright Karen Zacarías to discuss the state of and imagine a future for Latina/o theater in the United States. The gathering served as the point of origin for the LTC. The DC8 envisioned three events to catalyze the field: a National Convening of Latina/o theater artists to gather the community, an Encuentro (encounter) of at least ten Latina/o full productions produced by as many Latina/o theaters from around the country to gauge the state of the art, and a Carnaval of New Latina/o Work to highlight our future. The Convening took place in partnership with HowlRound at Emerson College in Fall 2013. The Los Angeles Theatre Center’s Encuentro 2014 is happening as you read this. The Carnaval is kicking off now. And the LTC Steering Committee 2.0 is in process of envisioning our next steps as we move boldly into the future.

However, the desire for a festival of new Latina/o Work grew out of our past and the sense of loss felt by the Latina/o theatermaking community when the Hispanic Playwrights Project at South Coast Repertory Theatre and the Latino Theatre Initiative at the Mark Taper Forum closed in 2004 and 2005 respectively. David Emmes, then Artistic Director of South Coast Rep cited the 2003 Pulitzer prize for Nilo Cruz’s Anna and the Tropics (the first Pulitzer to go to a Latina/o playwright) as a sign that Latina/o specific programming was no longer necessary. He noted “how far Latina/o writers have grown in their ability to be part of the fabric of American theater” and went on to argue that “we don’t feel [Latino theater] needs that spotlight and focus it’s had in the past.”

The Latina/o community felt differently. In her October, 2013 HowlRound post, “Towards a Hub for New Latina/o Theater,” Lisa Portes argued:

The Hispanic Playwrights Project (HPP)… was a hub, a center where many of us—writers, directors, actors, dramaturgs—met one another, saw each other’s work, forged relationships, and took the pulse of Latino/a theater in that moment. When HPP closed it left a void in the national community. The work continued [regionally]…but the hub was gone.

Through the Carnaval, the LTC seeks to articulate an alternate model by which to feature new work. In the same essay, Portes writes:

We subscribe to the belief that as an artist-led event produced independently of any established institution we will no longer be vulnerable to the vagaries of institutional commitment. We aim to showcase the state of the art as we—those of us who make it—see it. We champion the cultural and aesthetic diversity of our work and look forward to creating a vibrant dialogue about the many-faceted experience that is Latinidad in the twenty-first century.

In the spirit of the collaborative, artist-driven approach laid out above, the LTC is excited to partner with two prominent Chicago Latina/o theater advocates: Teatro Vista, an ensemble theater dedicated to Latina/o work and ALTA Chicago, the Alliance of Latino Theatre Artists in Chicago.

At this time the LTC seeks submissions for the eight readings that form the center of the Carnaval. Submissions are due on January 1, 2015. Click here to download the full submission guidelines and application information, or find them on the LTC web page.

LTC Carnaval Selection Committee:

  •  Juliette Carrillo, Freelance Director, Los Angeles, CA
  • Sandra Delgado, Teatro Vista and Collaboraction Theatre, Chicago, IL
  • Irma Mayorga, Asst. Professor of Theater, Dartmouth College, NH
  • Marc Pinate, Associate Artist, Borderlands Theater, Tuscon, AZ
  • Lisa Portes, Head of Directing, The Theatre School at DePaul University, Chicago, IL

Additionally, the committee will seek the input of a Spanish-Language Consultant from the LTC community (TBD), an ALTA Chicago Casting Consultant (TBD), and LTC Producer Abigail Vega.

Interested applicants may join members of the LTC for an information session on Monday, November 17th at 11am PST/1pm CST/2pm EST via conference call: (857) 216-6700 access code: 314596. 

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