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Celebrando Fornés/Celebrating Fornés 2019-2020

Celebrando Fornés/Celebrating Fornés calls upon universities, colleges, and theatres in the United States to celebrate the work of María Irene Fornés, nine-time Obie Award winning playwright, in their 2019-20 season/school year. This year-long event seeks to raise awareness of Fornés’s impact on theatre and preserve the legacy of her work.

company photo, with Fornes at the center
Maria Irene Fornes surrounded by her students in the Hispanic Playwrights in Residence Lab at INTAR in the late 1980s. Photo by James Kent.

María Irene Fornés (born 14 May 1930) is a Cuban-American playwright and director who was a leading figure of the Off-Off-Broadway movement in the 1960s. Fornés' work focuses on poverty and feminism, and on personal and artistic levels, her lesbian identity has been central to her art.

Fornés is regarded as one of the most significant writing teachers of our time, often referred to as the American theatre’s “Mother of Avant-Garde.”

She wrote over forty plays, many of which she also directed, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize with her play And What of the Night? in 1990. Other notable works include Fefu and Her Friends, Mud, Sarita, and Letters from Cuba.

Celebrations can take the form of productions, workshops, readings, panels, and/or curricular implementation. Each school will investigate and explore the work of this major American playwright, who has significantly influenced artists of all backgrounds in the US and internationally. The committed schools/theatres will utilize their institutional support networks to program at least one Fornés work and/or event around Fornés's writing between 2019 and 2020. In addition, each school will reach out and make the events accessible to their larger communities in order to broaden the experience of encountering the work of this extraordinary theatre artist. 

Student-led groups and collectives are strongly urged to lead and participate in the creation of this celebration. 

This national event will increase the visibility of Fornés's work, which can also lead to greater awareness and support for the Fornés Institute, an initiative of the Latinx Theatre Commons, which preserves and archives the legacy of Maria Irene Fornés as a theatre artist and teacher, through workshops, convenings, and advocacy, and with future plans for a permanent retreat/gathering space/library. 

Celebrations can take the form of productions, workshops, readings, panels, and/or curricular implementation. The committed schools/theatres will...program at least one Fornés work and/or event around Fornés's writing between 2019 and 2020.

These participating schools were announced at the 2018 Latinx Theatre Commons María Irene Fornés Institute Symposium at Princeton University in April.

Currently committed schools and theatres:

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
Augsburg University / ALMA (Minneapolis, MN)
Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble (Santa Ana, CA)
Brown University (Providence, RI)
California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA)
California State University Fresno (Fresno, CA)
California State University Long Beach (Long Beach, CA)
California State University Stanislaus (Turlock, CA)
Kent State University (Kent, OH)
Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)
University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
University of Illinois Urban-Champaign (Champaign, IL)
University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, MA)
University of Miami (Miami, FL)
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
University of Southern California
Yale School of Drama (New Haven, CT)
50 Playwrights Project (Houston, TX)                                         

We welcome more universities and theatres to join! Please contact Marissa Chibas at [email protected] or Cynthia DeCure at [email protected] to include your institution in the Celebrando Fornés/Celebrating Fornés calendar of events.

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