My family and I often talk about all the things we’re looking forward to in our lives—over dinner, on our walks, before bed. Recently, I talked about my excitement for the upcoming Latinx Theatre Commons Sin Fronteras Festival and Convening, for which I am a co-producer. My twelve-year-old daughter, Genevieve, who identifies racially and ethnically as Native Hispanic, White, Latina, and Mexican American, can sometimes be an apathetic pre-teen. But at this moment she was curious, asking me what it was about, who was going, and what plays would be in the festival.
I told her a little about the goals of the event: to encourage more Latinx theatre for young audiences (TYA) by highlighting excellent work, as well as to think as a group about how to bring more of it to our stages. I explained that there would be work featured from the United States and Latin America—some in Spanish, some in English, some in Indigenous languages—all created specifically for young audiences. She said it sounded pretty cool, and I agreed. I asked her why she thought it was important to have such a festival and for young people to come out. She replied, in her slightly precocious manner, that it’s really important for kids to see all kinds of stories on stage, that she would like to see more Spanish-language theatre—and certainly more theatre presented in Indigenous languages in Austin where we live—and that seeing plays in these languages here, right now, just hours from the Mexican border where people are being deported and abused, means something. Hearing my daughter, a young person for whom the festival is intended, talk about it with such enthusiasm made me even more excited.
Latinx theatre created specifically for children and families is in no way new, but it is underrepresented in many communities across the United States. That said, more and more Latinx playwrights are writing plays for youth with Latinx characters and stories, and more research documenting the work is being published. As a white scholar of Latinx TYA and culturally responsive arts education, I am committed to helping with this documentation in order to make more visible the Latinx theatre that is being created for young people.