Dallas — The Latina/o Theater Commons will convene in Dallas from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. Texas Latina/o theater-makers will gather for community conversation, reflection and action.
Lorenzo Garcia, chairman of dance and theater at Denton's University of North Texas says, "The convening in Dallas is an important way to draw national attention to the rich Latina/o theater legacy in Texas, and to the numerous dedicated Latina/o theater artists who contribute to and enrich communities through their amazing work."
The LTC Steering Committee is meeting in order to envision the next arc of LTC activity. As part of its commitment to include the all regions of the country, a series of meetings nationwide (in Washington D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle) are being held with the goal of gathering Latina/o theater professionals, community artists and scholars to discuss the state of Latina/o theater at the local, state and national levels.
As a regenerative force, the LTC's goal is to update the narrative of Latina/o theater in the United States. The LTC proposes that works by Latinas/os form an integral, vital part of the new American theater.
Clyde Valentín, director of Southern Methodist University's Arts + Urbanism Initiative, says, "Bringing the LTC to Texas is an important step in shoring up the geographical footprint of LTC as a true national movement emerging in the American theater among its makers of Latino heritage."
University of Texas scholar and theater-maker Roxanne Schroeder-Arce says, "Despite the
thriving Latino/a theater in Texas, work from the state has been under-represented. We are eager to share the Tejano/a Teatro flavor with the energized leadership of the national Latino/a theater community. Come see us. ¡Nuestra casa es su casa!"
Austin playwright Amparo Garcia-Crow recently attended the Black and Latino Playwrights Conference at Texas State University in San Marcos. There, she asked playwright and Texas native Octavio Solis why he thinks it's important for LTC to rotate its steering committee meetings in various national cities.
He responded that because every community is different, each has its own identity and needs—and more than that, meeting in various places also helps build momentum and enhances the feeling that it's a national movement.
The LTC is also drawing in young, emerging artists such as Oscar Cabrera, an alum of Texas State whose play Through Andrew's Eyes has been developed as result of his association with the LTC. He says that being half Mexican and half Irish, growing up in Lubbock, "It wasn't until I came to college and moved to New York that I realized I had this potential to identify with people in my culture and that I was like—'Wow, I’m Latino! I did not know!' It's important to go back to my roots."
Cabrera says it's important to look at Dallas, Austin, El Paso and Lubbock to see how regional stories relate to the bigger world and what it means to be Latino.
Anyone interested is invited to attend the LTC convening, and to share their stories and passion for theater. Attendance is free, but attendees must register to attend each event. Register and find more information at the Latina/o Theater Commons website. You can also see livestreaming there of Commons events.
Public events are as follows:
Friday, Oct. 30
8 p.m.: The Wake by Tómas Urtusástegui, performed in English by Teatro Dallas at Cedar Crest Mansion, 2223 Jefferson Blvd., Dallas.
9 p.m. to midnight: Welcome to Tejas! Opening Party and Performance Salon, Teatro Dallas, 1331 Record Crossing Road, Dallas.
Saturday, Oct. 31
3 to 5:30 p.m.: Texas-based Artist and LTC Steering Committee Conversation, Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak Street. Texas area Latina/o theater artists, activists and scholars are invited to discuss the region's opportunities and needs, and to share ideas for a more vibrant future.
7 to 11 p.m..: Reading of Deferred Action by Dallas Theater Center and Cara Mía Theatre Co., Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora Street, Dallas. Reception to follow.
» The LTC Dallas convening is sponsored by Southern Methodist University, the University of North Texas, Dallas Theater Center, Cara Mía Theatre Co., Teatro Dallas, the Latino Cultural Center and the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.
» Teresa Marrero is professor of Latin American and Latina/o theater in the Department of Spanish at the University of North Texas. She is also a steering committee member of the Latina/o Theater Commons and a contributing editor to its online journal, Café Onda.