Hello! Hola! And welcome to the Latino Theatre Initiatives
Latino Theatre Initiatives began in December 2009 as an effort to increase dramatically the presence of Latino Theatre at UTPA and in the surrounding region. ¡Órale!
Our goal is to celebrate and to make creative use of the bilingual and bicultural knowledge that many UTPA students and local communities possess; to make theatre that challenges participants to grow and mature as artists, while producing the kind of work that is in urgent demand locally, regionally, and nationally. Dale Gas!
Past projects have included three Spanish-language children’s plays which have toured to elementary schools, public libraries, colleges, an arts festival (FESTIBA at UTPA) and the Museum of South Texas History; over the past two and a half years, these plays have reached over 2,500 children! And more than forty-five actors, musicians, designers and other staff and crew members have participated! iSimón!
An award-winning documentary called Crawling with Monsters, on the lives of children along the U.S. - Mexico border, was created by some LTI members and associated artists; it was performed in the Skull Club in New Orleans as part of the New Orleans Fringe Festival (November, 2010); in Chicago and Evanston, IL, at Northwestern University, at the Annual Conference of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (July, 2011); at the Living Theatre in New York City as part of the New York International Fringe Festival (August, 2011); at the Luminaria Arts Festival in San Antonio (May, 2012); at the Frenetic Theatre in Houston in the Houston Fringe Festival (September, 2012); on the Main Stage at UTPA (October, 2012); this ever-evolving play has prevailed in competition at national and international festivals, garnered terrific reviews, and has developed a growing, international following. iHijue Puta!
Through the Crawling with Monsters Project, an example of the kind of devised theatre that UTPA is almost uniquely capable of producing, LTI has begun to earn an international reputation as an important resource for contemporary Latino Theatre and theatre artists. Already, members of our group have been offered jobs and internships in the professional theatre by people at our shows! One has entered the prestigious graduate program in Applied Drama at the City University of New York! Four students have presented papers about Latino theatre at three regional conferences! We have received almost $20,000.00 in external funding! Our work has been staged at a school in New Jersey and shown in video form at Brock University in Canada! Numerous professors, graduate students and writers are publishing and presenting papers at academic conferences about our work! And many organizations have expressed interest in seeing our plays brought to their theatres and schools! iFantastico
Current projects include updating Crawling with Monsters; making a documentary on Crawling with Monsters; creating and publishing a manuscript with interviews from Crawling with Monsters; creating new works; Cha Cha Thursdays (dance lessons); applying for grants; touring to area schools a delightful Spanish-language play called La Maquina de Jugar.
An affiliated student organization called the Latino Theatre Initiative has been formed to raise funds for, support and increase awareness of the Latino theatre projects at UTPA and else-where. It also stages plays, creates new works, and in general fosters an environment that encourages creativity, learning and service in connection with Latino theatre. They also came up with Cha Cha Thursdays! The group meets every Wednesday at noon in the Studio Theatre (CAS 107) and is open to all current UTPA students.
Slowly but surely, we are building a network of allied artists, actors, writers, dancers, film makers, composers, musicians and critical thinkers across disciplines, languages, and national boundaries, primarily to support creative collaborations between Americans and Mexicans living near the South Texas – Northeastern Mexico border for work that will reach all sorts of audiences, from the local to the global, in a variety of ways.
We welcome everyone, those with little or no Spanish, as well as those who are fluent or partially-so; the only prerequisite is an interest in taking part in this exciting, fast-growing area of American and international theatre!
For further information ... please contact Dr. Eric Wiley: firstname.lastname@example.org