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Latina/o Theatre Commons holds ELA workshop

Members of the Latina/o Theatre Commons, a national advocacy initiative, gathered in the Assembly Room at Emerson College Los Angeles on November 10 to discuss current and future initiatives.

“It was a strong, clear, action-oriented meeting where we discussed our next steps,” said Lisa Portes, artistic director for the Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences and head of the Master of Fine Arts Directing Program at the Theatre School at DePaul University.  

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During the steering committee meeting, members bonded, celebrated recent achievements, and discussed big objectives and initiatives for the future. Nearly 30 committee members were present.  

The Latina/o Theatre Commons began in 2012, when eight Latina/o theatre makers came together under the auspices of HowlRound, a think-tank for the arts based at Emerson College in Boston. That group of eight partnered with HowlRound and other Latina/o theatre communities around the U.S. and created a steering committee of more than 30 theatre practitioners. In October 2013, the group came together to produce the LTC National Convening at Emerson College.

“It’s become a very large network now,” said Polly Carl, director and editor of HowlRound: A Center for the Theater Commons.

The meeting took place during the tail end of the 2014 Los Angeles Theatre Center Encuentro (“an encounter”), a month-long festival that brought together Latina/o theatre artists from around the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Committee member Jose Carrasquillo, who attended the festival, said Latina/o theatre is thriving.

“We are now visible at the national level,” said Carrasquillo. “It’s exciting.”

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Latina/o Theatre Commons members exchange final thoughts at the end of the group's meeting on November 10 at Emerson Los Angeles. (Photo by Daryl Paranada)

Portes described Latina/o theatre today as robust.

“Through events like Encuentro, which featured over a dozen productions by as many Latina/o theatres, we are seeing the breadth and aesthetic diversity of Latina/o theatre,” said Portes.  “Through technology and the efforts of the Latina/o Theater Commons and our online arm, Café Onda, we are able to bring attention to work being done around the nation and create ongoing access and cross-geographical conversation.”

For Portes and Carrasquillo, the future of f is bright. It’s on the cusp of entering a true moment of renaissance, Portes said. 

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