Voces del Teatro: An Oral History of Latinx Theatre in Modern Los Angeles (1960s to Present) marks the second phase of a series of video and audio interviews which will comprise a groundbreaking formal oral history archive of Latinx theatre in our city. This archive will encompass the period from the 1960s (beginning of the Chicano Movement & Civil Rights) to the present.
As of 2022, there are over 20 theatre companies in Los Angeles dedicated to creating content for the Latinx community in English, Spanish and bilingual formats. For over 50 years, Latinx theatres have been producing high-quality, challenging work that speaks to our collective humanity.
For the first time, the artistic and social contribution of our Latinx theatres and theatre-makers is being chronicled. Latinx theatre is being seen as a subject in its own right, and recognized as a significant cultural movement in Los Angeles history.
Hopefully, this effort will inspire continued archiving, scholarship and attention, from social historians, theatre practitioners (Latinx and other cultural groups), and the community of Los Angeles as a whole.
The Journey - Thanks to a Quick Grant from California Humanities, and to our ongoing fiscal sponsor, Grupo de Teatro SINERGIA / Frida Kahlo Theater (Rubén Amavizca, Artistic Director), we were able embark on this valuable endeavor. For our initial phase in 2021, we decided on a total of 20 oral history interviews (10 artistic directors and 10 performers/directors). The second phase - 20 additional interviews completed in 2022 - was made possible by a grant from Eastside Arts Initiative.
Criteria for selection - Indeed, the selection of our first 40 Interviewees was a challenge.
Our team made this decision based on those theatre artists (artistic directors, performers, directors, producers, desideners, choreographers) who had made a significant contribution to Latinx theatre, either in Latinx-initiated independent productions or via designated Latinx theaters in Los Angeles. Prime factors in our algorithm length and breadth of career, unique mission, “at-risk” subjects, etc.
The Team - Latinx Theatre Alliance / Los Angeles (co-facilitators Minerva Garcia and Blanca Melchor), Liane Schirmer (Project Director), and our advisors, Dr. Jorge Huerta, Dr. Daphne Sicre, Edward Padilla, Armando Huipe, and Patricia Garza.