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Teatro Chelsea, Huntington Announce Latine New-Play Reading Initiative

The series will kick off with Yunior Garcia’s ‘Jacuzzi.’

BOSTON: Teatro Chelsea and the Huntington Theatre Company have announced a new-play reading initiative to explore and celebrate the work of Latine writers. The companies will collaborate on a series of readings and conversations throughout the coming year.

“Through this new initiative that centers on the plethora of extraordinary Latine writers and their stories, our hope is to create a community of Greater Boston theatremakers that comes together to explore, exchange, champion, and produce more Latine work for the stage,” Huntington artistic director Loretta Greco said in a statement. Greco added that the two companies plan to hold a festival of play readings in 2023.

Yunior García (above, photo by Adalberto Roque) and Melinda Lopez (below, photo by Paul Marotta).

The initiative will launch with a reading of Cuban artist and activist Yunior García’s Jacuzzi on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. The comedy juxtaposes love, friendship, and citizenship among three friends piled into one bathtub in Havana. García’s semi-autobiographical play has been translated into English by Huntington artist in residence Melinda Lopez, who will also direct. The reading is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a conversation with the artists and Cuban food and drink.

The new initiative is supported through a grant from the Barr Foundation.

Jacuzzi premiered in Cuba in 2017, and Lopez’s translation recently received a reading at Northeastern University’s Latinx Student Cultural Center. The cast of the new reading includes Monica Risi, Cristhian Mancinas-Garcia, and Teatro Chelsea artistic director Armando Rivera.

García is a Cuban actor, playwright, and activist who is the founder of Trébol Teatro. A native of Holguín, he studied acting at Cuba’s National School of Art and at the International Residence for Emerging Dramaturgs at the Royal Court Theatre in London. García’s short film Cerdo premiered at the 40th International Latin American Film Festival, and his work has been published in anthologies in Cuba, the U.S., Argentina, and Germany. In November 2021, García was exiled to Spain by the Cuban government for his work fighting for creative freedom for Cuban artists.

As an artist in residence at the Huntington, Lopez has helped develop and produce Dream Boston. A playwright and performer, Lopez won Elliot Norton Awards from the Boston Theater Critics Association for Sonia Flew, Mala, and Black Beans Project (co-created with Joel Perez), all of which were produced at the Huntington. She has been a resident with the Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency, the Lark, the Sundance Institute, and New York Theatre Workshop. A professor at Northeastern University and Boston University, she received the 2019 Elliot Norton Award for outstanding achievement in recognition of her 20-year career.

Founded in 2020 by the Apollinaire Theatre Company, Teatro Chelsea celebrates Latine cultures, showcases and fosters local talent, and builds community in Chelsea, Mass., through arts engagement and collaboration. Teatro Chelsea creates theatre at the crossroads of languages, cultures, and histories.

The Huntington Theatre Company is a leading professional theatre company of Boston that shares enduring and untold stories to spark the imaginations of audiences and artists. Committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, the Huntington provides life-changing opportunities for students through its education and community programs and is a national leader in the development of new plays and playwrights. As of 2021, the theatre has a budget of approximately $14.5 million.

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