CHICAGO: The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance has announced the lineup for its first Inicios: Chicago Latine Playwright Festival. The festival, running June 2-4, will be held at UrbanTheater Company, Aguijón Theater, and Teatro Tariakuri. Selected playwrights are paired with the artistic director of a Chicago Latine theatre company for a one-week workshop and a free public reading. Playwrights will also receive a $1,000 stipend.
Inicios marks a new initiative for CLATA as it continues its work of increasing the visibility of Latine voices on stages in Chicago and beyond. CLATA is also known for producing Destinos, the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, which stages fully realized productions and world premieres created by Chicago Latine companies.
“With Inicios, CLATA is offering Chicago’s Latine theatre artists a new platform to write a play, workshop it with a director and cast, present it as a staged reading, and gain invaluable artist and audience feedback to take it to full production,” said Jorge Valdivia, executive director of CLATA, in a statement. “Inicios, literally, is a new beginning for nurturing new plays by Chicago’s Latine writers who have been relegated to the shadows of theatrical storytelling for too long.”
Chicago actor and playwright Nelson A. Rodriguez will work with Visión Latino Theatre Company artistic director Xavier Custodio on New Personalidad. Rodriguez’s work, to be presented on June 2 at UrbanTheater Company, explores the effect of religious devotion on family of devout Jehovah’s Witnesses experiencing the loss of their youngest son.
Dulcci, by Raul Dorantes and Emily Masó, follows a Chicago high school student who decides to give her legal identity to her best friend who is undocumented. Dorantes and Masó, both members of Chicago’s Colectivo el Pozo, will work with Aguijón Theater executive director and co-artistic director Marcela Muñoz ahead of a June 3 presentation.
Playwright Claribel Gross presents a surreal imagined retelling of a little girl in Nicaragua’s search for the future and encounter with an old woman who reminisces on love, country, and the desire for perpetual Christmas. Gasping: A Nicaraguan Fever Dream, directed by Teatro Tariakuri artistic director Karla Lopez-Galvan, will be performed on June 4.
Panelists who selected the three works were playwright and Aguijón Theater artistic associate Rey Andujar, playwright and Teatro Vista ensemble member Sandra Delgado, and playwright and screenwriter Isaac Gomez.
Founded in 2016, CLATA works to uplift the voices and work of Chicago’s Latine theatre artists and provide Latine theatre groups with ongoing organizational and financial support
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