An explosion of Latinx Theatre

 Photo by Gareth Gooch of  The Mathematics of Love  at Brava Theater Center

Photo by Gareth Gooch of The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center

Brava's Summer of Xicanas which ends this week with the final performances of Cherríe Moraga's world premiere, The Mathematics of Love – appears to be leading the nation, as theater institutions around the country lend space to Latino (aka Latina and Latinx*) Theatre with newly announced festivals and initiatives. Finally, perhaps, the U.S. theatre community can give proper attention to the body of work that has been and is being created by the voices of Latin American theater artists.

In Chicago, a month long event organized by the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance will be held at the city's major theaters including Steppenwolf Theatre and Victory Gardens Theater. The first annual Chicago International Theater Festival will take place from September 29 – October 29, 2017 and will feature U.S. premiers by Cuba's Ludi Teatro, Puerto Rico's Arte Boric, and Chicago's Water People Theater alongside classics such as Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden and an adaption of Strindberg's Miss Julie by  J. Ed Araiza, UCLA Dept head, veteran of El Teatro de la Esperanza, and original member of SITI Company.

This fall, San Diego Repertory Company will also launch the Latinx New Play Festival, which will open for two days on September 2, with a new play by Bay Area's own Ric Salinas and Herbert SIguenza of Culture Clash. Sam Woodhouse, the Rep's Artistic Director, says it is a formalizing of "our process of finding new Latino plays for audiences with a festival."

 Photo by Gareth Gooch of  The Mathematics of Love  at Brava Theater Center

Photo by Gareth Gooch of The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center

Geva Theater (Rochester, New York) Artistic Director Mark Cuddy, calling this year "a landmark season on Broadway" – alluding to the inclusion this year of several stories written and performed by people of color and the success of Hamilton – says "There's been a change, a tipping point.... We're in a different era. Not everyone understands that."
When Arizona Theatre Company's outgoing Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein urged the Board to "strongly consider someone other than a white male" to replace him, they failed to find someone with even a different first name – hiring David Ivers to lead the organization.

Read more about the challenges in this interesting article on Arizona's  struggle to create theater that reflects the states's demographics and the full article on diversity in theater in Rochester.

 Photo by Gareth Gooch of  The Mathematics of Love  at Brava Theater Center

Photo by Gareth Gooch of The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center

*Like Black, African-American, POC, etc., the irony of cultural specificity is that it often demands the acceptance of many identifiers. Roll with it!