Latino theater is returning to the city Santa Ana thanks to the awarding of a grant earlier this month from the James Irvine Foundation. As recipient, South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa is partnering up with acclaimed non-profit Latino Health Access to launch a community-based theater initiative called Dialogue/Diálogos SCR.
The two-year, $600,000 project can, in part, fill the artistic void that's been left in the wake of Breath of Fire Latina Theater's closure in downtown Santa Ana last year. Naturally, the partnership found an asset in the company's Artistic Director Sara Guerrero. “I'm really proud to be a part of this and helping to put it together,” Guerrero says as Engagement Project Director of Dialogue/Diálogos SCR.
“Knowing my community, I'm happy to have a voice such as mine involved in the process from the beginning.”
The development of bilingual community-based theater will begin first with dialogue. A series of town hall-style meetings whose dates and times have yet to be announced are set to invite residents so as to learn from their perspectives. Afterward, free workshops facilitated by SCR staff and playwright-in-residence José Cruz González will develop stories, teach theater skills and assemble a 12-member ensemble. From that creative interaction, Cruz will compose an original play to stage as a full Dialogue/Diálogos SCR production.
Prior to this development, South Coast Repertory had held a Hispanic Playwrights Project for a number of years, staged “La Posada Mágica” by Octavio Solis and even invited the locos from Culture Clash to come do their thing in OC.
“We're trying to build on that experience and are trying something new here that involves getting out of the building and getting to know people,” says SCR Artistic Director Marc Masterson in announcing the initiative. ” We're going to bring our best resources to bear. We don't what the final outcome is going to be, but we're excited for it.”
Hopefully, successes of this partnership can transcend the time frame
granted by the James Irvine Foundation and help propel theater
reflective of Santa Ana's community in the future for years to come!