The University Library at Cal State LA has partnered with the Latinx Theatre Alliance/Los Angeles to create an oral history archive of Latinx theatre in Los Angeles.
This groundbreaking project, the Voces del Teatro Oral History Archive, features more than 40 video and audio interviews with key theatremakers who founded and developed the genre of Latinx theatre in Los Angeles from the late 1960s to the present.
“The Voces del Teatro Oral History Archive is an important archive capturing the Latinx theatre of Los Angeles from the 1960s to today,” said José Cruz González, professor emeritus of theatre at Cal State LA. “It is both a regional and national treasure.”
Arising from the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s in East Los Angeles, Latinx theatres became a voice for social change and a critical space in which to express and explore issues directly affecting the Latinx community, such as immigration, marginalization, discrimination, cultural identity, and civil rights.
The Latinx Theatre Alliance/Los Angeles was founded in 2012 as a service organization advocating for local Latinx theatremakers. Recognizing the urgent need to research, preserve and share the history of Latinx theater in L.A., the project was born in 2020 under the leadership of Minerva Garcia, Blanca Melchor, and Liane Schirmer.
In this oral history archive, theatremakers reflect on their journey as artists, activists, and their struggle to be seen and heard in mainstream media. The theatremakers featured in the archive include Professor González, Rubén Amavizca of Grupo de Teatro SINERGIA/Frida Kahlo Theater, Evelina Fernández of the Latino Theater Company, Josefina López of Casa 0101 Theater, Jesus Reyes of East L.A. Repertory Theater, and many others.
“Cal State LA is proud to be the home of the Voces del Teatro Oral History Archive as it will provide a great resource to our students and overall campus community on Los Angeles theatre history,” said Azalea Camacho, head of Special Collections and Archives for the University Library. “We are also very excited to establish a collaborative partnership with Latinx Theatre Alliance of Los Angeles to continue to document, preserve, and highlight these stories through primary source instruction and public programming.”
The Voces del Teatro Oral History Archive will give students, faculty, researchers, theatre historians, and the Los Angeles community a unique way to explore and conduct research in the areas of live theatre in Los Angeles in the modern period. It will be housed in Special Collections and Archives at the University Library, Palmer Wing, room 2079, on the Cal State LA campus.
In addition to the Voces del Teatro Oral History Archive, the Latinx Theatre Alliance/Los Angeles Collection will soon include several other sub-collections from Latinx theatre companies covering a wide-range of theatre-related topics, such as set and costume design. To make a donation in support of the collection or the University Library, please visit the library’s giving webpage.
For more information about the Special Collections and Archives at Cal State LA, please contact Azalea Camacho at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: José Cruz González, professor emeritus of theatre at Cal State LA, is one of the theatremakers featured in the “Voces del Teatro Oral History Archive.” (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)
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