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The Guadalupe ignites Tejano and Chicano theater with the first annual teatroFEST

Marisela Barrera, theater arts director at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, came to San Antonio with the attitude that more mainstream theater-types take to New York. "As a Chicano or Chicana artist," she says, "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." A video storyteller, actor, and writer, Barrera's multi-disciplinary approach to producing theater led her here. "All my storytelling was focusing on South Texas. There are so many stories that are of interest to me within the Chicano culture," she says. "It's amazing the artists I've been able to work with, just like that."

Houston's Royal Mexican Players will perform at Guadalupe's teatroFEST.

That vibrant cultural community is something Barrera has wanted to celebrate in festival form for several years. After two years of unsuccessfully submitting major grant proposals, the Guadalupe, with a seed grant from the National Performance Network and a little help from the Office of Cultural Affairs and Casa de España, is proceeding with that dream on a shoestring. TeatroFEST: Tejano Vision will bring together Texas-based Latino solo performance artists and theater companies to celebrate the Latino voice in American theater.

TeatroFEST kicks off Wednesday, June 22, at the Guadalupe Theater with performances by San Antonio's Puro Slam team and Amalia Ortiz in her new one-woman show, Otra Esa on the Public Transit, followed by an after-party at Saluté.

San Antonio's Amalia Ortiz in her new one-woman show Otra Esa on the Public Transit.

On Thursday, the Guadalupe's intimate Teatro Space hosts Lo Nuevo: New Works-in-Progress by San Antonio Artists, including Rodney Garza in El Chuco y La Che, Rey Cevallos in El Rey, and an untitled experimental short film and performance by the Reset Collective. The on-site BYOB after-party will feature guest DJ Leonard Spinnard.

Friday is all about flying solo, with ¡Uno! Tejas Solo Performers at the Guadalupe Theater. Featured performers include José Rubén De León (San Antonio) in his Spanish version of Lorca, Tammy Gomez (Fort Worth) in Sueño Despierta, and Adrian Villegas (Austin) in Barrio Daze. The performances will be followed by an on-site wine and cheese reception.

Adrian Villegas brings his one-man show Barrio Daze to the Guadalupe's teatroFEST.

The full, final day of the festival begins Saturday at 1 p.m. with an informal lunch discussion on the topic of Old School Teatro vs. Post Chicano Theatre, including plans for the future of TeatroFEST. The matinee performance in the Guadalupe Theater is Brownsville's Scorpion Players with Red Beard of the Rio Grande. Saturday night's festival closer is called Tejano Vision: Teatro Chicano in Texas, and features performances by Cara Mia Theatre (Dallas, in temporary residency at the Guadalupe), Royal Mexican Players (Houston), and Madmedia (San Antonio), followed by a wrap party at Travis 151 celebrating Madmedia's Pocho/a DVD release, and featuring music by Bombasta and Sexto Sol.


June 22-25

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
1300 Guadalupe

For the complete schedule, call or visit:
Tickets for festival events range from free to $10, and are available through the Guadalupe's box office at 351-7787.

Barrera reports that they already have seed money from the NEA for a TeatroFEST 2006 project. Borderplex Electronica will be developed and presented at the festival much like this year's Cara Mia Carpa performance. "It's coming together," she says. "The exciting thing is the work."

By Laurie Dietrich

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