Diversity, equity, and inclusion allow broader perspectives to be integrated when developing new ideas, particularly in the performing arts. They shape public ideas about cultural identity and expose audiences to conflicts and discourses they may not encounter daily.
The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) is a transformative cultural engine helping drive the local Latino theater community to a more prominent level.
CLATA’s signature program, Destinos, the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, kicks off for a new season this month, showcasing Chicago’s Latino theater artists and companies alongside top Latino artists from the U.S. and Latin America.
Valdivia spoke about CLATA’s work in building a stronger foundation for future Latino theater artists to thrive and grow. “To help build more visibility for Latinos on stages across Chicago,” he said when talking about the need to amplify Latino voices and narratives. “Not just people who look like you and me, but people who identify as Afro-Latinos and gender queer. Our mission is to capture the full diaspora and narrative of what it means to be Latine in the USA.”
Valdivia also shared what theatergoers can expect at this year’s Destinos, which begins its six-week run on September 28. The annual event showcases Chicago’s Latino theater artists and companies alongside top Latino artists from the U.S. and Latin America. “Prieto is an autobiographical story about his (written and performed by Yosimar Reyes) experience as a child trying to accept himself – dark skinned and queer,” Valdivia says about the play from San Jose (one of the many imports) that navigates topics entrenched in struggle, search for truth, clarity, and joy.
“I was surrounded by artists,” remembered Valdivia about his childhood. “My mother was an aspiring singer/song writer. I have always been fascinated by how art can elevate the stories of who we are as Latinos. There’s nothing more powerful than telling your story and being authentic.”
For more information about Destinos, including how to get tickets, click HERE.
“3 Questions With…” is co-produced by the Latino News Network (LNN), an independent, multimedia digital news outlet with local newsrooms in the Northeast and Midwest, including IL Latino News and CAN TV, Chicago’s hub for community centric news, hyperlocal stories and educational resources.