The Actors Centre is delighted to announce the participants for the debut edition of its 2020 John Thaw Initiative: Latin American Season, curated by Untold Collectiv. From January – April, the season — which champions new writing in early-stage development — will present 23 work-in-progress productions led by artists of Latin American heritage.
The season stands as a testament to the Latinx community in the UK which spans over 20 countries and the line-up features a multiplicity of voices, including immigrant, British-Latinx, queer, Afro-Latinx, Hispanic, Lusphone, and other mixed Latin-American backgrounds.
Each show has been selected by Untold Collectiv — whose work is dedicated to amplifying underrepresented artists — and this season follows on from the launch of their Latinx Scratch Initiative in 2019, which seeks to increase visibility for Latinx artists within London theatre.
Speaking about the season, Daniela Cristo Mantilla and Sammy Attalah of Untold Collectiv said: “It was really exciting to receive such a wealth of applications, from artists we had never heard from before as well as ones with whom we had a relationship. It shows we are a vibrant community who want to make work and be heard. We really hope this season opens lots of doors and opportunities for the companies taking part in it.
“The shows from this season are very different from each other in themes, form and stories, which celebrate the complexity of our continent. Being Latin American is being mixed, yet everyone’s experience is completely different and unique. Yes, we all share a culture, yet every country, city, and community has a very specific history. It’s impossible to paint us all with the same brush and we are proud to see so many shades in the line-up.
“We are also thrilled to provide the opportunity of bringing these shows to fruition, and we hope that working with the The Actors Centre will introduce new audiences to these untold stories.
“As one of the fastest growing communities in the UK that is not represented in the National Census, it’s time to be loud and proud of our culture. We feel that in a country like the UK which is built on immigration, the more we all learn about each other the greater empathy we have to live in harmony.”
Mitchell Reeve, Theatre Programme Manager at The Actors Centre added: “Representation and inclusivity is at the heart of the Actors Centre and the John Thaw Initiative, which consistently offers a development platform to underrepresented voices, and that is why it is such an honour to have Untold Collectiv curating this season of Latinx theatre. Untold Collectiv are a vital and urgent voice within the industry and we were hugely impressed with the success of their Latinx Scratch event earlier this year. We look forward to this exciting season of work, which presents a myriad of diverse, emerging Latinx voices.”
The Latin American Season includes works that tackle urgent socio-political issues such as domestic and gendered violence in Mariana Malena’s Mad Girl’s Love Song, based on the eponymous poem by Sylvia Plath, alongside Juan Pablo Aguilera Justiniano’s La Jana which recalls the devastating 2010 Chilean earthquake; invoking a timely plea of Chilean and working-class people around the world.
The effect of toxic masculinity is showcased in Santiago Peluffo Soneyra’s Point of No Return, which posits salient questions about the influence a particular space can impose on one’s identity. In Lance Belville and Carlos Ambrosi’s Qadaffi’s Cook, that imposing space is presided over by Muammar Qaddafi, as two young Mexican chefs get caught in the tailspin of the Libyan dictator. In Letters to my Dead Mother, Ana Carolina Borges examines themes of expatriation, ancestry and grief in an intensely personal ode to her deceased mother.
The comic, bitter and bawdy are intertwined in Franko Figueiredo’s Cabaret Corsair which employs the framework of iconic Latinx and Hollywood films to question if they are strong influences on determining our contemporary behaviours and values. Obsession and celebrity are explored in Abilio Estévez’s Freddie, which sees its eponymous character worship at the shrine of his idol and alter ego — a flamboyant shape-shifting deity with an incredible vocal range and huge charisma.
The John Thaw Latin American Season presents a celebration of Latin American voices and brings complex and nuanced socio-cultural, -political and –personal issues to the fore, through what will be an enthralling and electrifying season of Latinx art. The season runs from 22 January – 9 April and all shows are available to book here.
For more information, contact Jamie Tuohy, Marketing and Communications Manager, The Actors Centre: [email protected] / 020 3841 6600.
Notes to Editors:
About the John Thaw Initiative
The John Thaw Initiative offers a platform for artists to take creative risks and achieve vital feedback with work still in development, without any financial pressure. Previous seasons have included the Mental Health Season where each show was followed by a post-show Q&A; the Graduate Season, featuring work by graduating drama students, the Blacktress UK Season, offering opportunities exclusively for women of the African diaspora; Working Class Stories in association with Actor Awareness; the Queer Season, curated by ThisIsOtherland; and most recently the Motherhood(s) Season.
About The Actors Centre
Established in 1978, The Actors Centre is the UK’s leading professional development organisation, supporting actors and creative talent throughout their careers. Through an unrivalled programme of diverse workshops and masterclasses — led by distinguished practitioners from the worlds of theatre, film and television — The Actors Centre provides an essential space for actors to network, share and create.
The Actors Centre is also home to the Tristan Bates Theatre, established in 1994 by Sir Alan Bates in memory of his son. As the Centre’s flagship venue, the Tristan Bates Theatre champions new writing and presents a year-round programme of work from emerging and established artists as well as world-renowned theatre companies.
About Untold Collectiv
Untold Collectiv is a London-based organisation founded in 2018, dedicated to creating platforms for underrepresented artists to showcase their work and access the industry.
In June 2019, Untold Collectiv launched Latinx Scratch, an initiative that seeks to increase visibility for Latinx artists within London theatre and share a diverse cultural experience with British audiences. After the success of Untold ́s two sold-out scratch nights at Theatre Deli, it was clear there was a demand for diverse stories from the Latin American community.
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