Theatre Troupes Create History
El Teatro Campesino
El Teatro Campesino
was made in 1965 and consisted primarily of Chicano farmworkers. El Teatro Campesino started by only performing for their fellow farmworkers, but soon branched out within a year and started to perform around all of California.
Their main purpose for performing was to raise awareness to the Mexican and American people about the grape strike that was happening and to raise money for the workers who were on strike.
By 1967, the theatre troupe was not just focusing on raising awareness about the farmworker’s strike, but broader national matters that needed to be highlighted.
El Teatro Campesino’s purpose was to now make people mindful of larger political topics such as racism, the Vietnam War, the roots of indigenous people, and education in America. By emphasizing these matters, people started to become more cognizant of the Mexican American culture and how they have been treated to centuries.
Through El Teatro Campesino’s Chicano movement, the troupe, Luis Valdez, and more importantly the Chicano community started to become recognized nationwide.
El Teatro de la Esperanza
Students from the school of Santa Barbara, California, formed El Teatro de la Esperanza in July of 1971. This theatre troupe made sure that they would be a part of the civil rights movement representing the Latino community.
With the help of Jorge A. Huerta, the director of this theatre troupe, they were determined to make a statement through Chicano theatre. With his six students, he began to rehearse and educate Mexican influenced plays.
With the influence of Teatro Campesino and their inspirations impacting the Mexican American civil rights movement, El Teatro de la Esperanza was able to grow into one of the most significant theatre troupes known today for the Latino community. Through the studies of Chicano theatre and history, this theatre troupe was able to impact not just their community, but also the communities all around the country. El Teatro de la Esperanza played an instrumental part of also getting young college students involved in this movement by being active as a college unit.
The influence of the young people helped many other theatre troupes start to join the band wagon and grow as one wholesome supportive active community. El Teatro de la Esperanza is still an active Chicano theatre troupe today!