I started working with the Colectiva, as part of a group called “grupo soul, which focused on providing psychological support to the women. I began by utilizing theatrical exercises towards building self esteem and creative capacities. They soon showed interest to explore the theatrical language further, and proposed that a space was created to express their ideas and concerns.

That is how the Teatro de la Colectiva was born, working mostly with work related themes, as most of the participants are also facilitators who directly assist sister immigrant women with work related issues, often abuse.

The first work that we created was a Pastorela or traditional Mexican shepherd play. It was called The Border Pastorela which was performed during Christmas time to the community. After that, we set out to create an original piece that dealt with work-related abuse and worker’s rights. The play Breaking the Silence of My Hands, mixed didactic themes with the story of an immigrant family and their dreams, and played to sold-out houses.

As an artist working in the community, it is clear to me that I am no longer following my self expressive needs, but rather that I am a context provider for the community members to express their own content. I never had much interest to be involved in politics, so it was hard to define myself as an activist.

Photos: Víctor Cartagena
(top right) / Edna Barron (across)



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