We are honored to have playwright, director, and National Medal of the Arts winner Luis Valdez return to the Shannon Center to speak about his latest production, “Valley of the Heart.”
This is a FREE event. Tickets are not required.
The Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts is presenting a free talk on Friday, November 9th at 6:00 p.m. by internationally renowned playwright, theatre and film director Luis Valdez (Zoot Suit, La Bamba), whose five decades of art and activism have brought the struggles of migrant farmworkers and Latino community to the international stage and political forefront. Valdez, one of the most influential living American playwrights, will be speaking about his latest production, Valley of the Heart, which opens this week at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
In 1965, Valdez founded El Teatro Campesino at the height of the United Farmworkers Union’s struggle to secure basic labor and human rights for the most vulnerable of the U.S. labor force. The “actos,” or short plays, were first performed by Valdez’s theatre company from picket lines, flatbed trucks, and at pivotal historic events such as the 1965 Delano Grape Strike and the 1966 United Farmworker Union’s march to Sacramento. Through broad humor, music, song, and biting political satire, these plays gave a voice (in Spanish and English) to the Chicano’s burgeoning community and national identity formation, helping to lay the foundation for a community that the U.S. Census Bureau projects will be the majority ethnic demographic by 2050.
Growing up picking crops at the age of six alongside his parents and siblings left an indelible mark on all of his work, which honors and historicizes the farmworker, Mexican/Indigenous ancestry, Chicano identity, and social justice. El Teatro Campesino is one of the most influential and dynamic political theater companies of the 1960s and 70s. Luis Valdez’s plays are read and performed around the world. Also a screenwriter and film director, his feature films Zoot Suit and La Bamba are classics of the American and Latinx cinema. On September 22, 2016 President Barack Obama awarded Valdez the National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony, praising him for “bringing Chicano culture to American drama” and proclaiming that his body of work “illuminates the human spirit in the face of social injustice.”
And don’t forget to see “Valley of the Heart.” You can find out more and buy tickets by going to the CTG Website.