By: Ashmar Mandou
Theater enthusiasts gathered at the Chicago Cultural Center Friday, Feb. 24th to welcome the city’s new Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “The new CLATA project is a perfect addition to Chicago’s already rich cultural landscape,” said Mayor Emanuel. “CLATA will give our city’s Latino artists and performers greater visibility and enhance our standing as a world-class theater destination, starting with the International Latino Theater Festival.”
Chicago Latino Theater Alliance was created in late 2016 by a consortium of Chicago cultural institutions, led by Carlos Tortolero, president and founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art, together with Carlos Hernandez of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, Pepe Vargas of the International Latino Cultural Center and Myrna Salazar. “We have a tremendous opportunity to propel Latino playwrights and actors into the forefront of Chicago Theater,” said Myrna Salazar, executive director, CLATA, and the one who has spearheaded this endeavor. “The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance exists to build a stronger foundation for the future Latino theater community.”
Chicago Latino Theater Alliance is committed to inciting, fostering and showcasing new thought provoking works of emerging Latino playwrights, while preserving and promoting the best works of classic and contemporary artists, to inspire a cross-cultural audience. CLATA aspires to build a stronger foundation for the future Latino theater community, in Chicago and throughout the country. “With the historic establishment of the Chicago Latino Theatre Alliance by Chicago’s premier Latino cultural organizations, we have confirmed that Chicago is the arts and culture capital of Latino USA,” said Martin R. Castro, founding board chair of CLATA.
“We’re especially thrilled to commission works by emerging Latino playwrights for the Chicago Latino International Theater Festival and immerse audiences in high-quality productions,” Salazar said. In addition to bringing visibility to Latino artists, Salazar expects to increase awareness about theater among Latinos, and grow audiences for Latino and mainstream theater productions in Chicago.
Photo Credit: Berenice Vargas