The San Diego Repertory Theatre's newly announced Latinx New Play Festival, which launches this fall for the first time, will be a new way for theatre to develop and showcase works by Latino writers.
The theater has been home to more than 50 mainstage productions of Latino plays since its inception.
The festival had been in the works for several years now, Sam Woodhouse, the Rep's Artistic Director, told NBC 7. It's part of the theatre's commitment to be a truly regional theater and reflect and represent the voices of the San Diego community.
"It's only logical that we would formalize our process of finding new Latino plays for audiences with a festival," Woodhouse said.
The festival, which will take place Sept. 2 and 3 at The Lyceum Theatres in Horton Plaza, will feature four new plays written by established Latino and Latina playwrights.
The inaugural event will feature readings of “Fabulous Monsters” by Diana Burbano, “El Cipitio: A Salvadorian Odyssey” by Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza with Randy Ertll, “Guadalupe in the Guest Room” by Tony Meneses and “(W)holeness” by Lily Padilla.
Culture Clash founders Salinas and Siguenza will open the festival with their play, based on Randy Ertll's novel. The play tells the tale of El Cipitio, a three-foot-tall dark Indio with backward feet, as he travels from myth into the bloody history of El Salvador.
Next up will be Burbano's new play, developed in the Latino Theatre Alliance/LA's Playwrights Nest Festival. The work is about two friends who meet when punk rock rules Los Angeles, and how their friendship changes decades later.
Padilla, an MFA candidate at UC San Diego, will follow with her story of a support group for sex addicts, a comedy about addiction, identity and sex.
Closing out the festival is Meneses' play about life, new beginnings and the healing power of telenovelas. The piece follows Steve, a man mourning the loss of his wife, and her mother, who is working to translate the woman's works into Spanish.
The choices for the inaugural festival represent a wide range of topics and playwrights producing new work, Woodhouse said.
"I think the festival also proves that Latino writers don't just write about identity," Woodhouse added. "They write about many things of interest."
The cast and directors involved will likely be mostly Latino, Woodhouse said.
"That alone is a distinctive and believe me absolutely unique kind of occurrence locally, and rare, nationally," Woodhouse said.
In the future, the Rep hopes the festival will grow: longer pieces, possibly even adding full productions, seminars, special guests and more.
Admission to the festival is free. Tickets can be reserved at sdrep.org or by calling 619.544.1000.