Chicano Legacy Project (2011-2017)

Since 2011, About...Productions' Chicano Legacy Project has drawn upon the rich history of the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 1970s and has several integrated components:

RESIDENCY

An intergenerational Young Theaterworks (YT) program for East L.A. greatest-risk youth in which students interviewed significant Chicana/o elders. They then collaboratively created 14 short plays based on these interviews over the course of 5 years. In 2016, a selection of these plays were chosen to form the basis of a new script titled I:Witness.

PREMIERE

For the first time in the history of the YT program, a student-written play was produced as a full production in April, 2017. The I: Witness script featured filmmaker Jesus Treviño, poets Marisela Norte and Gloria Enedina Alvarez, and muralist/visual aritst Yreina Cervantez. Presented at Plaza de la Raza's Margo Albert Theatre, the production included student and professional actors.

ENCUENTRO

This free public program featured esteemed Chicana/o elders from the Chicano Legacy Project. In partnership with the Chicano Resource Center at the East L.A. Library, our Encuentros engaged audiences in conversation with Project elders, and also included excerpts from the I:Witness script. In 2016, filmmaker Jesus Treviño was in conversation with journalist Luis Torres. Our second Encuentro in 2017 featured visual artist and muralist Yreina Cervantez with two younger artist/activists chosen by Cervantez to be in dialogue with -- Sandy Rodriguez and Margaret Alarcon.

Now more than ever Latino youth need to be inspired to fulfill their academic promise. With nearly double the national dropout rate[1], Latino public high school students need to be empowered to graduate.

Since 2011, About...Production’s Chicano Legacy Project has worked to empower highest-risk Latino youth by drawing on inspiring Latino/a figures, and the rich and inspiring history of the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 70s, a period of dramatic civil rights activity. Although centered in the East L.A. community, students and many community members are unaware of this powerful history and the inspiring accomplishments of those affected by it.

Through About…Productions’ intensive 12-week Young Theaterworks Through the Ages residency program, students interviewed significant Chicano elders and collaboratively created short plays based on their lives and stories. At the end of the residency, professional actors alongside willing students performed the short plays for the public and their peers in culminating staged readings. Students saw their work come to life and were ultimately transformed through the 12-week process.

Since 2001, About...Productions Young Theaterworks program has served L.A. County’s greatest-risk youth high school students. Through innovative residencies, About...Productions works with students to improve literacy, communication, and collaboration skills. By harnessing these skills, students in the Young Theaterworks program receive higher grades in school, graduate high school at higher rates and most importantly, are empowered to become stewards of their community’s history.

[1] National Center for Education Statistics. (2012) Digest of Education Statistics 1960-2012.

Chicano Legacy Project events are co-sponsored by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. Chicano Legacy Programs are supported, in part, by the California Arts Council, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Eastside Arts Initiative, The Flourish Foundation, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.