Latina Theatre Lab was one of the first and only all-Latina collective of writers, performers, and directors in the U.S. in the 1990s. Their performance-sketch work dealt with pop culture, immigration, cross-cultural identities, and the complexities of 'being Latina.' Latina Theatre Lab was founded in 1994 by four San Francisco Bay Area actresses: Dena Martinez, Jaime Lujan, Tessa Koning-Martinez and Wilma Bonet. Their purpose was to create theater that would go beyond the ever shrinking and limited range of roles for which Latina actresses were being considered. These roles were scarce, and rarely defied stereotypes. From 1994-2000, Latina Theatre Lab's work played with these cultural and gender stereotypes, exploring the legacies they inherited both as Latinas and as women. The original Lab grew into a unique company with an ensemble of eight actresses plus an extended family, whose roots reached from California to South America to the Caribbean. They also collaborated with Culture Clash, the Asian American Theater Company, and the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. Latina Theatre Lab toured throughout the Bay Area, and led workshops and symposiums, as well as staged readings of prominent, new and up and coming Latina Playwrights. In 1996, Latina Theatre Lab received the Artistas Activas en la Comunidad Award from BANELA (Bay Area Network of Latinas). Lab members Andrea Thome and Marlène Ramírez-Cancio later founded Fulana, a Latina video and satire collective in New York City.
Our purpose is to provide Latina Theater Artists with a professional environment in which they can write, act, and produce their own work, while providing an opportunity for the development of the Latina Voice and sensibility, mirroring humanitarian themes that highlight our universality and which bridge the gap between cultures and gender.
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