On August 3rd at 8:00 PM, the Paso Nuevo and Summer Youth program will present Blood Wedding at GALA Theatre’s Main Stage. This adaptation, by GALA veteran Cornelia Cody, of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play will explore gang warfare in our city through a bilingual performance that will be FREE and open to the public. Throughout the summer, the Paso Nuevo program brings together a diverse group of youth from across the District and provides the unique opportunity for students to learn about self-expression through theater and art. It also incorporates all aspects of theater arts to provide a safe and collaborative environment for building self-esteem, developing language and communication skills, and strengthening cultural identity. GALA offers this FREE after-school theater program to students ages 13 to 18 in fall, spring and summer, and all workshops culminate in a final performance followed by a talk-back with students and members of the community.
Paso Nuevo is one of the many ways GALA is serving our youth and community. In addition to its after-school program, the theater hosts a series of Mainstage matinees for students in middle through high school and GALita matinees for our elementary students throughout the school year. These discounted performances are designed to align with the Common Core ELA standards and integrate art with the classroom and curriculum through bilingual study guides, vocabulary guides, and activities. These performances are more than just shows, they are a key component in helping educate our youth in a fun and meaningful way that also allows them to share in the richness of diverse perspectives. After performances, these experiences are reinforced through conversations and interaction with the actors who allow students to engage in a dialogue beyond the stage.
Access to theater and the arts is invaluable to our youth, and according to a 2012 study by the National Endowment of Arts, having exposure to these kinds of enriching, art-centered experiences has been shown to benefit students through improved academic performance across the board. In particular, arts activity among at-risk and lower-income youth correlates to a positive outcome both in academics and civic engagements. But our children aren’t the only ones who benefit from this incredible asset – the value of GALA is that it serves our WHOLE community.
Founded by Hugo Medrano and Rebecca Read, the GALA (Grupo de Artistas Latino Americanos) Theatre has evolved and grown since 1976 to become one of the country’s leading Spanish theaters. Developing and producing works that explore the breadth of Latinx performing arts, GALA provides opportunities for Latino artists to share their stories while engaging the entire community in an exchange of ideas and perspectives. GALA Theatre recently hosted an outdoor production Out of the Shadows in the heart of Columbia Heights. Using the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, our community was able to share in the very personal experiences and delicate stories about a gamut of issues that undocumented workers who hail from Central America often face, including wage theft, along with creative responses to the removal of TPS (Temporary Protected Status).
For almost four decades, GALA has opened up a space where artists can come together on and off the stage to promote and share the Latino arts and cultures for audiences. As our community continues to face the challenges of preserving our diversity and protecting the rights of many of our immigrant friends and neighbors, GALA provides an opportunity for our Latino community, especially its youth, to see themselves on stage. Highlighting their stories for all to see and hear through their performances, GALA gives voice to many who too often go underrepresented and unheard.
Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) will kick of GALA’s 2018-2019 subscription series starting September 6 and running through October 7. For more information and a full list of upcoming performances, you can visit GALA’s website.
Starting in September, GALA Theatre will begin its matinee series with 6 student matinees for high and middle school students for Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) -September 20,21,27,28; October 5,6. There will be 10 student matinees for Between Earth and Sky for elementary school students followed by talk-backs – October 15,16,17,18,19,22,23,24,25,26
If you would like to help support the great programming offered to our community, GALA Theatre is a registered nonprofit and donations are eligible for tax deductions.