ENCUENTRO DE LAS AMERICAS - 14 Theater Companies, One Vibrant Celebration

ENCUENTRO DE LAS AMERICAS - 14 Theater Companies, One Vibrant CelebrationL.A.'s Latino Theater Company will be joined by 13 companies from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Peru and Colombia for a three-week celebration of dynamic, contemporary Latinx and Latin American theater. Encuentro de Las Américas, produced by the Latino Theater Company in association with Latinx Theatre Commons, is set to take place at downtown's The Los Angeles Theatre Center from Nov. 2 through Nov. 19.

The 14 companies will present their work in repertory, with performances running simultaneously every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the five spaces that make up The LATC's multi-theater complex. The companies include 24th Street Theatre from Los Angeles, CA; Argos Teatro from Havana, Cuba: Cara Mía Theater Company from Dallas, TX; Compañía Nacional de las Artes from Bogotá, Colombia; Culture Clash from Los Angeles, CA; Ébano Teatro from Lima, Peru; Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA from Los Angeles, CA; Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center from San Antonio, TX; Latino Theater Company from Los Angeles, CA; Marga Gomez from San Francisco, CA; Nightswimming from Toronto, ON, Canada; Organización Secreta Teatro, from Mexico City, Mexico; Pregones Theater from Bronx, NY; and Vueltas Bravas from Bogotá, Colombia.

An additional 12 Los Angeles-based artists will be represented in Patas Arriba ("Upside Down"), a late night "micro-theater festival" set to take place in the "belly" of The LATC, where audiences will cycle through the non-traditional performance spaces of the building - Vault, Sub Lobby, Green Room and Tunnel - to experience four 15-minute works during each hour-long performance. Patas Arriba will take place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with two staggered start times (9:30 p.m. and 9:50 p.m.) and a different line-up of four plays each week.

A free Cinema & Music mini-festival on Tuesday and Wednesday nights will pair musical performances with screenings of soon-to be-released films, including Chavela, a new documentary about Costa Rican-Mexican singer Chavela Vargas and NALIP, an evening of short films followed by a concert by Spanish singer Patricia Kraus in her American debut.

Finally, the 26 companies will work together to share creative methodologies that will culminate in the co-creation of five new works presented on the last day of the festival. This unique collaboration offers participants an in-depth opportunity to mesh aesthetic diversity of Latinx and Latin American work, thus furthering the mission of the festival to create a global theater community.

"That's what makes our Encuentro so unique, so different from any festival here or anywhere else in the world," says Latino Theater Company artistic director José Luis Valenzuela. "It's about artists working together and creating new work."

According to Valenzuela, Encuentro de Las Américas is a natural extension of the national Encuentro presented by LTC three years ago. "In 2014, we explored the relationship of American Latinos to the rest of the theater landscape in the U.S.," he explains. "The question this time, with artists participating not only from this country, but from Canada, Latin and South America, and the Caribbean, is how can American Latinx and Latin American theater-makers have a conversation? Where are we going? How do we jointly embrace our voice?"

The Latino Theater Company is dedicated to providing a world-class arts center for those pursuing artistic excellence; a laboratory where both tradition and innovation are honored and honed; and a place where the convergence of people, cultures and ideas contribute to the future. Now in its 31st year, LTC has operated The Los Angeles Theatre Center, a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and a landmark building in Downtown's Historic Core, since 2006.

Encuentro de las Américas takes place from Nov. 2 through Nov. 19. Single tickets are $22 for students, seniors and vets and $44 general admission. Discounts are available for 2-play, 6-play and 13-play packages. Tickets to the Patas Arriba micro-theater festival are $20. Tickets to the Cinema & Music mini-festival are free. The Los Angeles Theatre Center is located at 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or go to www.thelatc.org.

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