Who we are is because of who and what we interact with, the experiences we have and the experiences of others close to us. These experiences are both mediated by digital social technologies and are unmediated or face-to-face. In essence, life and living is a series of interactions. It is an ongoing dynamic process of collaboration, social and situational interactions that over time shape who we are, what we do, and how we see the world. Beyond school and for many beyond university, much of who we become is shaped be our world of work and the communication and interactions within that world. Today while reading about the Arts Alliance Illinois, a state initiative to raise the profile of the Arts and Arts Education throughout the state of Illinois, I stumbled upon a video of a talk delivered about the work life story of - Tanya Saracho. A talk in which Tanya explains how collaboration in her workplace shaped her, her voice, the voices of those around her and their creative process which grew into a theatre company.
Tanya tells her experience of being an aspiring actress in 1998 in Chicago Illinois, a young women who because of the forces around her, helped shape an idea to start a Theatre Company. Her world of work was then controlled by the perceptions of others and their expectations of what she should be and what role she should play as a Latina Actress. Expectations that often judged her culture, her gender, her race and ethnicity. Expectations that didn’t showcase and champion her artistic talents or the life stories she felt were not being told. Instead they judged her – casting call after casting call. These experiences led Tanya to the idea of creating a theatre company.
Through a collaboration that started between Coya Paz and Tanya Saracho that grew into an ensemble of 10 women from diverse Latina/Hispana backgrounds, Teatro Luna in 2000 was born. A theatre company formed through on group of women each sharing stories and experiences, an ecological system of collaboration and cocreation based on sharing. The sharing of stories, from which the group learnt. Creating meaning in who they were, what they were doing and in this, created a voice and the power to share with hundreds of people who came to see their productions, the stories of Latina/Hispana women and their communities.
Why was this collaborative group so important to each of these women and the formation of the organisation that is known as Teatro Luna? Tanya states it very eloquently: “In the group there were no outside forces telling us women could not be funny.” It became a supportive and dynamic collaboration that evolved from the interactions of a group of artistic women, cocreating a creative process, a process formed from discussion, sharing and learning about the stories of others, stories of Latina/Hispana women with the central idea of telling these stories through the medium of Theatre.
Teatro Luna is Chicago’s first and only all-Latina theatre, organized for the purpose of exploring the varied experiences and cultures of Latina/Hispana women, showcasing their creative talents and telling the often political, social and emotional stories of their communities. This is a wonderful and insightful story on how collaboration through the power of stories when shared both within and outside our organisational communities, shared through communication, shapes us. And as I spoke about in my last blog post everything communicates not just the words we use.
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