In FY13, NYSCA awarded Pregones Theater $90,000 through our Regional Economic Development Council program to plan and implement a merger with another NYC based Latinx theater company in order to grow from a single-stage to dual-stage company, provide employment opportunities and produce high-quality work for underserved theater audiences.
The merger was finalized the following year with Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre (PRTT), and NYSCA has since continued to fund Pregones/PRTT through our Theatre, Presenting, and Regional Economic Development Council programs. In addition, the Theater Subdistrict Council awarded the organization $500,000 for its Plataforma project, “The Bronx-Broadway Showcase for Latino Theater,” devoted to developing new works.
This week, American Theatre Magazine – a publication of fellow NYSCA grantee Theatre Communications Group – singled out the company in a feature by Fabiana Cabral titled “Two Theatres, Both Home,” showing how collaboration and resource sharing have made two organizations far more than the sum of their parts.
A few highlights from the article:
“The primary challenge for both companies was how to merge their approaches. While Pregones’s tight-knit ensemble created or adapted most of the works they have staged—hits like El bolero fue mi ruina, Dancing in My Cockroach Killers, Baile Cangrejero, El apagón/The Blackout, and more—PRTT was known for staging classics and new plays, in English and Spanish, from Puerto Rico, Spain, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, and other Latin American countries, as well as plays by U.S.-based artists.”
“It is not easy for a minority population to own both cultural specificity and claim their place in performance history. Pregones/PRTT is dedicated to reminding everyone that Latinx theatre is a not a niche market, nor is it a simple exercise in maintaining diversity ‘cred.’ Latinx theatre is a vital part of the American theatre, despite receiving little attention in mainstream media outlets.”
“[W]hile Pregones and PRTT have pooled resources and artists, Rolón explained, they ‘didn’t want to just merge the identities of the theatres, but rather respect and honor what each stands for.’ Soldanela Rivera, an artist on the board of the merged company, described it metaphorically: ‘The organization began with puertorriqueños. We have two lands—now this theatre has two lands, one uptown, one downtown. We live here, and we have a home there, and our heart is wherever we are.'”