Mondays at Beinecke: El Teatro Campesino with Jacob Padrón

Monday, November 6, 2023 - 4:00pm to 4:30pm
Open to: 

Zoom webinar registration:

El Teatro Campesino is featured in photographs in the current Beinecke exhibition, Art, Protest & the Archives, which notes: “As the Panthers were beginning to enact a new vision of Black Power on the streets of Oakland, another revolution unfolded in California’s grape fields, where striking Latino workers literally took to the stage to perform actos—San Joaquin Spanish for “skits”—in the newly formed El Teatro Campesino of Luis Miguel Valdez. The son of migrant farmworkers, Valdez started writing plays in college and joined the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a radical theater ensemble that used traditional forms of farce and melodrama to incite audience activism in the struggle for civil rights. When César Chavez led a strike against Delano grape growers in 1965, Valdez looked for a way to reach out. Finding simple exhortation ineffective, the young actor coaxed farmworkers to play parts in a staged act of social conflict with the simple ploy of hanging signs around their necks that identified their roles, such as Huelgista [Striker] and Esquirol [Scab]. After some initial hesitation (especially on the part of the scab), “everybody started cracking up,” Valdez remembered. Soon the room was filled with volunteers asking to play other roles. El Teatro Campesino was born.”

Jacob G. Padrón is the Artistic Director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of The Sol Project, a national theater initiative that works in partnership with leading theater companies to amplify the voices of Latinx playwrights in New York City and beyond. Padrón has held senior-level artistic positions at theater companies across the country. Jacob is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University (B.A.) and David Geffen School of Drama (M.F.A.). His first artistic home was El Teatro Campesino.

This online presentation at 4pm ET will be followed by Q&A until 5pm.