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News & Press: ATHE News

2014 Conference Committee Announces Keynote Speaker Luis Alfaro

Monday, March 3, 2014  
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The DREAM ACTS conference committee met in Scottsdale this past January where we were excited to program over 300 sessions and a record 14 pre- and post-conference events.

We also talked extensively about the many layers of the question “what does it mean for us to be here together?” We pondered the vexed politics and poetics of “here” - of convening in the Arizona desert, particularly given the state’s recent legislative history. We met with local artists, activists, and scholars to ensure that we were attending to their visions and actions - many of which emphasized the conference thematic of resilience. We spoke of curating spaces for reflection at the conference. To that end, we have programmed multiple receptions and gatherings, site specific performances that move us through the space of the hotel and the region beyond its boundaries.

Conference programming also works to animate how theater can respond to “crisis” moments. Playwright/ performer/director Luis Alfaro will engage this possibility in his keynote address alongside ATHE interlocutor Tiffany Ana Lopéz. An all-ATHE plenary on “Dream Activism” will bridge locally-specific activism and performance with a national imperative for responsive pedagogy in higher education. We plan to extend the conference theme into this year's membership meeting, as we invite all our members to share their dreams for the future of ATHE - contested though they may be.

There will be a variety of paid workshops at the conference including one from keynote speaker Luis Alfaro on the art of devising plays, a directing workshop led by Kinan Valdez, and - in response to members’ requests for Lecoq-based approaches - two physical theater workshops from New Mexico’s Teatro Grottesco. Over the next several months we’ll be adding conference updates to the ATHE newsletter and blog postings on the ATHE website from conference committee members and invited guests. We’ll offer information on how to reduce conference costs and increase conviviality by sharing rides and rooms, and how to get to and around our hotel site. We will ensure, as much as possible, that we create a welcoming space for all ATHE members. Stay tuned—and we hope that you join us in Scottsdale July 24-27.

About Keynote Speaker/Workshop Leader Luis Alfaro

Luis Alfaro is a theater artist who works in playwriting, performance, poetry, short fiction, and journalism. A Chicano born and raised in downtown Los Angeles, he is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, popularly known as a “genius grant,” awarded to people who have demonstrated expertise and exceptional creativity in their respective fields. He is a recent recipient of a 2013-16 Mellon Artist in Residence at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a 2012 Joyce Foundation Fellowship recipient. In addition to recognition of his work by the National Endowment for the Arts, Alfaro is the only playwright to have received two Kennedy Center Fund for New American Play awards in the same year. A former Resident Artist at the Mark Taper Forum for ten years, he served as Director of New Play Development. His plays and performances have been seen throughout the Americas and Europe and include St. Jude; Mojada; Aesop in Rancho Cucamonga; Painting in Red; Alleluia the Road; Bruja; Oedipus El Rey; Electricidad; Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner; Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Piñata Woman & Other Super Hero Girls, Like Me; No Holds Barrio; Bitter Homes & Gardens; Straight as a Line; and Body of Faith. Alfaro has taught throughout the country, including at the University of California, Riverside, where he was a Regents’ Lecturer (1999-2000). He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California in the MFA Dramatic Writing Program. He has also received awards for his solo recording, down town, and an Emmy for his short film, Chicanismo; his first screenplay, From Prada to Nada, was produced and released by Lionsgate. Alfaro’s work has been featured in over twenty-five anthologies, including O Solo Homo -The New Queer Performance; Extreme Exposure - Solo Performance Texts From the Twentieth Century; and La Vida Latino en L.A. - Urban Latino Cultures.

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