Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date



The origins of U.S. Latina1 theater and performance can be situated in the Southwest during the time this geographical region was still under Spanish colonial domination.2 Historically, Latinas have contributed to all the creative and technical components of U.S. theater and performance from its incipiency. I begin this chapter with a brief overview starting in the twentieth century and offer an example of an early type of performance, and then I proceed to focus, primarily, on the works created since 1980, briefly analyzing three Latina plays. Anglo American theater has slowly begun to recognize and incorporate theatrical cultural productions by Latinas (and Latinos) into its canon. But just when it seems that members of this ethnic group are being incorporated into mainstream theater, it becomes apparent that less than 2 percent of the plays produced in the United States are written by them.3 Given this virtual invisibility, I will address issues of self-representation and empowerment and at Ihe same time attempt to contest the stereotypical and racist depictions historically created. Latina dramatic artists have chosen to voice their own concerns regarding issues of identity formation as subjects who constantly inhabit a liminal cultural space where multiple aspects of their cultures (mainstream and marginal) overlap. Furthermore, their contestation also addresses issues of gender and sexual discrimination from within their own ethnic groups, especially starting in the late 1970s when the first wave of Latina feminism produced empowering literary works that were later transformed and transferred to the stage.4


Norma E. Cantú & María E. Fránquiz




Palgrave Macmillan


New York


9780230621787, 9781349383528

Publication Information

Inside the Latin@ Experience: A Latin@ Studies Reader