April 21, 2006

Teatro de la Tierra to Perform at UCSD Center Theatre

Teatro de la Tierra, a theatrical group which employs the arts for social change, will perform “Heroes and Legends” at 7 p.m. April 26 in the Price Center Theatre at the University of California, San Diego. The event is sponsored by the UCSD Cesar Chavez Celebration Committee and the Helen Edison Lecture Series, and is free and open to the public.

Performers Agustin Lira and Patricia Wells Solorzano take their audiences on an educational and artistic journey that evokes memories, past and present, of such  dynamic and memorable figures as Cesar Chavez, Emiliano Za-pata, Juan Cortina, Gregorio Cortez, Dolores Huerta, Reies López Tijerina, Emma Ten-ayuca, and Rodolfo Corky Gonzales.

The roots for the company go back almost as far as the heroes they write about. During the Delano Grape Strike in 1965, Lira founded El Teatro Campesino, the forerunner of Chicano theater, with Luis Valdez. They created songs and plays, performed on picket lines, at meetings and rallies, and before labor and cultural groups using satire to entertain and inform.

In 1967, César Chávez, Leader of the United Farm Workers, gave Lira a small task: to create a song by the next day, the beginning of the famous Delano march to Sacramento. For one month, the marchers sang Lira’s “La Peregrinacion” — the pilgrimage — which became the anthem of the UFW movement. Solorzano joined El Teatro de la Tierra in 1975.

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