At an age where children are extremely impressionable, Teatro Dallas brings them into the world of theater. The impact of these educational theater workshops has changed many lives and futures by opening a world of encouragement and opportunities.
“Not necessarily becoming theater professionals, but actually having the children go to college is the most rewarding part of it,” revealed Cora Cardona, co-founder of Teatro Dallas. “It’s a long-term result. We see young adults that came as children are now going to college. Many of them were kids that potentially weren’t going to go to college.”
In the workshops, children begin their acting experiences by participating in theater games, improvisations, stage timing, voice, physical exercises, and movement. Next, they learn about the country connected to their production and its culture. They use musical instruments from different countries to accent movement and time. By utilizing sound effects, they learn how to create tension, smoothness, dreamlike situations, etc.
To allow many of the children to attend workshops, businesses and donors fund the program with scholarships.
A grant from Subaru of America Foundation enabled Teatro Dallas to hold a five-week workshop for community children. The children learned about mask movement, mythology, geography, and the history of Indonesia. The program culminated with their performance of "The Widow and the Wealthy Neighbor," an Indonesian folktale by Tim Wheatly.
Summer theater program funded by Subaru. Photos: Leticia Alaniz.
Teatro Dallas was created to portray the culture of the Latino community onstage. In 1985, Cardona came from Mexico with a theater background. Once in Dallas, Texas, she recognized this need in the Dallas community.
Since then, the theater has put on seasonal productions, hosted workshops, and participated in the International Theater Festival. The International Theater Festival promotes diverse cultures through the performing arts, brings in artists who come to collaborate and teach, and hosts productions by local groups.
This small theater holds only 65 seats and often is sold out. Future plans include a large facility and expansion of educational programming.
Learn more about Teatro Dallas online or view its video.