As we all continue adapting our daily lives around the current pandemic, the health and safety of El Teatro Campesino’s staff, artists, and audiences are of the utmost importance to us. We also know that arts and cultura are integral in carrying us through these challenging times and we are committed to continuing to serve as a beacon of hope within our communities. It is with this in mind that El Teatro Campesino and its artists have actively been seeking ways to overcome the barriers to safely reach our audiences this holiday season.
El Teatro Campesino’s longest running productions have been the biennial holiday shows: “La Virgen del Tepeyac” and “La Pastorela” — which have been performed in one fashion or another unbroken since 1971 in San Juan Bautista. As our tradition would have it, this 2020 holiday season we were set to perform “La Virgen del Tepeyac.” Originally adapted by Luis Valdez from the Mexican folk tradition, ETC’s pageant play dramatizes the four apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Indigenous messenger Juan Diego in 1531. The Teatro’s version of this popular story is a joyous celebration for this time of the year and is part of the spiritual, cultural, and historical heritage in this region.
In order to keep our beloved tradition this year, we have reimagined what our production of “La Virgen del Tepeyac” could look like in the face of this pandemic, and just like our founder Luis Valdez said with the beginnings of El Teatro Campesino: “if the people don’t go to the theater, the theater must go to the people…” Thus, it is with great excitement that we announce TWO WAYS to experience the timeless story of love and hope from the comforts of home this year: a New Radio Play Adaptation of “La Virgen del Tepeyac” and Video on Demand of an archival 2008 production.
The new Radio Play Adaptation will first premiere December 9th-12th on local partnering radio stations. On the morning of December 12th, through the ETC website, we will be premiering a special “Mañanitas” 6am free screening of our 2008 cast’s performance of “La Virgen del Tepeyac” performed inside Mission San Juan Bautista. Shortly after the free screening, that same Archival Video will be available through Vimeo On Demand for a short rental period and can be enjoyed throughout the remaining month of December. (English and Spanish subtitling will be available with this archival video.) And that’s not all… our New Radio Play will also be made available through our website December 12th.
Please stay tuned via our social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well as our website as we share more details. For a number of reasons this holiday season will not be the same, but we hope this special offering to our community helps keep our spirits up. Continued well wishes for good health, love, and safety to everyone. We cannot wait until we can be together again.