DCPA Community Engagement Uplifts Cebollas and Local Organizations

Jesús Quintana Martínez representing DCPA Community Engagement

Denver Center Theatre Company’s upcoming world premiere production, Cebollas, tells the story of three Latina sisters taking an unexpected road trip (with no ulterior motives at all). New Mexican culture is at the forefront of this new play as the sisters bicker and reminisce, driving past familiar locales between Albuquerque and Denver.

Theatre Company management makes intentional choices to portray diverse characters and stories that aren’t traditionally shared on stages. This allows diverse audience members from throughout the community an opportunity to see themselves, their own culture, and their own stories onstage, which is an incredibly powerful thing. It also allows audiences who aren’t familiar with cultures different from their own a glimpse into their experiences.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Community Engagement team takes that experience one step further. Throughout the process of bringing Cebollas to life and throughout the performance run, the Community Engagement team has partnered with different organizations to make theatre accessible, relatable, and inspiring.

For each Theatre Company production, an internal design conference takes place. This allows everyone who takes part in the show, from marketing to dramaturgy, to listen to the production’s creative team members share their goals for the show. This means hearing the costume designer, the scenic designer, the lighting designer, and more share their creative vision. For Community Engagement, this meant bringing in community leaders to attend and share their insight into Latiné culture and representation.

On January 5, a workshop and conversation was hosted by Cebollas’ dramaturg Dr. Xiomara Cornejo in the Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre. Denver Cafecito, a local organization of “Latinx individuals and support network focused on public policy and other issues” was in attendance. The conversation covered representation, oppression, and other pressing topics for minority communities as well as the themes of Cebollas including sisterhood, family dynamics, and personal growth.

Coming soon on January 25, several local Latiné organizations will be in attendance for the final Cebollas dress rehearsal. Noche de Chingonas will start with a reception in the Bonfils Theatre Complex’s Directors Room where community members can connect and learn more about the making of a Theatre Company production from some of the artistic team. Then, everyone will be invited to see the final dress rehearsal of Cebollas.

Other community groups will be in attendance throughout the run of Cebollas, including the Epic Scholars Program at MSU Denver and a Latina Professionals Night with invited members of Denver Cafecito and other local community leaders.

Lastly, public community conversations will take place twice during the Cebollas run. Both conversations are open to those who attended the evening’s performance on February 22 and 29. These fun and engaging discussions take place between the actors and the audience, facilitated by a community leader.

Explore the DCPA’s community events at its newly launched webpage: denvercenter.org/community. Each production has a story to tell, and the Community Engagement team is working to share them with people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds.