Decolonization Stories: window opens for commission consideration
Updated: Feb 13
AlterTheater and La Lengua Teatro en Español are working together to commission three to five one-act plays, centering the voices of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx playwrights.
We are looking to commission playwrights ready to write back against the legacy of European colonization in the Americas, in Spanish, Portuguese, Native languages, or English. These will be developed and presented as part of La Lengua’s 2022/2023 season in San Francisco, CA.
Why now? The prompt
On Juneteenth 2020, protestors toppled the statue of Junipero Serra in Golden Gate Park. In 2021, a local high school removed a colonizer's name and renamed their school the Archie Williams High School.
2021 is the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire to Spanish colonizers, It's been 530 years since European colonizers got lost and stumbled across Turtle Island.
Decolonizing 500+ years requires that we debunk and counter the myth of Junipero Serra, Sir Francis Drake, and other white saviors. Decolonizing requires that we center stories of resistance, of celebration, and truth telling by Native, Black, Chicano and Latinx storytellers. It's time to tell the true history and to imagine a decolonized future.
Now is also time to support Native language revitalization efforts. As young Native people are taught their traditional language in more and more schools and language immersion programs take root, we hope to encourage Native playwrights and storytellers to incorporate their traditional language in their work. It's time to decolonize language, to de-center English.
“We are looking to commission stories that write back against the legacy of European
colonization in California, and beyond” says La Lengua Founder and Artistic Director, Virginia Blanco. “Our goal is to center the voices of Latinx, Black, and Indigenous playwrights writing in Spanish and languages Native to the Americas.”
Decolonization Stories: Commission
We are seeking playwrights who write in Spanish, and/or Native languages (from all the Americas) to send in any script or writing sample that they feel is representative of their work in light of this prompt. We will also consider writers writing in Spanglish, Portuguese or English.* We especially invite submissions from Indigenous writers throughout the Americas – Turtle Island and Central and South America, as well as Afro-Indigenous and Afro-Latinx writers. We will be accepting submissions starting on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, October 11th, and ending on December 13th, 2021.
From the submissions we receive, we will choose 3 to 5 playwrights for a Decolonization Stories Commission. The Decolonization Stories Commission includes a playwright residency, a workshop, and public performances.
From the submissions we receive, will will select 3 to 5 playwrights to each write a 1-Act play. The Decolonization Stories Commission includes a 12-week playwright residency and a workshop in the summer of 2022. “This commission will follow the same model we use in our program AlterLab First Acts,” says twice-commissioned AlterLab playwright and leader of AlterLab First Acts Diana Burbano (GHOSTS OF BOGOTÁ). “We developed that program in response to damage done to BIPOC students in higher education settings. It was important that we used the same approach for the Decolonization Stories Commission because our voices have been deliberately and historically silenced and this commission is an opportunity to speak back and speak loudly.”
Decolonization Stories Commission playwrights will meet weekly over the course of 12 weeks, beginning in April.
Each playwright will write a 1-Act play in response to the prompt.
Commissioned plays will be workshopped over Summer 2022
Commissioned plays will be publicly presented in the Fall of 2022.
*this list is set by the limitations and capacity of our team, and we recognize that not all experiences of colonization in the Americas will be included in this pilot year
More info and to Apply:
To be considered for a Decolonization Commission submission, writers can apply here
- At least one writing sample
- A one-paragraph statement of career goals and aspirations
- A one-paragraph statement of why you felt drawn to this submission call
- A one-paragraph statement about community ties you have that help you tell a story in response to this prompt
Decolonization Stories Commission submissions are being accepted now!