East LA Classic Theatre
East LA Classic Theatre provides engaging adaptations of theatrical masterpieces and comprehensive literacy instruction to disadvantaged youth in minority communities. Its programs are designed to serve three complementary goals: to develop literacy skills; to cultivate minority readers, writers, and audiences; and to create a new bicultural theater aesthetic emphasizing great classics of world drama. The company operates under the Actor’s Equity Association’s Theater for Young Audiences contract which ensures that the actors employed are trained professionals. All actors are members of the union or are given the opportunity to join when working in the company's productions. These performers are all skilled in entertaining and engaging with diverse, young audiences. East LA Classic Theatre offers children in elementary, middle, and high school comprehensive literacy skills, English language development, and interpersonal awareness programs as part of the school curriculum and through after-school, theater-based courses that expose youth to theater in a fun, contemporary, and interactive manner.
As part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, East LA Classic Theatre will bring performances of its renowned bilingual adaptation, Much Ado About Nothing – Mariachi Style, to underserved public schools in Southern California during the 2012-2013 school year. The production is set in California in 1862, just after the great Battle of Puebla, the Mexican victory over the French now celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. Claudio and Benedick, two Mexican soldiers, return from battle and find themselves in love with beautiful Hero, the Mayor’s daughter, and Beatrice, her headstrong cousin. This interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies becomes an exploration into California’s cultural history, while dramatizing the destructive results of gossip and racism. This musical and educational adaptation was created, in part, to assist schools to meet the California State Board of Education’s history and social science curriculum while also fulfilling visual and performing arts standards. Each performance will have an educational component delivered by the company, and trained teaching artists will teach pre- and post-performance in-classroom workshops.