Luis Valdez on Cesar Chavez, El Teatro Campesino and the Christmas play La Pastorela

Luis Valdez, whose Christmas play La Pastorela just opened at Denver's Su Teatro, first met Cesar Chavez when he was six, growing up among the migrant workers of Delano, California, where the United Farm Workers movement took root in the nonviolent strikes and grape boycotts of the '60s and '70s.

It was in that atmosphere that Valdez formed El Teatro Campesino, performing political actos in the streets, alongside Chavez and his marchers. The young upstart, who'd studied playwriting in college and learned the ropes of street theater as a member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, brought the power of education to the table, creating a transformative wing of American theater while creating community through art. As Su Teatro's Tony Garcia says, there would be no Chicano theater without Luis Valdez.

See also: La Pastorela (The Shepherd's Play), at Su Teatro

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