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­­¡DIGNIDAD! -- Repertorio Español’s education initiative to develop students’ understanding and appreciation for live theatre.

Mentoring Program

Through our EDUCATIONAL RESIDENCY PROGRAM, Repertorio believes that students can be introduced to careers in the arts such as acting, playwrights, designers, technicians, and administrators.

Study Guides


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Career Information
Carmen Rivera is the author of two plays produced by Repertorio Español. La Gringa was presented in 1996 as part of ¡Voces Nuevas! - the theatre's Obie-winning project in support of emerging Hispanic voices in New York theatre. In 1999, continuing its effort to represent the contemporary Latino theatre, Repertorio produced La Próxima Parada (Next Stop).

Carmen Rivera is a Nuyorican born and bred. She holds an MA in playwriting and Latin American theatre from New York University. Her plays have been produced at many New York City theatres, such as SoHo Rep, La Mama E.T.C., Theatre for a New City, INTAR, and the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe. The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Co. produced her To Catch the Lightning in 1997 and Julia de Burgos: Child of Water in 1999. Her play Plastic Flowers has been performed in theatre festivals in Russia and Chile, while amerRICAN was adapted as a short film and won "Best Screenplay" in a local film festival. Julia, which toured New York high schools, has been anthologized in a Penguin US collection of Puerto Rican theatre.

Rivera has been an O'Neill Playwrights Conference finalist, won a fellowship from New Dramatists, and earned a playwriting residency at New York Theatre Workshop. With husband Cándido Tirado, Rivera is co-founder of LEFT (Latino Experimental Fantastic Theatre), which recently produced Betty's Garage, about domestic abuse, and Positive Women, a series of pieces about Latinas living with AIDS which has been produced three times and invited to an AIDS festival in San Francisco during 2000.

Education and Language
"My parents came here as children, so they grew up American and they wanted us to be American, too. My father was raised in Hell's Kitchen where there were a lot of Italian and Irish gangs and he fought. He didn't want us to have that problem.

"My experience with Spanish was very painful because we just didn't speak it, although I remember my grandmother singing bombas to me when I was little. She was actually a bomba singer in Puerto Rico. She nearly signed a professional contract but her mother wouldn't let her go-I used that in La Gringa.

"Even though I studied Spanish in high school, when I went to Puerto Rico - I've been there quite a bit - I never understood the language. Then in college I was a double major in Economics and Spanish. Because of that the whole culture opened up to me. Now people speak to me in Spanish-my father, everybody.

"We are very divided as a people. I live in an Italian neighborhood where fourth and fifth generation children who barely speak Italian are still part of the traditional family, but my Puerto Rican cousins call me gringa. My accent doesn't help."

Becoming a Writer
Rivera's first play at Repertorio Español was La Gringa and it told a story about a young Nuyorican fascinated by returning to Puerto Rico. "One summer I went to Puerto Rico and the whole idea of wanting to live there, to be Puerto Rican, just exploded inside me. I even started looking for work there and had a job interview where they said that even though I was qualified, they wouldn't hire me because I was American. I went right back to New York, crying." Carmen found herself working at a big insurance company, miserable because she wanted to be a writer. Her uncle Manuel had been an actor in Puerto Rico but gave it up to go to New York. He told Carmen, "If you want to write, you have to do it now." And so she did.
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We Thank Our Sponsors
The Puffin Foundation

Study Guides
JULIA ÁLVAREZ - En el tiempo de las mariposas

FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA: The House of Bernarda Alba & Bodas de Sangre

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ: Chronicle of a Death Foretold


ISABEL ALLENDE: The House of the Spirits



MARIO VARGAS LLOSA: The Feast of the Goat

NILO CRUZ: Anna In The Tropics

NUESTRAS VOCES: Vieques & Bufalo Herido

CUBA TEATRO: Abelardo Estorino

CUBA TEATRO: A Century of Theatre in Cuba



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