The Teatro Travieso/Troublemaker Theatre production of Women of Ciudad Juárez, directed by Jimmy A. Noriega, has been invited to perform at the University of Aristotle in Thessaloniki, Greece on March 6. Noriega will also lead a master class at the university on “How to Stage Theatre for Social Change: Teatro Travieso, Aesthetics, and Politics.” The workshop addresses the intersections of aesthetics and politics and answer questions on collaboration, collective creation, and the role of art in addressing urgent social issues. Greece is the twelfth country where Noriega has been invited to stage his plays.
On March 7, Noriega will give a talk at the Museum of Byzantine Culture titled “Intercultural Performance and Theatre for Social Change: Teatro Travieso Stages Women of Ciudad Juárez” as part of the Hellenic Association for American Studies proceedings. The talk focuses on theatre’s capacity to engage in feminist issues and to operate as a form of transnational artistic activism. While in Greece Noriega and the performers will also be interviewed by scholars who are writing an article about the theatre company’s work.
“We are now on our seventh year of the Women of Ciudad Juárez tour, which has transformed and adapted over the course of the years to expand the message of the show,” said Noriega. “This newest iteration includes a male performer, who brings a different type of awareness to the issue of women’s rights and expands the perspectives of those affected by femicide and violence in Mexico. We are deeply honored to continue presenting the stories of the women of Juárez to audiences around the world and feel a deep sense of responsibility and respect as we do this.”
Noriega founded Teatro Travieso/Troublemaker Theatre in 2012. It operates on the premise that theatre can create positive change in the world. The group has staged five original performances: “Encuentro: Peru!!,” “Women of Ciudad Juárez,” “Joto: Confessions of a Mexican Outcast,” “Trouble Down South,” and “Walking My Dream.” To date the company has been invited to performed in nine countries to over 25,000 audience members.
Women of Ciudad Juárez was written by Mexican actress Cristina Michaus and directed and translated by Noriega. The production uses the theatre as a space to examine, reflect on, and speak about the femicides taking place in Juárez, Mexico. It was most recently staged at the International Association for Performing Arts and Research fourth annual International Theatre Festival in Pune, India this past November. The same actors—Stephanie Castrejón, Christian Reyes, and Jesi Rojo—will perform in Greece.
“Although this performance is focused mainly about the women in Mexico, it is also a transnational performance about how violence against women exists everywhere,” said Stephanie Castrejón ‘16, an actor in the play. “Oftentimes I have felt that by having performed in multiple countries and sharing this with a variety of audiences, it has allowed for some audience members to have a cathartic experience and for others it was a reminder to check-in on their mothers, daughters, or family member(s).”
Women of Ciudad Juárez has been on tour since 2014. It has been performed in Canada, Colombia, Belgium, India, and across the U.S., most notably at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee and at InterMedia Theatre in Minneapolis. It has also been seen at Yale University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, McGill University, Ithaca College, Arizona State University, Davidson College, Bucknell University, Ohio Wesleyan University, College of Wooster, Goshen College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Cleveland Public Theatre Station Hope, and Missouri Southern State University.
Dr. Jimmy A. Noriega has directed over 30 productions in English and Spanish at theatres and festivals in Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Israel, Romania, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, India, and New York City. He received the 2013 Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy from the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and co-edited the book Theatre and Cartographies of Power: Repositioning the Latina/o Americas (Southern Illinois Press, 2018). He has published in Theatre Topics, Latin American Theatre Review, Theatre Journal, Modern Drama, Review: The Journal of Dramaturgy, and Lateral: The Journal of the Cultural Studies Association. He has a PhD from Cornell University and is Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the College of Wooster. He is also the Vice President for Conferences for the American Society for Theatre Research. In 2012, he founded Teatro Travieso/Troublemaker Theatre.