Mudlark expands its community outreach

The last time I checked in with Evanston’s youth-oriented Mudlark Theater in April 2020, they were in the midst of pivoting to online workshops and creating digital shows. The company has returned to live classes and performances since then. And now, with the help of two grants, they’re poised to further expand their focus on the Latinx community in Evanston and surrounding areas.

The first grant is from Northwestern University’s Office of Neighborhood and Community Relations in the amount of $47,000, and is earmarked toward creating a new bilingual theater work based on the experiences and stories of the Latinx community. Northwestern professors Myrna García and Henry Godinez (who is also a resident artistic associate at the Goodman Theatre) will collaborate with the Mudlark students and staff on the work, which they aim to present to the public in spring 2023.

The second grant, in the amount of $3,200, is from local education funders Foundation65 and is focused on creating a bilingual street performance with students at Evanston’s Washington Elementary School, using both Latinx folklore traditions and the principles set forth by Augusto Boal, the Brazilian pioneer of Theater of the Oppressed, which originally emerged in the 1970s. Boal, who was influenced by educator and theorist Paulo Freire (author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed), sought to use theater as a means of promoting social change from a left perspective.

Andrew Biliter, Mudlark’s artistic director, notes in an email that these new programs aren’t the first time Mudlark has partnered with Evanston’s diverse communities in creating work. 

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