Latinx Heritage Tour: GALA Hispanic Theatre

Over the past 46 years of operation, the GALA Hispanic Theatre has produced roughly 240 plays in Spanish and English for diverse audiences in Washington DC.

"Because some of the actors couldn’t speak English, sometimes we would have one actor in the Spanish version, another in the English version. If the actors weren’t the same size, we needed two sets of costumes. We were dealing with two simultaneous productions of the same play. For one play, we even had two directors because one didn’t speak English.” Hugo Medrano, co-founder of the GALA Theatre Company

Established in 1976, GALA (Grupo de Artistas LatinoAmericanos) initially emerged as an eclectic group of artists, dancers, writers, and performers operating out of a townhouse in Adams Morgan. The ultimate goal of the original group was twofold: "to bring Spanish and Latin American plays to the attention of the Spanish-speaking people in Washington; and to make the English-speaking public aware of the richness and variety of Hispanic theater."  
Co-founders Hugo Medrano (an Argentine-born actor who directed productions in Spain) and Rebecca Read (a dancer who came to Washington from New York City) married shortly after creating GALA. They spent time traveling the country to absorb ideas and returned to the city inspired. At the start, GALA's approach to plays was entirely bilingual. Most productions were presented in both Spanish and English--this proved too challenging to maintain, so the theatre began presenting most plays in Spanish with English translation available via headset.  
GALA narrowed its focus to become GALA Hispanic Theatre within its first decade of operation, and grew into what many considered "the country's leading Spanish-language theater." Despite high awards and a loyal following, GALA struggled to find a permanent home until 2005, when the company moved into the historic Tivoli Theatre in Columbia Heights (building completed in 1924). GALA serves the surrounding community faithfully and continues to produce artistic content that represents the diversity of Latinx cultures in the neighborhoods of Mount Pleasant, Adams Morgan, and Columbia Heights.


History of Gala Theatre

Blankenship, M. (2009, Aug 03). "Washington, D.C.'s GALA Hispanic Theatre Celebrates Latin Artists." The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, pages 12-13. Retrieved from Proquest.



GALA Hispanic Theatre: Audio
Source: Written and Recorded by Shae Corey
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