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“a theater that cares [about] its surrounding community…producing vitally relevant and topical work." - Joel Beers, OC Weekly

Breath of Fire, an award-winning, only Latina theater company in Orange County, based in downtown Santa Ana—the corazón of the county—came into existence to support the work and enrich the lives of Latinas in the performing arts, to provide representation, opportunities, and leadership roles in traditional arts communities. In that time, it has produced more than 20 world premieres. OC Weekly and the Examiner.com named its production of Cherrie Moraga’s world premiere play, Digging Up the Dirt , co-produced with Moraga’s See-what production, made possible by a 2010 National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Master Artist Grant, Best of 2010 lists. 

Since its 2015 re-emergence, Breath of Fire continues to strive to support its mission and  to serve as an incubator for underrepresented voices in theater by providing programming that offers guidance in the art of storytelling, playwriting, producing, and acting. These workshops bring seasoned writers, playwrights, and actors to facilitate high quality theater making workshops, and now online, for local Orange County residents at no cost. No one is ever turned away for lack of experience. We are able to do this work through our Cal State University of Fullerton’s Grand Central Arts Center artist residency in Downtown Santa Ana and donations made possible by individual supporters like you. We are a volunteer based organization. Want to help support? Donate today! paypal.me/breathoffiretheater

Fuego🔥 Artistic Chingona _guerreroprinc

MISSION: 

To Support & Enrich The Lives Of Latinas In Visual & Performing Arts 

Vision: 

    ⁃    Serves as an incubator for voices that have been historically excluded in theater

    ⁃    We aim to incubate, support, develop and / or produce work that reflects, impacts, and / or empowers the diverse Latinx community

    ⁃    Believes in the transformative power of theater

    ⁃    Aims to raise awareness of critical issues in the community

    ⁃    To entertain and challenge

    ⁃    Foster cross-cultural understanding

    ⁃    Be a catalyst for personal healing and social justice

Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble is a Member of Network of Ensemble Theaters.

by Adriana Alba

July 2017

 

--Art that questions, probes, and confronts.

-- Art that pries open spaces and dialogue.

--Art that reveals both interconnectedness and fragile seams in our society.  

 

These are indeed challenging times, but the challenges making headlines are not new to members of Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble or its community.  The xenophobia, transphobia, discrimination, and mean-spiritedness that carried in from the 2016 campaign season and current political climate -has been a fact of life for the writers or actors that make up our group. While many artistic communities throughout the country recoiled in horror at the 2016 election results, we nod in recognition--by now we expect them as inevitable themes for each campaign cycle.

We are in Orange County, after all: once headquarters of national xenophobic and anti-immigrant groups and organizations.  This is the county that birthed Richard Nixon, John Birch Societies, and the Minuteman Project.  A recent, LA Times article by Chapman University Political Scientist, Fred Smoller, recalls that, “as recently as 1988, the Republican party illegally hired private uniformed guards — some holding signs saying "Non-Citizens Can't Vote" in English and Spanish — to ‘monitor’ polling places in Santa Ana.” 

Gustavo Arellano, (former editor of OC Weekly), once named Orange County the “Mexican-bashing capital of the United States.” He wrote, “Our racist sneezes become national hurricanes,” in his review of The Mexican O.C. the play that originally brought Breath of Fire Latina Ensemble to fruition.  The production of The Mexican O.C. highlighted long history of Mexican American struggle and resistance in Orange County and framed years of productions that continuously provided a platform to stories often marginalized from mainstream theater.  It was accompanied important shift in demographic and culture for the entire county—

The county has become a minority majority, and its politics has begun to reflect that…

Despite these demographic changes, Breath of Fire remains the only Latina theater company in Orange County. While we began as a group focused on theater production, the organization when it reemerged (summer 2015) shifted its efforts to become an incubator for voices who hold untold/under-told stories through theater and playwriting  workshops.

“The community of Breath of Fire Writers and the ensemble members, who are luminaries and so dear to me, all help create this extraordinary space that ignites so much creativity and connection.” Angela Apodaca of Breath of Fire

“Through 2016 retreats and workshops, I have been able to connect with leaders in education and have produced two ten minute plays. I have built great professional relationships and a safe community for sharing my writing. I am cultivating an aesthetic for my work and a path as a writer. Most importantly, I have made amazing friends.” Yasmin Madadi of Breath of Fire. 

 “The leadership of the group… are so dedicated to your writing and the facilitation of us writers – {it] is a beautiful symphony of love, dedication, and passion.” Yolanda Mendiveles of Breath of Fire.

The voices and stories are here, but unfortunately the spaces facilitate the craft produce the arts that come with it are scarce.  

Funding from the California Arts Council Grant has provided a valuable space for the community to go beyond catharsis and inspire action. “The workshop series came about from a desire to create a supportive space for individuals looking to explore writing and give voice to their experiences and imagination,” states Breath of Fire founding artistic director, Sara Guerrero.

Joel Beers recently praised the Breath of Fire as an example to follow during these times. “More theaters need to follow that lead and create a sense that the local playhouse is not only an escape from the daily grind, but also a sanctuary for expression, community, catharsis and, above all else, the real, hard work that is desperately needed in times of turmoil,” he wrote in “OC Theater People: Get Off Facebook and Into the Trenches Against Trump.” 

Since our launch of our free workshops covered Playwriting Fundamentals to Revision and Feedback and provided participants with guidance from prestigious and experienced playwrights that included José Cruz González, Kristina Leach, Estela Garcia, Diana Burbano, Armando Molina, Kimberly Colburn, Bernardo Solano, Jose Casas, Karen Anzoategui, Paul S. Flores, Monica Palacios, Cathy Arellano, Lorna Silva, Richard Soto, Anatalia Vallez, Elizabeth Isela Szekeresh, Sara Guerrero, Ser Anzoategui, Gabriel Llamas, Frank Muñoz and the list continues. Over 1000+ community members have participated. Many new works of plays and stories have been crafted. We can’t wait to see how many more will emerge as staged productions!

The People

Board Chair
Ensemble

MARGO

ROFÉ

DIANA

BURBANO

Literary Director 
Vice-Chair of Board

YOLANDA

MENDIVELES

Board Treasurer 
Ensemble

ADRIANA

ALBA

Board Secretary
Creative Associate
 

SARA

GUERRERO

Founding Artistic Director

Board Member

Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble Founders

Regina "Gina" Maria Davidson

Sara Guerrero

Maricela Jauregui

Elsa Martinez Phillips

Elizabeth Isela Szekeresh 

Past Board Members

Elizabeth Cooper Butler

Regina "Gina" Maria Davidson

Angela Estela

Cecilia Flores

Bill Hilton

Maricela Jauregui

Dr. Tiffany Lopez

Rigo Maldonado

Apolonio Morales 

Elsa Martinez Phillips

Elvia Susana Rubalcava

Gabriel San Ramon

Elizabeth Szekeresh 

Teaching Artists

Diana Burbano

Estela Garcia

Angela Estela

Lorna Silva

Richard Soto

Elizabeth Isela Szekeresh

Anatalia Vallez

Resident Artists

Susanna Velarde Covarrubias

Shanelle Darlene

Elisa Gonzales

Güido Le

Elvia Susana Rubalcava

Moises Vázquez

Guest Artists

Zelaikha Akram Noviello 

Ser Anzoategui

Cathy Arellano

Jose Casas

Felicia Rose Chavez 

Kimberly Colburn

Paul S. Flores

José Cruz González

Gabriel Llamas

Kristina Leach

Fernando Funes

Armando Molina

Frank Muñoz

Marcus Omari

Monica Palacios 

Bernando Solano 

Eu Taze

Ligiah Villalobos

Karen Zacarias

Staged Stories Ensemble Producers

Victoria Yvette Zepeda

Santi Sámano


Adriana Alba, Angela Apodaca, Diana Burbano, Jacqueline Castañeda, Eloise Coopersmith, Shanelle Darlene, Angela Estela, Victoria Flores, Sara Guerrero, Mildred Inez Lewis, Yásaman Madadi, Yolanda Mendiveles, Miriam Mendoza, Tiffany McQuay, Margo Rofé, Elvia Susana Rubalcava, Miriam Santi Sámano, Lorna Silva, Richard Soto, Elizabeth Isela Szekeresh, Anatalia Vallez, Moises Váquez Victoria Yvette Zepeda

Ensemble  Present / Past 

Partnerships  Present / Past 

SanArts Santa Ana High School Theatre Conservatory
#ProtectPuvungna
Garden Grove High School Black Student Union
Brown Bag Theatre Company of U.C. Irvine
Pacific 
Symphony
Arts Orange County
South Coast Repertory
Thank you Lorna Silva for a stellar Span

Challenging times REQUIRE Challenging art

With our amazing yoga instructor Zuli _y
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