Modern Chicano Theater, By Luis Valdez Is Best Known As The Founding Director Of El Teatro Campesino
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Luis Valdez 1940-
Considered the originator of modern Chicano theater, Valdez is best known as the founding director of El Teatro Campesino, a seminal grassroots theater group initially formed to convince California migrant farmworkers of the value of unionization. Valdez, who writes some works in English and others in a blend of English and Spanish, is credited with having provided momentum to the Chicano theater movement through his highly vivid style and his ability to place the Chicano experience within a universal American framework.
Born into a family of migrant farmworkers in Delano, California, Valdez began working in the fields at six years of age. Although his education was frequently interrupted by his family 's constant travel, Valdez finished high school and subsequently attended San Jose State College. After graduating in 1964 Valdez joined the San Francisco Mime Troupe, from which he gained an appreciation of agitprop theater, which makes use of political agitation and propaganda to protest social injustice. Valdez returned to Delano in 1965 to assist César Chávez and the United Farmworkers Union in their efforts to unionize migrant workers. There Valdez organized the strikers into a performing group to dramatize the exploitation of farmworkers and to demonstrate the necessity of unionization for their financial survival. In 1967 Valdez and El Teatro Campesino began touring nationally, expanding their focus on the