project leader
Karilú F
Bagley St
(Mexicantown )
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the project

The project will consist of a “devised theatre” and visual art collaboration piece telling the stories of a group of children from the Latinx community of Detroit. The project is inspired by Las Carpas, a form of theater from Mexico in the beginnings of the 20th century. We will travel around the city with a series of bilingual pop-up performances that will include unique portable scenery created by the children, and guided by muralist Elton Monroy Duran. The play will be developed in collaboration with the children and directed by Karilu Alarcon Forshee. 

In the play, the children will portray some of the most famous icons in Latinx culture. As the play unravels, each performer will step out of character and reveal their identity by sharing their personal story. At the end of each performance cultural exchange will result through “coplas”, a form of Spanish popular song made famous in the Mexican golden age of film as a comedic call and response battle. The performers will invite audience members to take the stage and have an exchange of their own story through “coplas”.

The creation process will take place in Southwest Detroit at Plaza del Sol Center. We plan the creation process to be 3 months long. After the performance is ready, we will have the opening show in Southwest and then tour different neighborhoods in Detroit. We plan on having at least 8 pop up performances. 

My collaborators in this project are Elton Monroy Duran, a muralist from the Latinx community in Detroit. He will be in charge of the construction and design of the portable set and props, as well as of directing and guiding the children through the creative process. With his company Corpus Art he will collaborate in an active way to help reach the matching goal. The Mexicantown Community Development Corporation is the community-based developer of the Mexicantown Plaza del Norte Welcome Center, Mexicantown Mercado and Business Incubator and Plaza located at the gateway of the Ambassador Bridge to Canada in southwest Detroit. MCDC will support community outreach and engagement, facilitating space for performances, planning meetings and fundraising. Plaza del Sol Consortium is a group of organizations committed to preserve culture. At Plaza del Sol Center we will have the rehearsals and creative process, as well as our fundraising “Fiestas”.

the steps

Before we begin the creation process we will have 8 Fundraising “Fiestas” in Southwest Detroit to match our Knight Arts Challenge funds. Most will take place at Plaze del Sol Center and we will have two bigger fundraisers at a couple of known restaurants in Mexicantown. We hope that the fundraisers will also help make some noise about the project, build expectation and networking as well as union within the community. As part of the fundraising period, we will also have a crowdfunding, which we are hoping will be the artist led program that IOBY offers. Consequently, we plan to apply to other grants to help complete the funds needed for the project. 

Once we raise about half of our total budget, we will begin the creative process at Plaza del Sol Center, we estimate that we will begin the creative process during fall of 2020. Some of the children involved in the project are former and present students, but there will be an open audition that will take place in Southwest Detroit. The cast will meet three times a week and begin developing the play in conjunction with designing the set. Guided by Karilu and Elton, the kids will design and develop what will be the final performance. After completing the script and design, rehearsals will follow as well as the construction/ painting of the set. After the three month period of creative process, we will have a big opening in Southwest Detroit and 8 pop up performances around the city. 

why we're doing it

This project will create an opportunity for inclusion and representation of Latinx culture in the arts community of Detroit. We hope to fill the gap that exists as we make theatre that is accessible for Spanish speakers. By sharing the diversity in Latinx culture we aim to build bridges between
communities. In this political climate it is vital to educate people about the culture and encourage dialogue. It will also bring light to the community, as we widen spaces for creation, human connection and growth opportunities for members of the community. 

I am a Mexican immigrant, who moved to Michigan in 2011. Ever since, I have worked with children in Detroit. As a Teaching Artist for Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit I directed 15 bilingual theatre showcases, inspired by Latin American Literature. Through my Living Arts work, I have brought bilingual theatre to different classrooms and after school programs. My work in the Southwest community has helped me build relationships with students and their families. It is the respect and love I have for my present and former students that drove me to persue the creation of this project. I want to facilitate an opportunity for them to excel through the theatre arts. In these difficult times for the community, there is a need for voices to be heard. Through this experience I hope for them to embrace their identity, build confidence and most importantly to have a strong presence in the city. 


Through the crowdfunding campaign we are hoping to raise 15,000 , which will go towards matching our Knight Arts Challenge funding to put on these performances. 

ioby Platform Fee     $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)    $465
TOTAL TO RAISE =    $15,500


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