Luis Valdez
Playwright, director, producer
Born: Delano, California

Considered the father of Chicano theater, Luis Valdez uses drama to tell the stories of America's roots. He explores the human spirit in the face of social injustice through award-winning stage, film, and television productions.

“César Chávez became my role model. To this day, he remains the strongest influence in my life.”

The son of migrant farm workers, Valdez joined Chavez' grape boycott and strike in 1965, creating El Teatro Campesino, a traveling theater troupe that entertained and educated striking workers, while drawing public attention to their struggle.

“We don't do theater for commercial reasons, but for reasons of the heart and the spirit. So our community is essentially a breath of life. We have a saying at work, ‘Community is the creator of the theater, and the theater is the creator of community.'''


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Luis Valdez, playwright, director, producer. Photograph by Héctor Méndez-Caratini, taken at Tufts University , Medford , Massachusetts

Luis Valdez, playwright, director, producer. Photograph by Héctor Méndez-Caratini, taken at Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

 

 

In 1978, Valdez wrote, directed, and produced Zoot Suit, based on the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles. The first play by a Chicano to be performed on Broadway, Zoot Suit catapulted him into film directing. Valdez achieved breakthrough success with La Bamba, later bringing his pioneering vision to Hollywood with La Pastorela and The Cisco Kid.

“One thing I realized as I became older is the great sacrifice all immigrants face coming to the United States. I have to admire the contributions my grandparents and parents made to our being here.”

 

 

 


 

 

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