The Los Angeles Theatre Center is a facility of the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and is operated by the Latino Theater Company.
The Latino Theater Company has demonstrated over 23 years of commitment to creating and producing some of the most exciting main stage theater in the Los Angeles area. Founded in 1985 by current Artistic Director, Jose Luis Valenzuela, under the auspices of the former Los Angeles Theatre Center, and known then as the Latino Theater Lab, the company began its legacy of producing memorable work. Examples include: August 29th, Stone Wedding, Roosters, The Promise, La Victima, and Noche de Risa y Susto or Die Laughing, a Day of the Dead fundraising celebration. The Company also created the New Voices Playwriting Series that commissioned many playwrights including Octavio Solis, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Cherrie Moraga, and Milcha Sanchez-Scott.
In 1991, the Latino Theater Company took residency at the Mark Taper Forum where Jose Luis Valenzuela created the Latino Theater Initiative. While at the Taper, there was a historic run of Latino plays including Carpa Clash by Culture Clash, Luis Valdez’s Bandido, and Eduardo Machado’s Floating Islands. In 1995, the company’s search for a more direct way of serving the Latino community resulted in the group’s move to Plaza de La Raza in East LA, where the company offered its first full season. A subsequent move back to the Los Angeles Theatre Center for a production of Luminarias was followed by the award winning feature-film adaptation, that starred Cheech Marin, Scott Bakula, Lupe Ontiveros, and several Latino Theater Company members.
For the last seven years, the Latino Theater Company offered their production of the Spanish language pageant play, La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin, free to the public at the downtown Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The play has become an annual holiday tradition, increasing access to the arts for low-income, working class families in Los Angeles.
In 2003, the Latino Theater Company’s production, Dementia, garnered the prestigious GLAAD Award for Outstanding Theater Production in Los Angeles as well as four Ovation Award nominations in the mid-size theater category. In the same year, the Latino Theater Company incorporated 21 young theater artists to form the Latino Theater Lab. The Latino Theater Lab presented two works: the movement piece War, in 2003, and Melancholia, in 2005.
In January 2006, the Latino Theater Company was awarded a 20-year lease for the Los Angeles Theatre Center from the City of Los Angeles and received a $4 million grant from the California Cultural and Historic Endowment to refurbish the building.
Artistic Director | Jose Luis Valenzuela
Member | Evelina Fernandez
Member | Lupe Ontiveros†
Member | Sal Lopez
Member | Geoffrey Rivas
Member | Lucy Rodriguez