Chicano Theatre is a relatively young genre of theatre in comparison to the traditional theatre that date back centuries. It was in the 1960’s that the term Chicano became prevalent in the United States. Chicano is used only of Mexican Americans, not of Mexicans living in Mexico. It was originally an informal term in English (as in Spanish), and the spelling of the first recorded instance in an American publication followed the Spanish custom of lowercasing nouns of national or ethnic origin (The Free Dictionary 2003). The transition of the meaning Chicano has varied throughout the decades, but it still holds its politically charged roots strong.
The inspiration of Chicano Theatre comes from the Chicano Movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. This was a time where the Vietnam War played a great part in the United States, where Mexican-Americans were trying to fight racism, inequality, separation between their own races and move toward a better way of life. Notably one of the more famous movements during this era was that of the United Farm Workers (UFW) fighting for La Causa (the cause) which was ignited by the revolutionist Cesar Chavez. The whole Chicano movement ignited interest in America about the Mexican-American culture and led to much more equal rights towards the race as a whole. With this movement came a form of theatre to recapture the decades of struggle and convey it to an audience who might not have had the opportunity to get a real life perspective of living in poverty and fighting for equality. Chicano Theatre does just that, it recaptures the essence of the struggle including La Causa, strikes, life in the barrio (low income residence), and everyday life of the Chicano activist. The introduction of Chicano Theatre has mostly been attributed towards one man, Luis Valdez. Valdez's credits include, founder & artistic director of the internationally renowned El Teatro Campesino,...