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Volume 40, Numbers 1 & 2 (2019)

Roots, Routes, RUTAS

January 22, 2020


In this article, author Natalie Alvarez examines how the Caminos and RUTAS festivals of Toronto’s Aluna Theatre harness the interactional, mass gathering of the festival and its high visibility to form a theatrical commons grounded in a heterogeneous and intercultural Americas, one that includes Latin American, Latinx, Indigenous, and Afro-Caribbean artists that have historically been excluded both from the Eurocentric vision of “Latin America” and Canadian performance histories. With a producing mandate to foster Canadian-hemispheric cultural exchanges, Beatriz Pizano’s and Trevor Schwellnus’s curatorial practices aim to generate alternate genealogical routes of Canadian performance history for a new generation of artists to travel. The performance routes of these festivals speak to the critical role festivals can play in directing—and redirecting—transnational flows of knowledge and artistic production. But Pizano and Schwellnus’s curatorial aims are also driven by an interest in how festivals like RUTAS and Caminos can generate a structural shift in the kinds of artistic traditions that are sustained on Toronto’s stages and the ways in which they are sustained by fostering hemispheric collaborations and co-productions. The RUTAS and Caminos festivals demonstrate very powerfully the work that a theatrical commons can do to advance alternative producing structures and transnational coalitional politics.