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NICHOS

NICHOS

A multidisciplinary theater creation following the story of Ehécatl, an indigenous man, on his immigration odyssey across time and space. Beginning with the Aztec creation story, this epic narrative shows Ehécatl moving through Mexico’s history to physically and symbolically depict how Mexican culture has evolved through 500 years of conquest, colonization, exile, assimilation, and subsequent cross-cultural generations. The production illustrates the crossroads faced by a Mexican migrant when striving to preserve their culture, which asks the question: what is the cultural essence that endures in Mexican identity?

Devised by a collective of community members and artists, the search for the cultural ethos of Mexican identity will be explored through workshops, oral histories, and personal stories. A pilot of this project premiered in early April of 2022. The next installment of this pilot was a collaboration with BalletX, Philadelphia’s contemporary ballet company. Choreographed by Caili Quan and advised by Tanaquil Márquez, where the two artists explored interconnected facets of personal and cultural identity through dance.

 

To symbolize the action of cultural change, our story will be told through the concept of a nicho. A nicho originated as a small three-dimensional version of the Roman Catholic retablo in an effort for Spanish conquerors to convert indigenous Mexicans to Catholicism. What was once a representation of colonization has now refashioned itself into a colorful, decorative artisanal shadow box, honoring pre-Hispanic roots and pop culture. This theatrical play will be staged upon a larger-than-life nicho, designed and built by the acclaimed muralist Calo Rosas. This will be the first time a nicho of this size will be made. Our project amplifies Mexican culture drawing out both historical and fantastical elements. We will engage the Mexican community in Philadelphia to experience their cultural vibrancy at Teatro Esperanza’s state of the art facilities through the relatable story of Ehécatl, original music stemming from Son Jarocho, and Mexican art. Our goal is to play our part in keeping the spirit of Mexican identity alive.

Upcoming Workshops

 

SEPTEMBER 4th 5-7:30pm

SEPTEMBER 18th 6-7:30

 

JUNTOS

600 Washington Ave, Unit 18UA, Phila. PA 19147

 

For regular updates, follow @nichos_project on Instagram.

The Artists

Tanaquil Márquez

Creator, Writer, Director

 

Tanaquil Márquez (she/her) is a bold and innovative Latina artist who is passionate about celebrating the LatinX voice through bilingual work. She has created original work and self-produced plays in both Spanish and English, building a bridge between her shared culture and communities. Tanaquil is the Director of Education at 1812 Productions and a member of 1812’s Artistic Core, where she is currently workshopping an original bilingual play, La Otra, set to premiere in 2025.

 

Tanaquil’s commitment to uplifting marginalized voices extends beyond her artistic endeavors. She served as Associate Artistic Director for Teatro del Sol and was the Artistic Director of the interim bilingual theater company Teatro Esperanza in New Brunswick, New Jersey. During her tenure at Teatro Esperanza, Tanaquil hosted workshops and oral history interviews with the migrant community to develop original pieces for New Brunswick’s monthly Mercado events. She has also created performances for the opening ceremonies for RH Doaz’s mural As Birds on Pinions Free (2019) and Leon Rainbow’s mural A Journey Forward (2021).

 

Tanaquil is a dedicated Teaching Artist, creating workshops in both English and Spanish to serve the LatinX community. She practices the Michael Chekhov method and Augusto Boal’s method Theatre of the Oppressed in her classes, providing an engaging and supportive environment for her students.

 

Tanaquil Márquez is a visionary artist and educator who is committed to creating original work inspired by the voices of the LatinX community.

 

Ximena Violante

Composer and Music Director

 

Ximena Violante (he/they) is a Mexican violinist, jarana player, singer, teacher, actor, and organizer creating spaces for people to celebrate their roots, re-imagine their futures, and expand their communities.  Ximena is the bandleader and songwriter for Interminable, a futuristic fusion project that brings together son jarocho, jazz, rock and funk.  Ximena has been a featured guest musician with Las Cafeteras, Jarana Beat, Renee Goust, Vivir Quintana, Moor Mother, Latin-Grammy-winners Mariachi Flor de Toloache, and on the soundtrack for Disney’s The Last of the Chupacabras.  In 2015, Ximena co-founded Son Revoltura, a Philly-based weekly community workshop of son jarocho, an afromestizo musical tradition from Mexico. 

 

Onstage, Ximena has acted in NYC’s Quince as a violin-playing ancestor, and as Feste in Delaware Shakespeare’s Community Tour. As a teaching artist, Ximena has toured the US with NYC-based performing arts education group Mexico Beyond Mariachi, has worked with families to write original bilingual lullabies for their children with Carnegie Hall’s Philly and Boston chapters of The Lullaby Project, as well as teaching workshops at University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, University of Texas San Antonio, Girls Rock Camp Alliance’s annual international conference, and community gatherings. They will be Musical Director of the original play Nichos, alongside director Tanaquil Márquez and Mexican band Ampersan, which will be presented in Fall of 2024 thanks to funding from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

 

Calo Rosa

Muralist

 

Born in San Salvador, Carlos Lopez Rosa (he/him) lives and works in Philadelphia. He comes from a family of artists with diverse media including graphic design, Brazilian percussion, oil painting, and cake-making. Carlos holds a degree in Fine and Visual Arts from the Centro Nacional de Artes (CENAR) and a degree in graphic design from Don Bosco University.

 

Carlos has defined his own street art style. His colorful pieces portray the vibrant Latin American culture, and mirror the sounds, roots, and forms of the urban-tropical lifestyle.

 

Carlos Diaz Stoop

Project Manager

 

Carlos Diaz Stoop (he/him/his) is the inaugural General Manager at Concert Theatre Works. He was previously employed as an Associate Producer at Beth Morrison Projects, and in 2023 became the Director of Administration of BMP: Producer Academy – an 8-week nuts and bolts course designed to prepare the next generation of Creative Producers. Prior to these roles, he served as Program Associate at The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, a multi-disciplinary grantmaker in the arts in Philadelphia, where he supported the Performance program, cross-program functions, and served as the coordinator and founding member of the Center’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.

 

As an Artist Advocate and Independent Creative Producer Carlos supports theatre, music, dance, opera, community engagement, and social justice projects with various organizations and individual artists along the East Coast including: Girard College (Be Holding), Philadelphia Contemporary (Convalescence), Raja Feather Kelly, Yarn/Wire, Tyshawn Sorey, Ross Gay, Kimberly Bartosik/Daela, Brian Freeland.

 

Carlos is also a member of CIPA (The Creative Independent Producer Alliance), a group of over 300 Independent Creative Producers worldwide where he acts as the Operations Leader aiding in the oversight and strategic planning of CIPA’s continued growth as a hub for Community, Mentorship, and Advocacy for Independent Creative Producers in the performing arts sector.

 

Carlos holds an M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel University and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

Nichos has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.