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El Teatro Campesino founder Luis Valdez with presenter Judith Malina

2004 Recipient - El Teatro Campesino

El Teatro Campesino is a professional theatre-arts organization that employs a style of Agitprop Theatre that incorporates the spiritual and presentational style of the Italian Renaissance commedia dell'arte with the humor, character types, tradition, and popular culture of the Mexican theatre. El Teatro Campesino was formed by aspiring playwright Luis Valdez in 1965. Valdez had left the San Francisco Mime Troupe to join Cesar Chavez in organizing farm workers in Delano, California. They organized workers into El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers Theatre.) In 1968, El Teatro Campesino left the fields in a conscious effort to create a theatre that reflected the greater Chicano experience. By 1970, El Teatro Campesino had established what would come to be known as "teatro chicano." El Teatro Campesino collaborated with such theatre artists as Peter Brook, and has won prestigious awards for their work and involvement in the theatre industry. These awards include an Obie Award for demonstrating the politics of survival, two Los Angeles Drama Critics Awards and the George Peabody Award for Excellence in Television.