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A Xicana Fronteriza Teatrista Heading to the Spain/Morocco Border

Dear family, friends and community,

I hope this finds you all in positive spirits! It's been some time since my last update, and I’m writing to share good news!

I’m honored, proud and excited to tell you that I'm one of this year's recipients of the Travel and Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation, created by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972). I cried when I found out! The Jerome Foundation seeks to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists in Minnesota and New York City.

With this grant I will travel to Madrid, Ceuta and Melilla, Spain this August and September, to investigate the local dynamics of the Spanish and Moroccan border, looking at the differences and similarities to that of the U.S. and Mexico. Similar to my solo show One Journey, I will be focusing on the role that women, specifically "mule women" or porteadoras, play in maintaining and strengthening families, local economies and social networks in this border region. With the photographs, video and interviews I collect, I plan to develop my next theater piece that will build on a trilogy of border plays that serve to humanize and celebrate the lives of border people around the world. In addition to this research, I will also be working with The Cross Border Project, a theater company based in Madrid that works directly with communities to develop and produce socially relevant and educational theater.

Since I first wrote and produced One Journey in 2010 to explore U.S./Mexico border identity for myself, I've learned about my family’s personal stories in El Paso, TX/Ciudad Juarez, CH, and how they fit within the context of border and immigration history. I have had the privilege of sharing this theatrical piece in communities throughout the United States to engage in discussions about the effects of border enforcement. The rewards of this exploration and dialogue continue to be immeasurable as it is now pushing me to opportunities where I can broaden my understanding of international borders. Considering the economic and social parallels between the Spain/Morocco, and the U.S/Mexico borders, I thought this was the best place for me to expand on this work.

With all excitement and gratitude, I invite you to join me on this journey through my updates on facebook, twitter as well as One Journey Chronicles where I hope to exchange ideas with you along the way.

I can't thank you all enough for your continuous support in this journey of life and work. Believe that you will all be with me on this trip that begins on August 2nd!

In love and art,

Yadira De La Riva