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Alexandra Espinoza, Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriquez, Virginia Sanchez, and Ivan Vila (left to right) participate in an activity during their rehearsal at West Kensington Ministry for the show, "Palante," which will be featured at the First Person Arts Festival. Photo: Emily Neil / AL DÍA News
Alexandra Espinoza, Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriquez, Virginia Sanchez, and Ivan Vila (left to right) participate in an activity during their rehearsal at West Kensington Ministry for the show, "Palante," which will be featured at the First Person Arts Festival…

Free, bilingual theater classes for adults to be offered this spring in Norris Square

Power Street Theatre Company will host the Tierra y Cuerpo classes for the second year in a row at West Kensington Ministry.

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The performing arts collective Power Street Theatre Company (PSTC) will once again offer free, bilingual theater classes to adults (anyone ages 18+) this spring, allowing participants to explore either experimental theater or playwriting with the guidance of the resident artists at Power Street Theatre. 

Over the course of eight classes, facilitated in both English and Spanish, community members can experiment with theater and playwriting as a storytelling vehicle, with a focus this year on health justice. Both classes will be held at West Kensington Ministry, in the heart of Norris Square, located at 2140 N. Hancock Street. 

Gabriela Sanchez, a theater artist and director who is also the co-founder and co-director of Power Street Theatre Company, is teaching the experimental theater class, which will be held Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. from March 3 - May 2. Her production of Pa’lante, featuring personal narratives from Latinx Storytellers, was presented at the First Person Arts Festival in Philadelphia in the fall of 2018. 

The playwriting class will be taught by Erlina Dahiana Ortiz, co-founder and co-director of Power Street Theatre Company, whose play, Minority Land, was produced by Power Street Theatre Company last fall for a run of shows at West Kensington Ministry. That class will be held Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the same location, from March 5 - May 2. 

Both classes will culminate with live performances by participants in May.

No prior theater experience is required to participate. You can read more information about the courses here, and register by sending an email to [email protected] before Feb. 14. The classes will be capped at 15 people, so spaces are limited. 

Last year, community members from Norris Square and people from other neighborhoods and suburbs of Philadelphia participated in the first Land and Body/Tierra y Cuerpo classes that Power Street Theatre offered in the spring of 2019. 

Power Street Theatre Company has been making a mark in communities in North Philadelphia since it was first founded by Sanchez and Ortiz in 2012, who started dreaming of the collective when they were undergraduate students at Temple University. 

The company is “dedicated to connecting communities through the power of story by making theatre accessible to communities in North Philadelphia,” according to the organization’s website. 

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