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RISARALDA

A series of Workshops and Performances in Pereira, Colombia
November 2012 – summer 2016
Directed by Germán Jaramillo
Original Music by Pablo Mayor
Choreography by Daniel Fetecua
Adaptation by Jorge Plata
In collaboration with the Teatro Naciónal de Colombia

Risaralda is an original musical based on a Colombian novel by Bernardo Arias Trujillo (1903-1938), originally composed in 1935 as a film script, which describes a tragic love affair between a woman in the Afro-Colombian community and a Hispanic man of the frontier during the founding of the village Sopinga in the Risaralda Valley. The novel is part of the realist or costumbrista movement that gave a detailed account of the life of the black community in an almost Edenic setting. The adaptation of the novel involves a creative process of developing text, music, and choreography, gathering original material and finding and developing the actors themselves from the Afro-Latino community through workshops in Pereira, Colombia.

Working with the traditionally marginalized indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in the coffee region (Eje Cafetero) around Pereira, Risaralda the musical seeks to create a space for activating artistic expression and sparking a lasting dialogue within the community about topics that include race, cultural ancestry, identity, and solidarity. In a region that struggles with high rates of violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and teen pregnancy, the project offers alternative paths of employment and income, encouraging youth leaderships, and strengthening community ties.

Theater workshops in several Colombian cities began in 2012, and the musical was first produced in August 2013 at Teatro Municipal Santiago Londoño, in Pereira, Risaralda to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the city’s founding.

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