UTEP theater connects with Borderland culture and landscape

The UTEP Theater Department fall production of Borderline, a play by El Pasoan Andrew Siañez De La O, staged a sci-fi story set in the old cotton fields of Socorro, Texas. Kim McKean, associate professor of theatre  and director of theatre programs at the University of Texas at El Paso said the local setting and culture play an important part in the story. So much so that she and the play’s set designer took a trip out to Socorro, in El Paso County’s Lower Valley, before drafting the set.  

“We went to the desert, to the place that Andrew, the playwright, was imagining for the play,” McKean said. She said the theatre department is always interested in representing local voices. “The department has committed to as much as possible, maybe in one show per season or one show every other season – telling a new play, a new story,” she said.

Theater group brings Shakespeare to the people with neighborhood park festival

Madeline Park is a small neighborhood park in West El Paso near UT El Paso that is popular for its playground, basketball court  and old-time gazebo at its center. This fall, a UTEP theater professor was hoping it would also attract a crowd for a free festival with performances from a classic work of a not-so-modern playwright. https://soundcloud.com/borderzine-reporting-across-fronteras/2022-shakespeare-festival-in-madeline-park?si=b483695ba06e4c869ecd665ecb5bc2c9&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

“I want it to be a magical introduction of theatre, to people, of Shakespeare to people who fundamentally go, ‘oh my gosh Shakespeare that sucks right?’ and they’re gonna come to this and they’re gonna go ‘that was really fun,'”  said Jay Stratton, an assistant professor of theater and dance at UTEP. Stratton says he took the idea of doing a family-friendly Shakespeare play in Madeline Park to El Paso’s Shakespeare on the Rocks organization, which has been putting on shows since the late 1980s.