Location: Rio Rimac del Cercado, Lima, Peru
A locally-founded and locally-run community theatre arts initiative targeting youth and families in marginal Andean communities in and around Lima, Peru, AC Yawar is not just another theatre troupe. The organization has certainly stood the test of time. Yawar has been performing at community theatres and cultural events since its inception in 1963. Though the leaders, artists, actors, youth, and audiences have changed, the group remains committed to raising Peruvians’ awareness, knowledge, and respect for the historical and cultural intricacies of Andean national identity.
Indebted to the Latin American tradition of street theatre as social protest, Yawar operates with a didactic intent. Functioning as a school guided by a holistic, learn-by-doing philosophy, the theatre group invites youth to participate, learning valuable collaborative, time-management, and leadership skills alongside more technical competencies related to acting, lighting, costume design, etc. In part, the point is to channel young people’s creative energy away from gangs and drugs towards art, non-violent political agency, and positive change for the community.
Of course, Yawar also benefits community audience members. On the one hand, productions raise awareness within marginal communities of their cultural and educational challenges and, on the other hand, present an alternative committed to democracy, justice, truth, and cooperation.
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YAWAR is headed by an Executive Council (4) of members over 60 years of age but all decisions and actions require the approval of the majority of members (15).
Some of YAWAR’s specific objectives:
Raise awareness within popular Andean communities about their cultural and educational challenges
Discover, form, and consolidate art groups in these communities, with the goal of creating community leaders
Form and establish new audiences and performance spaces
Formative and expressive function of theatre:
Vital human experience through which we can express our internal space within the external world that surrounds usConcrete forum for expressing emotions, worries, sentiments, etc.
Advocate change for a different, more inclusive, and more equitable society