In the summer of 1970, Luis Valdez, who along with Agustín Lira and Felipe Cantú co-founded El Teatro Campesino, imagined a national association of Chicano theater companies from throughout the United States. He wrote, “Consider a Teatro Nacional de Aztlán that performs with the same skill and prestige as the Ballet Folklórico de México (not for gabachos, however, but for La Raza). Such a teatro could carry the message of La Raza into Latin American, Europe, Japan, Africa–in short, all of the world.”
By 1973, the many Chicano theater companies that had sprung up throughout the United States, had indeed coalesced under the umbrella of the newly formed Teatro Nacional de Aztlán, (TENAZ). In June of 1973, a festival of these theater companies was convened in San Jose, California at the Morris Daily Auditorium of San Jose State University. From June 15 through June 24th, companies like Teatro Aztlán, Teatro de los Barrios, Teatro de la Esperanza, Teatro de la Gente, Teatro Mestizo, Teatro Urbano and many others performed for one another, engaged in workshops and moved forward the notion of Chicano Theater.
This photo of the audience of festival participants was taken on Friday, June 15, 1973 at the opening session of the Festival de los Teatros Chicanos. It was an important and historic Moment in Time for Latinos.