Place Details

Aguijón Theater

2707 N Laramie Ave
Chicago,  IL 60639

Phone: (773) 637-5899

Aguijón Theater

Aguijón Theater Company of Chicago is an independent theater company founded in 1989 by actress/director and current Co-Artistic Director Rosario Vargas and incorporated and established as a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization on August 22, 1990. The Board of Directors was established and expanded from August to December, 1990. In 2008, Marcela Muñoz (company member since 1992) became Aguijón's Co-Artistic Director, lending her fresh vision and strong commitment to the company's structure and programming.

An August afternoon in 1989, in a house located at 4318 N. Central Park in Chicago (Aguijon's official address during the first years), Augusto Yanacopulos, Rosario Vargas, María Teresa Ayala, and María Vargas, discussed the project of establishing a theater company in Chicago with the mission of producing Spanish language theater which would address the social issues affecting the Latino community of the United States. This new company would also bring together artists from different disciplines and provide a place where new and old generations of Latino immigrants could see their experiences and successes portrayed in their own language. When it came to the company's name a few options were suggested but the group finally opted for Aguijon II. Earlier in her career, Rosario had founded a group under the name Teatro Aguijón in her native Colombia. Aguijón means stinger in Spanish, as in the stinger of a bee, and the group, born in the mid 70s during turbulent, fast-changing times in Colombia, was committed to politically charged theater meant to “sting” or “prick” the consciousness of its audiences and bring about social change. As with the original Aguijón, the new company's mission would be similar in that it would bring into focus sociopolitical issues, this time, affecting Latinos in the U.S. Also, through the production of Spanish language theater, the company would aspire to knock down cultural and linguistic barriers. In 2002, the name was modified by omitting the Roman numeral II and since then the company has been known as Aguijón Theater of Chicago.

The first show produced by the company, Homage to Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, created and directed by Rosario Vargas, inspired by Rosario Castellanos work El Eterno Femenino, was performed at the National Museum of Mexican Art (formerly Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum) in 1990 and later in 1994 as part of the Sor Juana Ines de La Cruz Festival. The show was critically acclaimed and audiences were especially impressed by the young casts (Marcela Muñoz and Gloria García, and violinist Maruca Helguera) artistry and grasp of the classic theme and language. Other early highlights include: Carlos Fuentes' Orquideas a la Luz de la Luna which premiered at the National Museum of Mexican Art in 1991 and was also presented at the University of Chicago in 1992 as part of the Crossing Borders, Creating Spaces: Mexican and Chicana Women 1848-1992 Conference; Kinsey Report, a one-woman show directed and performed by Rosario Vargas, inspired by Rosario Castellano's poem by the same name, inaugurated the auditorium of the new Harold Washington Library on October 14, 1991. Until 1999, Aguijón resided at Truman College (1145 W. Wilson, Chicago) in Uptown (thanks to an agreement between Madeline Roman-Vargas, Dr. María Vargas, and Ruth Burgos-Sasscer, former president of Truman College). The company functioned as a traveling troupe, taking its productions to different schools, libraries, community centers, etc. throughout the city and surrounding suburbs (The National Museum of Mexican Art, St. Pius Church, Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, The Museum of Science and Industry, Café Teatro El Batey, Decima Musa, Rudy Lozano Library, Harold Washington Library, The Chicago Cultural Center, DePauw University, Dominican University, Purdue University, Saint Augustine College, just to name a few). This setup helped to introduce the company and its work to various groups who otherwise did not have access to live theater and helped build an audience that, now that Aguijón has its own performance space, come from different areas to see its performances. In the spring of 1999, Augusto and Rosario bought an old building in the northwest side of the city with the purpose of donating it as a house for the company. That summer, with the help of other artists, the buildings store-front space was transformed into an intimate 60-seat black box theater. In December of 1999, Aguijón opened the doors of its own performance space located at 2707 North Laramie Avenue in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood of Chicago's west side; Aguijón is proud to serve this community in which, although Spanish is one of the most common languages spoken and Latinos make up the majority (65%) of its population, access to the arts was scarce and Spanish language programming non-existent before the company's move to the area. In the years the company has resided in the neighborhood, there has been a steady increase in audience numbers due to the continued support of neighborhood residents. Throughout its years of existence and continuous, high-caliber work, Aguijón Theater, the only company in the Midwest solely dedicated to the production of Spanish-language and bilingual works, has established itself as one of the best known and respected companies, not just in the Latino community, but in the Chicago area and nationwide. The company remains busy with its three-production-a-year seasons, concerts, recitals, book launches, workshops, etc. Aguijón has received local and international recognition as well. In 2003, Aguijón participated in Goodman Theatre's First Annual International Latino Theater Festival with its acclaimed production of Federico Garcia Lorca's La Casa de Bernarda Alba. The only participant to perform solely in Spanish, Aguijón opened the Festival to a sold-out, standing room only crowd who rewarded the company with a roaring standing ovation. The Goodman Theatre again invited Aguijón to participate in the Festival in 2004 and the Company did so with its production of Lorca's Blood Wedding, once again achieving rave reviews. In November, 2004, Aguijón was invited to and participated in the V Encuentro Internacional de Teatro Máscaras Del Tiempo, the most important theatrical event in southern Peru, which takes place in Arequipa; and V Festival Latinoamericano de Teatro Qosqo, in Cusco. The Company premiered its production of Perversiones, a farce about war, by playwrights Jose Castro Urioste and Eduardo Cabrera, and also presented its critically-acclaimed poetry show, Lorca!, a dance, theater and musical tour through the poetic works of Federico Garcia Lorca. In September/October, 2005, Aguijón returned to the Peruvian festivals and also participated in the I Encuentro Internacional de Teatro Lorquiano, sponsored by the Cultural Center of the General Sarmiento National University in San Miguel, Argentina, once again, taking The House of Bernarda Alba on the road. In 2006, Aguijón presented Federico Garcia Lorcas Yerma as part of that years Goodman Latino Theater Festival. In August of 2008, the company participated once again with the world premiere of Hasta los gorriones dejan su nido (Even Sparrows Leave their Nest), a play by Chicago-based Raúl Dorantes, inspired by Tennessee Williams The Strangest Kind of Romance; as has become customary, Aguijón performed to a sold-out crowd. Aguijón relishes these opportunities to showcase its work and mission of producing Spanish-language theater and the chance to show the world a glimpse of Illinois' vibrant artistic community.

In 2009, Aguijón Theater celebrated its 20-year anniversary. Aguijón continues to grow and the artists that form its core ensemble have strengthened and expanded the company's vision. The company has also received the continued and increasing support of numerous organizations such as the Illinois Arts Council, The Chicago Community Trust, The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, The National Museum of Mexican Art, Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Crossroads Fund. Besides organizational support, the company's lifeline is made up of an invaluable network of individual volunteers who believe in the company's mission and donate their time and energy to ensure its continued success.

Rosario Vargas,
Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Aguijón Theater, and
Performing Artist and Producer
Claudia Pérez Brown

Invite you to participate in their
second year of collaboration to celebrate

International Women's Day
on Friday, March 8, 2013

Aguijón Theater is dedicated to creating exciting and meaningful theatrical experiences through the cultural exploration, discussion and performance of high quality Spanish-language and bilingual works. With impacting artistic work, Aguijón promotes div

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Business Info

Founded: 1989
Parking: Street

Categories: Concert Venue, Theatre

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Past Events

  • Romeo y Julieta
    08:00 PM - 12/16/2016

    At Aguijón Theater

    SHAKESPEARE en la lengua de CERVANTES… Conmemorando los 400 años de la muerte de William Shakespeare, Aguijón Theater presenta una emocionante producción en...

  • Romeo y Julieta
    08:00 PM - 12/02/2016

    At Aguijón Theater

    SHAKESPEARE en la lengua de CERVANTES… Conmemorando los 400 años de la muerte de William Shakespeare, Aguijón Theater presenta una emocionante producción en...

  • Romeo y Julieta
    08:00 PM - 11/11/2016

    At Aguijón Theater

    SHAKESPEARE en la lengua de CERVANTES… Conmemorando los 400 años de la muerte de William Shakespeare, Aguijón Theater presenta una emocionante producción en...

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