It is with mixed emotions that we at El Teatro Campesino announce that the annual theatrical presentations of La Virgen del Tepeyac and La Pastorela at Old Mission San Juan Bautista have come to an abrupt end. After near a half century, the awesome and inspiring tradition of live, community-based sacral theatre inside the Mission has been terminated by the permanent installation of the pews (required for safety concerns) eliminating our main performance areas in the crucero (center) of the Mission
It is estimated that over 250,000 people have attended the shows over the last 48 years! Over 2,000 artists, musicians and community members have been part of the cast, crew and support teams. The productions generated over $500,000 in rental fees to the local parish. Many participants included two or more generations of family members in its ranks. This includes many young people who received their first theatrical experience in La Virgen or Pastorela and subsequently continued their artistic journey with El Teatro and other arts organizations throughout the nation!
El Teatro wishes to extend our gratitude to the late Monseñor Amancio Rodriguez who first opened the doors of the Mission to us; starting with the Virgen play in 1971 and then La Pastorela in 1980 when rain drove us from the streets of San Juan into the church. We wish to thank all the subsequent pastors and staff who have sustained our unique Christmas tradition for five decades. San Juan Bautista is our spiritual and historical home, so we hope to continue to be able to work on mutually beneficial projects/events in the future.
El Teatro will soon be announcing plans for presentations of La Pastorela to be held in our ETC Playhouse this holiday season. Please watch for news alert! This legacy will continue. Thank you all for your continued support and enthusiasm. ¡SI SE PUEDE!
– from a release by El Teatro Campesino