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El Teatro Campesino (2018)

El Teatro Campesino (2018)

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Yale School of Drama
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In January 2018, Christy Sandoval, an actor and director responsible for the general management of El Teatro Campesino (the Teatro) in San Juan Bautista, California, was planning the Teatro’s 2018-2019 programming. Half of the programming would be predetermined by the programs that the Teatro produced annually with volunteers from the town. The other half would be programmed from the emerging projects of the Teatro’s community of affiliated artists, who were largely introduced to the theater as volunteers. The Teatro’s annual programming typically ran from August through July.

Founding Artistic Director Luis Valdez still held weighty influence on the strategic direction of the organization but had stepped away from the operational aspects. His son, theater director and immediate past Producing Artistic Director Kinan Valdez, had taken the reins of the company in 2006. According to an Interim Plan penned by Kinan upon his departure in August of 2016, “there are no plans to find a replacement candidate …. The [Producing Artistic Director] position will be replaced by a new organizational staffing structure, but not for a period of at least one year, leaving [the Teatro] without a central organizational leader in FY 2016-17.” Sandoval, as general manager, along with three “Local [Teatro] Producers” were to execute the transition into the new model, using the one-year Interim Plan as a template to maintain programming.

By January of 2018, three of the four Local Teatro Producers had left the Teatro for personal reasons. Sandoval stayed and took on more of the day to day responsibilities as time passed. The Teatro had been operating for over six months without articulating a new plan to replace the one Kinan wrote. How would El Teatro Campesino fare without an organizational leader, a long-term strategic plan, or a vision for the future? Whose responsibility was it to envision the future of the organization?

Publication Date: 2018-09-15

Suggested Citation: Armando Huipe, "El Teatro Campesino (2018)," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case Study #17-85, September 15, 2018

Keywords: California, Community, Community Arts, Culturally Specific Organization, Leadership Transition, Strategic Planning

Teaching Notes: Yes (contact yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu

About the Theater Management Knowledge Base

This case is from the Theater Management Knowledge Base, a body of arts management material created by Yale School of Drama Theater Management students and faculty, overseen by an editorial board of leading practitioners. For more information or for help in selecting cases suitable for your educational or organizational purposes, please email yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu.