Education & Community Engagement

Twelfth Night Student Matinee



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Baldemar Rodriguez
Manager of Community Partnerships

    El Zócalo's Community Cuentos y Charlas

    for houston's diverse latinx theatregoers

    Alley Theatre’s El Zócalo announces a series of online panel conversations to serve our bilingual community of theatregoers. These Community Cuentos y Charlas are centered around our 2021 Spring digital productions of Medea and El Chuco Town Forever.

    The Alley's Spring 2021 Digital Season is FREE and reintroduces Houstonians to the classics and celebrates Alley All New Alumni and Houston writers. For more information about the Spring 2021 Digital Season and to register for your private viewing links for the productions, visit


    Community Cuentos y Charlas for EL CHUCO TOWN FOREVER
    Friday, April 9, 2021 at 5:30 P.M.
    A panel of mental health experts will open up a conversation on themes that connect El Chuco Town Forever with our community and help guide the conversation on fear, shame, guilt, and depression.  

    Click here to register for a FREE viewing link of the play.

    Meet the panelists FOR EL CHUCO TOWN FOREVER.

    Laura Moreno

    Director of el chuco town forever: Laura Moreno

    The Catastrophic Theatre

    Managing Director

    Laura Moreno is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance after receiving a BFA in Acting in 2016. Moreno is known throughout the local theatre community as a producer, director, arts administrator, actress, makeup artist, costume and wig designer, and teaching artist (Alley Theatre, Main Street Theater, University of Houston). She currently sits on the advisory board for El Zocalo at the Alley and she served as an advisor and task force member of the play selection committee for Stages’ Sin Muros Latinx Theatre Festival. She founded the Houston chapter of the Parent Artists Advocacy League (PAAL) and is its chief representative. She is also a member of the UH College of the Arts Anti-Racism Task Force and School of Theatre and Dance DEI committee. 

    Jose Avalos

    Community Partner: Jose Avalos

    Creative Vida

    president and co-founder

    Jose Avalos serves as President and Co-Founder of Creative Vida. A local non-profit with a mission statement to educate and empower youth through creative experiences. Jose was born in Baytown, TX to loving parents that came to this country from a small town near Guadalajara, Jalisco. He graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor's degree in Marketing and a minor in Sales and Entrepreneurship. In his career, he helps small-medium-sized businesses create software, apps, and digital marketing strategies. Jose has always kept the phrase 'change the world' or 'cambia el mundo' close his heart and with the help of God, his wife Michelle, and a lot of mentors, he has faith he will do just that. 

    Jose Avalos

    Community Partner: Veronica Olivarez

    University of Houston Hispanic Alumni Association

    communications chair

    Veronica Olivarez is a digital marketing consultant, solo-traveler, and creative professional who believes in living big and laughing often. She specializes in assisting entrepreneurs with digital marketing strategies to help build a clean and effective online presence. After graduating with a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston and two years in the oil industry she began researching and learning the ins and outs of digital marketing and the best practices to build a brand online. 

    Jose Avalos

    Community Partner: Dr. Sergio Lira

    education consultant, former HISD school board trustee (2018-2020)

    A public-school educator for twenty-eight years, Dr. Sergio Lira received his doctorate in Urban Educational Policy from the University of Houston. His  mission in life is preparing all students for a career or college and advocating for equity of resources for their future. He proudly served on the Houston ISD school board as a trustee from 2018-2020. 

    Dr. Sergio Lira's thirty-five years of community involvement have centered on helping all students, immigrant families, parents, teachers, staff, and all educators. He pursued the highest level of education possible because he wants to be the best prepared to offer his knowledge and experience to those who need it the most. His vocation, his mission in life is to provide educational access and equity to those who are disenfranchised and to create maximum educational opportunities to all students. He promotes strong academics supported by a strong fine arts program to enrich and develop every students with multiple intelligences. 

    Blanca Garza

    Mental Health Panelist: Blanca Garza

    Center for Creative Resources

    LPC Intern psychotherapist

    Blanca L. Garza, LPC-Intern. Graduated with her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in California. She currently interns as a Bilingual Psychotherapist at the Center for Creative Resources under the supervision of Jyl Scott-Reagan. She works with BIPOC communities and the focus of her studies has been Depth Psychology where she focuses on the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious incorporating mythologies, somatic work and other creative modalities. Her thesis work and research has centered around the archetypes of the Latina woman including the archetypes of the warrior goddess and the enslaved virgin. 

    Jose Avalos

    mental health panelist: sergio aguirre

    national alliance on mental illness of greater houston

    certified family partner, The harris county center for mental health and idd

    Sergio Aguirre is a Certified Family Partner in Texas, a Certified NAMI Instructor in Texas, and a Certified Pastoral Counselor in NY. He currently works at The Harris Center and Volunteer advocate with NAMI and Mental Health of America. He has been working within the Houston Community for over 20 years. 

    Tony Diaz

    moderator: tony diaz

    Nuestra palabra: latino writers having their say radio


    Writer, activist, and professor Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, was the first Chicano to earn a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. He earned his bachelor's degree in Communications from De Paul University in Chicago. Diaz is currently the Director of Intercultural Initiatives at Lone Star College-Houston North, where he also teaches Mexican American Literature.  

    Diaz is also a political analyst on "What's Your Point" which airs on Fox 26 Houston. He also hosts the weekly bilingual radio program Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say which covers Latino Literature, Art, and Politics on KPFT 90.1 FM Houston. His essays have appeared in the Houston Chronicle, Texas Observer,, the Los Angeles Times, and Huffington Post Latino Voices, among other publications and wrote the novel “The Aztec Love God.” 

    Diaz made national and international news when he led the Librotraficantes in defying Arizona's ban of Mexican American Studies by organizing the 2012 Librotraficante Caravan to smuggle books banned books in Tucson back into Arizona. He just completed writing the textbook "The Mexican American Studies Toolkit" for adoption in Texas high schools.  Diaz currently resides in Houston where he continues to fight for Intellectual Freedom and Freedom of Speech. 

    In Partnership with:


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