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Education & Community Engagement

NEA Big Read: Alley Theatre El Zocalo


What's Ahead

El Zòcalo now operates a full season of scalable, replicable programming and established goals. 

UP next:

  • Bless Me, Ultima Community Reading Project will host a wide range of activities such as book clubs, Cuentos y Charlas, a film screening, and a Story Slam featuring stories from members of the Hispanic community highlighting different themes from the novel. Register for FREE events below. 

Coming Soon:

  • Torera Festival Happy Hour with Mundo Taurino, a Mexican bullfighter
  • El Zócalo Community and Family Night performances for Alley Theatre season productions of What-A-Christmas and Torera
  • Special workshops and events aligning with What-A-Christmas and Torera

Community Cuentos y Charlas Series

The Making of the Feature Film

Tuesday, August 16 at 6:15 p.m. 
aeolian manor, 8507 Chalcos Dr., Houston, tX 77017 

If you can not attend the in-person event, follow us on facebook and watch the live, virtual broadcast. 

Meet some of the actors who brought the characters of Bless Me, Ultima to life in the feature film. Start your evening with a conversation that gives you behind the scenes access to the culture and traditions of el mundo de curanderismo (the world of faith healers). Then, watch the film Bless Me, Ultima and stick around for the celebration.

For ages 13 and up. 

Community Cuentos y Charlas Series

Nuestra Ultima

Friday, September 9 at 7 p.m.
Alley Theatre FAcebook Live

This season’s first Cuentos y Charlas explores elements of Mexican-American tradition and culture and its impact on one’s identity and moral independence as seen through the eyes of 7 -year-old protagonist Antonio Márez in Bless Me, Ultima.  Antonio, through the help of his grandmother and curandera (shaman) Ultima, comes to discover issues with the morality of his catholic faith and learns to push aside the beliefs pressed upon him by his family.  Join the conversation and discuss with expert panelists these themes in Bless Me, Ultima.

For ages 13 and up. 

Community Workshop


Self- Healing Interactive Workshop

Saturday, September 10 From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
aEOLIAN mANOR, 8507 cHALCOS dR., hOUSTON, tx 77017

Join Maestra "Toñita" Gonzales, native of New Mexico, and Abuela Bianca Rainflower in this interactive workshop. Engage with these wonderful curanderas (women of medicine/faith healers) as they bring awareness on how traditional healers are keeping the Curanderismo practice alive and thriving in the community. You will have a front-row seat to the ins and outs of ceremonies, prayers, rituals, dances, and much more! Get a chance to explore the tools that made Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico so popular!

For ages 13 and up. 

Historias, Memorias y Recuerdos

Story Slam

Friday, September 16 at 7 p.m.
Alley Theatre

Join us on this epic night of community storytelling. Enjoy the personal stories inspired by Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima and presented by Primer Borrador (First Draft) community participants. Community members from 12 Bless Me, Ultima book clubs came together in an intensive 8-hour bilingual storytelling residency learning the structure of storytelling and connecting them with a childhood memory of a personal faith healer. Be a part of their storytelling journey and celebrate with us National Hispanic Heritage Month!
For all ages.

Nuestra Palabra and The El Zócalo Advisory committee

Houstonian's Shaping the nation

Celebrate Community Cultural capital

Monday, October 3, 2022 from 6-8 p.m.
hubbard Theatre

Join us for Houston's release of the new book The Tip of the Pyramid: Cultivating Community Cultural Capital by Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante.

Diaz is a writer and activist originally from Chicago who moved to Houston to become the first Chicano to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. In 1998, he found Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, Houston's first reading series for Latino Writers, which sparked a movement for art, culture, and civil rights. 

Click through the gallery to view members of the El Zócalo Advisory Committee out in the community.