Margarita Espada: Teatro Yerbabruja, a Conduit for Change

The immigrant stories that are here. . . when they see in us the possibility that it’s real. That’s why I focus on a specific community because we know the challenges . . . so young artists they see in us, [and] know that [change] is possible and we are here to support them.

Margarita Espada has traveled the world in her careers as an artist, educator and cultural organizer, training in physical approach to theater practice. Margarita is the founder and director of Teatro Experimenantal Yerbabuja, an art organization with the mission to use the arts as a tool for social change.  She is part of the faculty at the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University where she teaches theater and activism.

Teatro Yerbabruja’s mission is to use the arts as a tool for social change, to promote professional artists and to nourish emerging artists. Its programs are designed to promote creativity and to motivate civic dialogue. (The Yerbabruja is a medicinal plant from Puerto Rico that flourishes in the harshest of conditions.) 

Teatro Yerbabruja’s mission is to use the arts as a tool for social change, to promote professional artists and to nourish emerging artists. Its programs are designed to promote creativity and to motivate civic dialogue.

The Yerbabruja is a plant that flourishes in the harshest conditions and survives for a better tomorrow with just the sunlight for hope. Our mission at Yerbabruja is to connect community, art, and education and create a positive impact in the lives of the people we connect with through our work! 

Yerbabruja believes that artistic enrichment and social revitalization go hand-in-hand, and together build strong and sustainable communities. Teatro Yerbabruja’s programs are anchored in the values of racial justice that honor the contributions of people of color, and that are truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive. We understand that definitions of art, culture, and creativity depend on the cultural values, preferences, and realities of residents and other stakeholders in a given community.   

We create and produce experimental theater & use theater and other art forms to increase and encourage the understanding among people of different cultural backgrounds; provide opportunities to minority artists through performance, arts and workshops to develop their works. We provide knowledge and appreciation for the arts.

Get involved:  volunteer; artist opportunities; vendor opportunities

Margarita received her Master of Fine Art in Dramaturgy  from Stony Brook University and her Bachelor of Art in Education from Puerto Rico University. She is a New York State and Puerto Rico-certified theatre teacher with over 30 years of experience as an educator, performer, playwriter, arts activist, and cultural and community organizer.  

She has conducted research, supported school and organization change efforts, and facilitated teacher / professional learning around applied theater, culturally responsive practice, curriculum design, problem solving, and reflective communication. Margarita also works as a project manager for Center for Community Inclusion, Long Island University. Her works includes coordinating with Family Engagement Specialists/Parent Liaisons in various districts to develop and conduct family friendly practices within schools.

  Margarita has won multiple awards for her arts excellence and community work including Suffolk County Proclamation,2019, Recognition Senator Boyle, 2019. Martin Luther King Living Legend Award, NAACP Islip, NY, 2018. Citation for  Cultural Organizer, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, 2018, Artist of the Year, Legislator Monica Martinez, Suffolk County, NY,2016.

  She has received numerous awards and proclamations for her leadership, her art and community work including Suffolk County Proclamation,2019, Recognition Senator Boyle, 2019. Martin Luther King Living Legend Award, NAACP Islip, NY, 2018. Citation for Cultural Organizer, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, 2018, Artist of the Year, Legislator Monica Martinez, Suffolk County, NY,2016. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times and by the Associated Press, Newsday, and numerous other media outlets.

Location: Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery

17 2nd Avenue
Bay Shore, NY 11706
631.626.3603

Facebook: #teatroyerbabruja

Instagram: #teatro.yerbabruja

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