Dominguez Bridge Theatre Company Brings Local History to Life
The recently formed Dominguez Bridge Theatre Company (DBTC), a branch of the Theatre Arts Department at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, is made up of students, faculty and staff, and local residents who have committed to presenting community-related theatre throughout the South Bay.
The formation of the DBTC was inspired by The Carson Bridge Project, a collaboration between the CSUDH campus and the community. Interviews that CSUDH students and Bill DeLuca, professor and chair of Theatre Arts, conducted with members of the community became an original work written by nationally acclaimed playwright José Cruz González. González, formerly project director of South Coast Repertory’s Hispanic Playwrights Project and a National Endowment for the Arts Director Fellow, was commissioned by the Carson Fine Arts and Historical Commission for the Project. The Fall 2006 production of “A House Named Eden” was centered on personal testimonies from Carson residents, with a plot that revolved around the city’s origins, history,
social consciousness, and its future.
The DBTC’s goal to build bridges between the University and its diverse service areas of the South Bay and Los Angeles will include mainstage productions at the University Theatre, culturally-enriching plays performed at area schools, and workshops and play readings at community locations.
The DBTC draws its inspiration from the Cornerstone Theater Company, a multi-ethnic, ensemble-based national theater company that is based in Los Angeles.
“Theatre has always been embraced as a way to see ourselves onstage,” says DeLuca, who is the DBTC’s artistic director, “but the Cornerstone concept of drawing the subject of a play from the issues that concern a community and having those who live that life perform it onstage is perhaps the best definition of relevant theatre. In adopting this innovative approach, Dominguez Bridge plans to develop an ongoing arts relationship with local schools, businesses, community centers, and residents, a relationship that will help CSUDH further realize its mission to become a true ‘communiversity.’”
DBTC’s next production, “The Alumni Show,” will be created from three months of interviews and storytelling sessions with graduates from 40 years of CSU Dominguez Hills, many of whom live and work in the South Bay area. Interviews will begin this January, with a draft and first reading of the play anticipated this summer. The production will be staged by DeLuca in November 2007 with a cast of the graduates themselves, acting along with CSUDH students.
For information on how to serve as a Community Partner, student interviewer, alumni storyteller, or production participant, please contact DeLuca at (310) 243-2400, email@example.com or Loretta Adikhai, director of event scheduling and planning at (310) 243-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Joanie Harmon-Whetmore
Photo above: Mayor ProTem of Carson, Julie Ruiz-Raber (in white suit, cutting ribbon) introduces a
new city and a new age in “A House Named Eden.” Looking on are cast members from the
CSUDH campus and the local community (L-R) Joyce Johnson, emeriti professor of English;
Loretta Adikhai, director, Event Scheduling and Planning; Gil Smith, former mayor of
Carson; and Phil Bray (Class of ’00, B.A., Theatre Arts). In the background are Manuel Sanchez
of Carson, Sharon Harris, senior (Theatre Arts), and Pauline Spellman of Carson.
Photo by Tom Marinello