Sin Muros: A Latinx Theater Festival

Every year, Stages celebrates the range of Latinx voices and stories, reflecting the diversity of Texas with a play reading festival open to our community.

In 2023, the festival returns to The Gordy from May 25 through May 28 for its sixth season with a weekend of play readings, workshops, and celebrations led by Latinx artists and creators.

This year, we bring to you a brilliant array of Latinx voices—some near and some far—in the hopes that you are both entertained and informed about what the Latinx community looks like. Enjoy the worlds created here.

Lupe Mendez Sin Muros Festival Coordinator

This year’s winning plays:

619 Hendricks
by Josie Nericcio

Two brothers fight about the fate of their childhood home. Nesto wants to sell right away, Richie wants to wait, and each have their own reasons for what they want and need from the house.

Originally from Laredo, Texas, Josie Nericcio lives in Los Angeles and works in the entertainment industry. She has participated in writing programs at NBC, Fox, The Producers Guild, The National Hispanic Media Coalition Writers Workshop and written for Nickelodeon’s “Hey Arnold!” Her poems have been published in “Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature.” Josie’s play Carlotta Learns to Whistle won the 2019 Short+Sweet Hollywood Latino Best of Fest award, and was performed in the 2021 TEATRX La Vida Es Cortos Festival. Her play El Árbol won Alleyway Theater’s 2020 Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition one-act category, and her one-act play Easter Sunday at the Juárez Flower Shop had a virtual reading in the 2021 Sin Muros festival. Josie’s book of poems, Rio Grande Anthology, was turned into a series of video monologues which can be found here on YouTube.

parts per million & prophets
by Ricardo Dávila

After a provocative biology project lands her on suspension, Silvia’s eco-anxiety follows her through the halls of La Monte High School, cracking through her adolescence and opening up a channel to something older and much deeper, someone who’s been waiting for her to wake up … and then there’s the crocodile.

Ricardo Dávila was born in Florida to Puerto Rican parents, raised by the backyards of Chile, Brasil, and Argentina, trained in New York (NYU, BFA), matured in Connecticut (Yale, MFA), reborn in New York (National Alliance of Acting Teachers certification), and now journeying through Texas (upcoming: The Odyssey, Alley Theatre). As an actor Ricardo has worked in independent film (the land of owls), TV (Dietland, AMC), and theatre (High School Play, Alley Theatre). As a writer, they spent a month in upstate NY as a creative resident (SPACE on Ryder Farm) and have since been developing their writing. The stories they tell are not theirs, but rather given to them by the forces of intuition, spirit, and the natural world. Most of their writing is ecological, in the sense of hoping to mend the fractured relationship between human and more than human.

Hotel Puerto Vallarta,
a legitimate work of dramatic theatre

by David Davila

The Hotel Puerto Valarta (with one “L”) is the second most popular drag resort in sunny Puerto Vallarta—which ain’t saying much considering there’s only two. Though it hasn’t been remodeled by the fab five or any other interior designer since the early nineties, some would call its shabbiness chic. Still, others would call an Über to take them to a nicer hotel. That won’t stop local drag has-been turned hotel manager, Connie Guisada from dreaming of one day being able to restore it to its former glory! So imagine how Connie and the other queens react when they find out their boss, Barbra Coa, has plans to sell to developers and leave them all unemployed. Can Connie prevent the sale of the Hotel Puerto Valarta (with one “L”) by end of business day or will she be turning tricks with the half-naked hustlers out on Playa de los Muertos?

David Davila is an award winning playwright and comedian from the border of South Texas; where the wall has stood since George W’s administration. The winner of the 2022 National New Play Network Smith Prize for political theatre and the 2021 New American Voices National Playwriting award, his work stands at the intersection of queer-culture and mestizaje ranging from plays and musicals, to poetry and stand-up comedy. An alumnus of The Second City Training Center Chicago and the Primary Stages ESPA Playwriting School in Manhattan, he is currently a playwriting MFA fellow at Indiana University. His theatre works include MANUEL VERSUS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY (NYMF, O’Neill finalist, Princeton University, Gallery Players), AZTEC PIRATES, A LATINX FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES, PART ONE: THE INSIGNIFICANCE OF LIFE ON MARS (San Diego Rep, Brooklyn Cultural Arts Center), PART TWO: THE INEQUITY OF SACRIFICE (Latinx Playwrights Circle, PlayGround Experiment), HOTEL PUERTO VALLARTA, A LEGITIMATE WORK OF DRAMATIC THEATRE (Egg & Spoon, San Diego Rep, Variations Theatre), PROMESA: A MARIACHI MUSICAL (Musical Theatre Factory), ANIMAL HUSBANDRY (NYC Fringe 2019, Feast, BarnArts), VOX POP (Musical Theatre Factory, 54 Below), #52SONGS (Beechman), TALES FROM HWY 281 (Intar), ADAN Y JULIO Y LA FRONTERA 2003 (O’Neill semi-finalist, Viva Theatre), THE MESQUITE TREE: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (Theatro Audaz), THE PIÑATA (Indiana University), and more. In 2022 his streamer MOST LIKELY TO premiered at the New York Latino Film Festival and had several additional screenings at festivals around the country. @davidodavila

a river, its mouths
by Jesús I. Valles

Struggling with severe depression, You return to your hometown in Texas, right by the river that raised You, right on the border with Mexico. It’s the summer of 2019 and the Rio Bravo keeps claiming migrants’ lives during their perilous crossings. However, the people in your hometown are much more interested in talking about “The Rio Grande mermaid,” a creature rumored to haunt the river, clawing its way out of the sand, out of the water, into the air, into your head, haunting the mouths of family, friends, and strangers. Something in the water calls to You. “Come,” the river says, “Come to me.”

Jesús I. Valles is a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, writer-performer from Cd. Juarez/El Paso. Jesús is a 2021 CantoMundo fellow at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, a 2021 Lambda Literary fellow, a 2019 Walter E. Dakin Playwriting Fellow of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a recipient of the 2019 Letras Latinas Scholarship from the Community of Writers’ Poetry Workshop, and a 2019 poetry fellow at Idyllwild Arts Writers Week. Jesús is also a 2018 Undocupoets Fellow, a 2018 Tin House Scholar, a fellow of The 2018 Poetry Incubator, and the runner-up in the 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest. Their work has been published in Shade Literary, The Texas Review, The New Republic, Palabritas, The Acentos Review, Quarterly West, The Mississippi Review, Palette, The Adroit Journal, BOAAT, The McNeese Review, and PANK. Their poetry has also been featured on NPR’s Code Switch, The Slowdown, The BreakBeat Poets’ LatiNext Anthology, the Best New Poets 2020 anthology, and the anthology, Somewhere We Are Human. As an actor, they are the recipient of four B. Iden Payne Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama (2018), and Outstanding Original Script (2018) and they were nominated for the Mark David Cohen New Play Award for their play, (Un)Documents. Their playwriting work has received awards and support from OUTSider festival, Teatro Vivo, The VORTEX, The Kennedy Center, New York Theatre Workshop, The Latino Theatre Co. at the LATC, and The Flea. Jesús is currently an MFA playwriting student at Brown University.

Scenes from “Sin Muros: A Borderless Teatro Festival” on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.

Scenes from “Sin Muros: A Borderless Teatro Festival” on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.

Scenes from “Sin Muros: A Borderless Teatro Festival” on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.

Premio Puente

Stages takes great pride in hosting the Premio Puente (the Bridge Award) as part of the festival. The Premio Puente was created in order to recognize the exceptional contributions of leaders in the Houston area Latinx arts community. Every year, the organizing body known as the Sin Muros Committee takes time to select an individual or organization who has demonstrated great skill/talent/drive/care in serving the Latinx art community in the Houston area. Recipients are celebrated during the festival and are honored with a one of a kind award created just for them by renowned artist Joseph Blanchard.

2022 Premio Puente Winner

Ruby Rivera

Originally from Houston Texas, Ruby Rivera was raised in the humble setting of Houston’s Northside community. Born of Puerto Rican and Guatemalan descent, she was the first one in her family to get accepted and attend a four year university. Ruby attended and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin. Upon completion, Ruby worked for The University of Texas at Austin in both the financial aid and admissions offices, respectively. Ruby’s time in this setting helped shape her personal commitment to increasing minority enrollment at colleges and universities. It was this particular position that landed her a job back in Houston, Texas at the end of 1999. It was then that Ruby attended her first salsa club in Houston. Ruby immersed herself in the Houston salsa community in order to increase her ability and create her own style. She was quickly noticed and asked in May, 2001 to join the first dance company in Houston, Guaguanco Dance Company. As a member of Guaguanco she learned to choreograph, perform, but most importantly she learned the art of instruction. In 2002, Ruby took a risk and co-founded her own dance company, Rhumba Y Bongo. It was through this dance company that Ruby was able to expand her creativity and work with a diverse group of dancers. Rhumba Y Bongo Dance Company better known as R&B would eventually break the mold of traditional salsa routines by incorporating hip hop, modern, and break dancing and fuse it with salsa and mambo. R&B has been able to perform in multiple events throughout Houston and across Texas. In addition, R&B has been able to travel outside of Texas as invitees and performers in the Chicago, Puerto Rico, and New York Congresses. As an instructor, her patience and passion for teaching has led her to be one of Houston’s top instructors. Ruby has had the privilege to instruct at such Houston events as LULAC Scholarship Fundraiser, and The National Hispanic Forum, along with schools in the Houston Independent School District intermixed with a variety of Houston Social clubs. It is Ruby’s desire to share with individuals the beautiful gift of dancing as it was once given to her. In 2005, Ruby took all her knowledge and connections and became the first female host/organizer for a Salsa Congress, a conference assembly for dancers from across many regions where participants learn skills in dance workshops and performances over a series of days. Rivera has made Houston home to the Texas Salsa Congress for 15 years. To date, Ruby is the only female organizer in the Salsa community. When not curating and organizing the Texas Salsa Congress, Ruby serves as Manager of College Counseling for the Houston Independent School District, overseeing all HISD Secondary College Career Counseling with a focus on undocumented students, POC and arts student populations. Ruby hopes to inspire others to continue to teach and learn from the art of salsa. Ruby hopes to eventually work with younger age groups to help them not only learn salsa but influence them to attend and obtain a higher education.

Sin Muros Committee 2023

Sin Muros: A Latinx Theater Festival is a collaborative community effort. The committee is made up of activists, educators, artistas, grassroots organizers, PhDs, compadres y comadres. Stages looks to their direction and voice to help mold what the festival will look like year after year.

Kayla Boffone
Houston Theatre Artist and Educator

Dr. Trevor Boffone
Houston Theatre Artist, Writer, Educator, and Scholar

Michael Buck
Patron Services Manager, Stages

Joel Burkholder
Technical Director, Stages

Dr. Michelle Cantú-Wilson
Creative Director and Speaker, Marquee Consulting, Inc.
Former Director of Teaching and Learning Initiatives and Special Projects, San Jacinto College

Edmundo Cardona
Patron Services Lead, Stages

Marissa Castillo
Co-Founder, TEATRX

Celeste Cerenio
Production Mentee, Stages

Candice D’Meza, MPA
Houston Theatre and Multidisciplinary Artist

Eboni Bell Darcy
Director of Inclusion, Engagement and Training, Stages

Ashley Ginn
Resident Stage Manager, Stages

Sarah Gutierrez
Special Events and Corporate Sponsorships Manager, Stages

Jack Ivy
Marketing Manager, Stages

César Jáquez
Building Liaison, Stages

Elizabeth A. M. Keel
Artistic and Community Engagement Administrator, Stages

Kasi Love
Production Manager, Stages

Jasminne Mendez, MFA
Co-Founder, Tintero Projects

Lupe Mendez, MFA
2022 Texas Poet Laureate
Sin Muros Festival Coordinator

Melissa Molano
Houston Artist
Resident Acting Company Member, Alley Theatre

Laura Moreno
Houston Theatre Artist

Fernanda Ogazón, MA
Marketing Director, Stages

Reyes Ramirez, MFA
Jesse H. Jones Fellow, Dobie Paisano Fellowship Program, University of Texas

Ruby Rivera
Senior Manager, College Readiness, Houston ISD
Director and Organizer, Texas Salsa Congress

René P. Rodriguez
Finance and Administration Associate, Stages

J. Salazar
AV Technician and Crew, Stages

Leah Smith
Costume Shop Manager, Stages

Benito Vasquez
Artistic Director, TEATRX

Donesha Winters
Content Strategist, Stages

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