On the cusp of graduation from UCSB, theater student and performer Betty Galindo is building a future for herself in activism-based theater. Galindo, who identifies as a biracial Latina, is devising feminist-forward work that focuses on social justice issues and climate change. She recently participated in the National Theater Institute’s Theatermakers Summer Intensive at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut. In this collaborative workshop environment, theater artists write, direct, and perform projects based within themes designed to perpetuate diversity in the artistic community, such as anti-racism and American realism.
The Eugene O’Neill Center is one of the country’s foremost development workshops for new works. Alumni Lin-Manuel Miranda, himself an activist for diversity in the evolving theater-scape, worked on In the Heights while at the Eugene O’Neill Center. In an effort to make theater more diverse via accessibility, Miranda offers a scholarship through the Miranda Family Fund for artists of color who need financial aid to attend the National Theater Institute. “I would not have been able to come to this program were it not for the Miranda Family Fund,” said Galindo, who earned the scholarship based on her passion for activism-based theater. The scholarship is offered on a financial-need basis to artists of color across all disciplines of theater.
Galindo hopes her success will inspire other area theater students to apply for the Miranda Family Fund scholarship. Beyond covering cost for the summer intensive, the Miranda Family Fund also flew scholarship recipients from all over the country to New York for a weekend of education and networking opportunities. “The Miranda family is trying to make this group of people bigger,” said Galindo, who came back from the experienced feeling transformed. “I want people to realize that they can have these opportunities.”