By Brad Stephens, PhD student in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) at Virginia Tech

The Community Change Collaborative (CCC) at Virginia Tech was honored to be part of bringing The Frontera Project to Blacksburg. This bilingual performance is the product of a powerful collaboration between artists on both sides of the U.S. and Mexican border. It was created to add nuance to our understanding of the border and to tell real stories about lives that straddle this space. In this way, the project itself is an example of the richness of cross-border existence. CCC worked with the School of Performing Arts and a number of other partners on campus to bring this dynamic and powerful experience to campus. For more background about this effort, please see Billy Parvatam’s story here.

In addition to performing their full show, The Frontera Project troupe members also gave several talks around campus and put on three workshops for students and faculty on September 30, 2022. Each of these workshops was tailored to a different audience, and they were received with universal praise. As a participant, I walked away with a better understanding of how to activate my body and mind. Additionally, we were shown techniques to facilitate better listening and improved storytelling. The 60 or 90 minutes allotted for each workshop flew by as participants were challenged and supported throughout.

Exercises from the workshops mirrored the processes the performers themselves use to build their work, and their dedication to the craft was evident. Even students with no familiarity with theater walked away having learned something about themselves and the process of creating theater arts. Indeed, quite a number of the tools used in the workshops can and will be adapted for CCC’s use in more general community engagement. This ability to produce many levels of meaning through the workshop process truly speaks to the capacity of The Frontera Project’s team and the vision they carry forward.

The Saturday evening performance of La Frontera on October 1, 2022 was also greeted with great acclaim. Many attendees commented upon its excellence and impact. It truly was our honor to help bring this compelling project to Blacksburg. The artists left an imprint that will linger long after they have left.

For more information on The Frontera Project, check out their website here: