CSUMB debuts local students’ play about their real lives

CSUMB student at the Las Memorias Rehearsals

Student at the Las Memorias rehearsals. | Photo by Brent Dundore-Arias

July 22, 2022

Las Memorias is an original play written and performed by high school students from Seaside, Gonzales, King City, Soledad, North Monterey County, and Greenfield as part of CSUMB’s summer youth program Performance As Education (PAE). 

The students wrote stories about their lives and experiences, were paired with professional theater personnel, and together they created the production, with the students performing the roles and stories they wrote themselves.  

PAE uses theatre and performance to help Latinx and other first generation high school students develop college success skills including public speaking, writing, performing, leadership development, and self confidence. 

PAE also introduces college life to the students, many of whom had never visited a college campus before. During their two weeks of rehearsals and performances, the students live in a CSUMB residence hall, walk the campus, use campus dining facilities, and attend workshops. 

“The transformation of the students is often remarkable, both how individual students grow and how the students come together as an ensemble,” said John Fraire, CSUMB’s interim vice president of Student Affairs and PAE co-founder. “They gain validation, knowing their stories mean something to people.”

Performance As Education was founded by AnaMaria Correa (who directs the CSUMB production) and Fraire at Washington State University where Fraire served as WSU's vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment. The students there came from primarily agricultural and rural areas — much like the students in CSUMB’s production — and over 80% of them went on to attend or graduate from college. 

Las Memorias is performed 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 4 and 5, at CSUMB’s World Theater, and 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at Robert Stanton Theater in King City. It’s free and open to the public. 

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