The History of Teatro Máscara Mágica

Heralded as the “Theater of the People”, Teatro Máscara Mágica (TMM) is a culturally diverse, community based team of artist and supporters of the arts that believe all races, creeds and cultures should have the opportunity for artistic expression and experiences of the highest quality- particularly in the multi-sensorial realm of live theater.  TMM serves San Diego County with quality professional theatre and has been recognized as a national leader in developing a curriculum of dynamic, enlightening theatre productions coupled with community-based outreach and educational experiences.

Teatro Máscara Mágica is the brain child of two of San Diego’s best known Latino Directors– William Virchis and Dr. Jorge Huerta.  Both men have vast experience and accolades in the dramatic arts and were college professors, Dr. Huerta at UCSD and Bill at Southwestern College. Founded in 1989, the goal of TMM was nothing less than the redefinition of San Diego Theatre to include cultures and voices not traditionally represented in mainstream theater.

In the spring of 1990, the Teatro opened its inaugural play, the poetic “I Am Celso” to critical acclaim. The show drew appreciative audiences and was nominated for a San Diego Drama Critics Award. Other early productions included “An Evening with Carlos Bracho” and “Chronicle of Kidnapping”.

TMM broke new ground with its traveling show “The Ballad of Torqueto,” written as an educational vehicle to teach migrant workers about American banks and protecting money they earned.  The touring troupe would load itself into pairs of old vans and journey off-road to the dusty migrant camps of San Diego’s North County to reach is itinerant audiences.

In 1991, the company presented the critically-acclaimed “Hands full of Dust,” a provocative trans-border tribute to Mexican Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz.  The year’s crowning event, however, arrived in the form of San Diego’s first professionally-produced Pastorela–a timeless Christmas story imported from Mexico. Presented jointly with the Old Globe Theatre, “La Pastorela: A Shepherd’s Story” was written entirely in verse, like a yuletide Dr. Seuss story, and drew enthusiastic crowds from both sides of the border. In 2013, La Pastorela will reach its 23rd Anniversary, and is heralded as one of the Southwest’s premier holiday productions by theater critics and audiences alike.

The company expanded again in 1992 from its Latino roots to become a “common ground theatre” that welcomes artists from all races and cultures. Teatro Máscara Mágica now has active components and artistic representation from the African-American, Asian-American, Anglo-American, and Native-American communities.

In 2014, Teatro Máscara Mágica will celebrate its 25th Anniversary.  Over the past 25 years, TMM has continually strived to serve the needs of a rich and diverse American region. With performances, TMM has proved its dedication to increasing the production of multicultural theatre, providing professional theatrical opportunities to underrepresented segments of the population and to subsidizing ticket prices to make live theatre affordable to families and the less affluent.

Teatro Máscara Mágica is a national role model that has been cited by the National Endowment for the Art, California Arts Council, National Conference of Community and Justice and other civil rights, arts and community organizations. TMM is also the recipient of the 2004 San Diego Business Journal’s Multicultural Heritage Award and is in good standing as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.