El Proyecto Dramatico is a program coordinated through New Stage Players in South Sioux City. Translated, it means “the dramatic project or people also call it the Spanish Drama Project,” explained Ivonet Torres De Anda, one of the founders and directors. This first-ever bilingual drama project in Siouxland has four directors: Ivonet Torres DeAnda, Kristy Tremayne, Natali Ramirez Markworth, and Sydney Siomara Siordia. Christine Wolf is the president of the organization. “The group formed when I was asked to be part of a bilingual group focused on Hispanic productions,” Sydney explained. “The planning for this program began over two years ago. As a predominantly Hispanic community, we wanted to bring the theater to all of our community, and we just kept working at it. Natalie and Kristy have a lot of theater experience in the area and are always happy to share those with others,” added Ivonet.
For many immigrants in our community, they may not have learned the language but have experience in the performing arts from their home countries. “It’s not just in Spanish,” Ivonet clarified, “it is truly bilingual in English, too.”
There are two components – one is an open invitation portion where people can participate, the other will be productions where there will be auditions, casting, rehearsals, and performances.
Sydney explained, “The open portion meets the first and third Sunday of the month and is open to anyone age 11 or older. At the beginning of the program, there is a little introduction to the program and what can be expected. We meet at the New Stage Players Performing Arts Center, located at 3201 Dakota Ave., in South Sioux City, Nebraska.” Ivonet added, “The first few times we just got to know each other and what each person is interested in doing. We found a lot of people are interested in music so we kind of did an open mic type one meeting.”
The group will be putting on a showcase in September at the theater and will also be performing in the Mexico Independence Day event on September 17th. “It is a great time to present our talents,” Ivonet said. “It will be a great time to share our diversity and vibrancy of the program which celebrates our culture, too.” New participants are welcome anytime.
“A lot of people are hesitant to come to the program because they think it is just acting and singing and not everyone is comfortable with that,” Sydney explained. “But there is so much more to it than just that. There is makeup, costuming, set designs, lighting, and sound. You don’t have to act to be a part of it.”
While operating a performing arts center requires financing to pay for licensing and play rights of shows, makeup, costumes, building utilities, and more, New Stage Players is providing services to performers at no cost. This is largely due to their status as a non-profit, corporate sponsorships, and ticket sales. These sponsorships and ticket sales are critical to being able to provide the unique performance opportunities that exist at New Stage Players.
The first ever bilingual production in Siouxland will be held in the summer of 2023. Watch the New Stage Players website and Facebook page for more details!
New Stage Players has been providing inclusive opportunities for community members to engage in performing arts for a number of years. In addition to El Proyecto Dramatico, they also sponsor “The Penguin Project ” which is a theater performance featuring individuals with disabilities.
Going forward, there is a project being developed to share the voices of Siouxland. Ivonet explained, “There are so many businesses or people who have made contributions to Siouxland and through our history. We want to have an opportunity to hear those stories, to document and collect them. That is the next project we have in mind.”
By Michelle Lessmann