Young Latinx women from South London stand on stage and dare you to call them invisible.
My Uncle is Not Pablo Escobar follows a group of activists as they challenge injustice and fight for the representation they deserve.
My Uncle is Not Pablo Escobar began with conversations between The Advocacy Academy alumni and activists Valentina Andrade and Elizabeth Alvarado and Creative Director Tom Ross Williams about theatre as a potent tool to amplify activist collective, LatinXcluded’s, campaigns for Latinx rights in the UK.
My Uncle is Not Pablo Escobar exists not just as a show but also as a body of work in allyship, activism and grassroots community organising.
This formally innovative project weaves traditional playwriting with direct action and a live-art aesthetic, capturing the urgency of an activist rally and the celebration of a festival, bringing together the creators’ experience as theatre-makers, campaigners and activists. Our work explores dual identity, class and gender.
The project follows a model of co-creation in which the members of LatinXcluded inform the process at every stage, creatively capturing their campaigning, thus becoming a tactic itself to put pressure on key decision-makers and highlighting activism by Latinx youth.
Examples of this include seeing Arts Council England commit to adding a LatinX box on their monitoring forms and King College London carrying out an audit of LatinX students. Part of the outreach of My Uncle is Not Pablo Escobar includes the collaboration with Latin X Actors UK through the creation of LatAM Arts, a new directory of Latinx creatives working in the UK; a resource for the community as well as gaining visibility for the community and highlighting the wealth of talent and experience this group brings the UK arts scene.
Valentina is a community organiser, activist and campaigner. She is 23 years old, originally born in Bogota, Colombia. Graduate from King’s College London and alumn of The Advocacy Academy. Since the age of 17 Valentina has campaigned against the invisibility of Latinx youth within institutions of power and higher education. She has worked with several organisations such as the Community land trust campaign with Citiznes UK, she is a member of LatinXcluded and is currently the festival producer of Latin X Brixton.
Valentina Aims to increase visibility as well as encouraging academic achievement within the Latinx community, she focuses on the effects of dual identity (being a first generation migrant) and how this affects your experience as a British latina. She aims to delve into media communications, presenting and journalism in order to further voice her options and work.
Elizabeth is a 22 year old Ecuadorian activist and campaigner from South London studying at Royal Holloway. She was part of The Advocacy Academy fellowship from 2016-207 and since graduating has worked on the programme as a changemaker. She is passionate about drama and the arts and has been fighting for Latinx rights since she became an advocate.
Alongside Valentina, she has already been crucial in ensuring that the actors involved in this show can really relate to their unique experience in terms of their working-class background, gender, mother-tongues and dual heritages as being both from South London and Latinx. She has been key in challenging any representation of homogeneity of the Latinx community, strongly advocating for a real diversity of queer, afro-Latinx, white-passing, Portuguese and Spanish speaking actors.
Co-Creator (Project Lead)
Tom is a theatre-maker, filmmaker, performer & activist. Tom’s practice is rooted in the union of theatre and direct action; be that getting audiences to hack gendered marketing of toys or partake in guerrilla gardening to protest gentrification. For 5 years they were Artistic Director of the political theatre company, Populace, which performed work in venues across the UK.
As Creative Director of The Advocacy Academy, they focussed on the intersection of art and social justice and as well as developing My Uncle is Not Pablo Escobar, most recently produced and co-directed WE THE PEOPLE, a documentary commissioned by the Museum of London about intergenerational activism in Brixton.
They are actively involved in LGBT+ and Gender Equality activism. They write and talk about these issues in various settings, including as a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, a frequent panellist at WOW Festival and most recently, as a guest on BBC Radio4’s “The Moral Maze”. In 2017 Tom was featured in the Guardian as one of the “young activists changing politics”.
Their work as an actor includes RSC, Kneehigh, Soho Theatre, Bush Theatre, Royal Exchange and Lyric Hammersmith. They were nominated for Best Actor at the 2017 Off West End Awards for their one-person show, RUN at The Bunker.
For more information visit www.tomrosswilliams.com
Lucy Wray is a director and collaborative theatre-maker working across scripted and devised shows. Her work explores big political topics through intimate stories and encounters. She was shortlisted for the GENESIS Future Directors Award 2020 and RTST Sir Peter Hall Directing Award 2019. She was longlisted for the JMK Young Director Award 2019. Directing credits include [LAST] a climate crisis show co-created with Contemporary Theatre students at East15; Left My Desk (New Diorama, HOME Manchester) & Goodstock (New Diorama, Greenwich Theatre, Pleasance Edinburgh) for Lost Watch Theatre Company; Celebrate (VAULT Festival, NETFLIX Stage to Screen Award Nomination) & They Built It. No One Came. (Pleasance Edinburgh; UK Tour) by Callum Cameron; COW (Theatre Royal Plymouth, Bike Shed Exeter, Wilton's Music Hall); RUN (The Bunker, Nominated for Best Production & Best Actor Off West End Awards; EGGS (VAULT Festival). As Dramaturg: Give Me Your Skin by Tom Ross-Williams and Oonagh Murphy (BAC & UK Tour).
She was Resident Director on A Taste of Honey for the National Theatre in the West End and on tour, and for The Tragedy of King Richard the Second at the Almeida. As Associate Director for METIS, Lucy makes interactive interdisciplinary performance projects, and facilitates workshops in the UK and internationally with diverse participant groups. She is a reader for the NT New Work Department and Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.
Daisy is an Independent Theatre, Cabaret and Events Producer and fundraiser. They primarily work with Queer, Trans* and Disabled artists and specialise in experimental and socially engaged work. Daisy was part of the Old Vic 12 2019 and a Clore Emerging Leader 2020. Daisy previously worked for Theatre Royal Stratford East as an Associate Producer. They are also an access consultant and disability equality trainer for arts organisations. As a fundraiser they support a number of artists and organisations with grant applications, raising £150K+ per year. For more information visit www.the-hale.com
Joana is a Queer, Brazilian-British performance artist and dramaturg based in London. Her work has been described as “beautifully chaotic, poetic & political.” An actress by trade, she now writes and performs her own work. Jo’s debut show, Fuck You Pay Me, won People’s Choice Award.
Jo blends music, comedy, and poetry to make dark, observant, funny theatre about strip clubs, psychedelic drugs and matriarchal Brazilian families. She works across artforms such as storytelling, cabaret, dance, Latin music to create productions that are ethereal, glittery and grotty.
Anna is an artist of Latinx descent. She trained as a dancer in Brazil at the Facultade de Dança Angel Vianna and has gone on to work with Cia de Dança Deborah Colker, Vertigo Dance, Ella Mesma Company, Extraordinary Bodies, DeNada Dance Theatre, Vincent Dance Theatre amongst others. She founded her own company is 2019 with the objective of respecting and challenging the Latin American movement heritage of Tango and contemporary dance. Anna started working with producing through the desire to see more work from the Latinx perspective on stage. She works also as a movement director and choreographer in theatre and film. She enjoys to take risks, think big and daring, exploring the unfamiliar and tell stories through the body
She was selected to be an "optimist" with China Plate, one of ten selected theatre makers in the UK in 2019/2020 and is working as assistant producer on the project, leading on outreach projects and upskilling with Daisy Hale as mentor throughout the process, so as to increase the visibility of the Latinx Freelance producers in the UK