Representing The College of Wooster in the production of the Cristina Michaus play Women of Ciudad Juárez at The Royal University Theatre Festival of Liège in Belgium in February will be (from left) Summit Starr, Janna Haywood, Cristina Michaus, Marisa Adame, Jimmy Noriega, and Stephanie Castrejon.


Jimmy Noriega’s Play Chosen for Renowned Theatre Festival in Belgium

Women of Ciudad Juárez will be presented at The Royal University of Liège

15 December, 2015 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Women of Ciudad Juárez, a play directed by Jimmy Noriega, assistant professor of theatre and Latin American studies at The College of Wooster, has been selected to be presented at a prominent international theatre festival in Belgium in February. Noriega’s production, which has been on tour for three years, is a dramatic tribute to the hundreds of women who were raped, tortured, and murdered during the past two decades in the Mexican border city that lies south of El Paso, Texas. The production was chosen by juried selection from hundreds of entries, and will be staged at The Royal University Theatre Festival of Liège, which is home to one of the oldest and longest-running theatre festivals in the world.

“It is an immense honor for all of us to know that we will represent both the United States and the women of Juarez in this international venue,” said Noriega, whose production was one of 18 selected among entries from Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Ukraine, Belgium, France, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Not many U.S. groups have been invited to present at this festival. We are extremely excited about this opportunity.”

Written by Cristina Michaus, a famous Mexican film actress, documentary filmmaker, and playwright, the production has been translated into English by Noriega. It examines, reflects on, and speaks about the femicides taking place in Juárez, Mexico. The city represents the oppressive and exploitative side of neoliberal reform and free-market trade. The play, which features Wooster students Marisa Adame, Stephanie Castrejon, and Summit Starr along with recent Wooster graduate Janna Haywood, speaks out against all forms of violence against the female body and psyche. The group works and travels under the name Teatro Travieso, which was founded in 2012 on the premise that theatre can create positive change in the world.  

The weeklong, all-expenses-paid, festival, which runs Feb. 22-28 in Liège, Belgium, enables attendees to see the selection of international plays that represent the best of their countries, while also providing opportunities to participate in workshops and lectures.

“When we first staged this play in 2014 we never imagined that it would have such a long and global reach,” said Noriega. “It is rewarding to know that our production is helping to spread the message of Juárez to so many people and communities.”

At the conclusion of the festival, Noriega and the actresses will return home and present the play during the four nights of Wooster’s biannual “Festival of New Works,” scheduled for March 2-5. Cristina Michaus will also be on campus to participate in the activities. To date, the show has been performed 20 times at 14 venues in the U.S. and Canada. More than 4100 people have seen the live performance and reviews of the play have appeared in the scholarly journal Women and Performance and the Mexican theatre magazine Paso de Gato. Last year, the production team earned an award from the Kennedy Center and American College Theatre Festival for “Making Theatre an Important Catalyst for Sociopolitical Change.”