We had the good fortune of connecting with Elisa Bocanegra and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Elisa, how does your business help the community?
This is such a loaded question! Hero Theatre is a social and environmental justice theatre company. Last year we launched an initiative that is dear to my heart called “Nuestro Planeta,” which means “Our Planet” in Spanish. It’s a 10-year-long new work commissioning initiative centering on the climate crisis and how it affects Latinx communities. I’m taking playwrights from Latin America back to their ancestral homelands and creating work about environmental justice for theatre and film audiences.

This Fall, after a three-year wait, we finally introduce RISE, our immersive play about gun violence in schools. With the recent shooting in Texas, I can’t think of a better time to bring this work to our audiences.

I feel that when you run a nonprofit performing arts institution, you have a responsibility to bring forth work that helps your community and our world. That’s certainly our goal at Hero Theatre.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m a plus-size Latina actress. There was nowhere for me on television or film for a long time. The roles were so few and far between; honestly, there still isn’t much. I remember seeing American Ferrera, who I love, at auditions. We would smile and look at one another like, “here we go again.” She’s making changes. It shows in her TV producing. It gives me hope.

I turned away from the film/tv industry for a while; it just got too painful. I dedicated myself to the theatre, which I love. I started my own theatre company Hero Theatre. We’re ten years old now. And I’ve just returned to doing television after that ten-year break I took and started Hero Theatre. I’m on season 2 of Physical on Apple Plus television, and hopefully, you’ll see me on season 3.

That break I took consisted of starting a social and environmental justice theatre company. I found a place for my creativity and passion that also involved helping others. I think I’m in a better space now to handle the demands of a tv/film career.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take them around the Silverlake Reservoir. I’d also take them to visit the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, my first place of work when I moved to Los Angeles. It’s a music school founded by Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I’d take them to Angelino Heights to see the Victorian homes. To east LA to eat at La Parilla. Also to Venice Beach.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Professor and visual artist, Jake Freilich. A native Angelino, he was a mentor of mine at Prescott College where i got my master’s in environmental and social justice arts practice. He guided me along in the creation of Nuestro Planeta. So grateful to him!

Website: herotheatre.org

Instagram: @elisabocanegra

Facebook: facebook.com/elisa.bocanegra.7

Image Credits
Liseth Tapasco, Giovanni Solis, Jenny Graham

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.