Barrio Stories Project brings Tucson history back

Barrio Stories Project tells the story of a historic Tucson neighborhood

Less than 60 years ago, the place that we now know as Tucson Convention Center was located in one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Tucson.

Demolished in the late 1960s as a part of construction for the TCC, the Barrio neighborhood was torn down, with the stories of its inhabitants erased from history.

Fortunately, Borderlands Theatre, Lydia Otero — a UA faculty member — and the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology are bringing the people's stories back in March.

From March 3 to March 6, Tucsonans will be able to appreciate a grand-scale project that brings academics and creative individuals together. Based on the book "La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City," written by Otero, Barrio Stories Project aims to tell the story of a historic neighborhood located in downtown in the format of a play written by Elaine Romero, Virginia Grise and Martín Zimmerman. The play is directed by Marc David Pinate.

Show & Tell: Barrio Stories Project at Playground Bar and Lounge on Feb.10 briefly introduced the audience to what the project and the play entails. The plot of the play centers two romantically involved characters and features some of the original lines of people interviewed by Otero for her book.

Otero's book is an oral history collected from former residents of the Barrio neighborhood. Inspired by people in her academic work, Otero encourages further collaboration between academics and creative "people who dream professionally" to raise awareness about the history of the Old Pueblo.

The result of the two worlds — academic and creative — coming together is a project that involves 41 actors, 75 extras, four giant puppets and numerous mariachi groups, all covering the space of two football fields

The play is going to be performed for four consecutive days in the TCC area on March 3 and March 4 at 10 a.m. and March 5 and 6 at 11 a.m. Admission is free, but donations, along with any help, are greatly appreciated by the organizers. Anyone can sign up to volunteer for the event and make their contribution to the revival of the history of Tucson.

For more information on the project please visit barriostories.org.


Follow Jamelia Rizatayeva on Twitter.



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