Get Cultured — August 21, 2015 at 11:59 am

Leela NYC Theatre Festival Celebrates Non-Traditional Casting



New York City is the biggest apple and you are bound to find something do, watch, or eat at every single hour of the day. When it comes to theatre, there are never too many festivals so it’s always great when a fresh new festival pops up and brings us something new. The Leela Theatre Festival is a brand new festival that is trying to change the casting process. The purpose of this festival is to give actors a chance to play characters that they otherwise would not have been able to for various reasons — their accent, skin, gender, and sexual orientation, the list goes on. As an actress, this fills my heart with a lot of joy to know that fellow actors are banding together to make necessary changes within the industry.

Kendra Augustin and Patricia Cardona Roca, who are both masters of a variety of trades, created this festival for those actors and actresses that are not represented and are not cast for a variety of reasons. This festival celebrates and brings to light the casting process. With an impressive resume between both founders, who better than to lead this festival and movement? When asked about this festival Patricia Cardona Roca and Kendra Augustin summed up the spirit of the festival by stating, “We created this festival to bring awareness to the fact that there is more diversity in this world than what it is often represented on stage and in the media.”


This festival is filled with star power. Not only do we have the talents of Kendra Augustin and Patricia Cardona Roca in the festival, but we also have Mario Fratti, Robin Rice Lichtig, and Pablo Paz, who all penned plays for the festival. The plays include Magic written by Kendra Augustin and directed by Ramiro Antonio Sandoval; Burying Elephants written by Robin Rice Lichtig and directed by Kendra Augustin; The Engagement Party written by Yani Perez and directed by Pablo Paz; Suicide Club written by Mario Fratti and directed by Christin Eve Cato; Philoctetes written by Sander Gusinow and directed by Noelle Mauri; Invoice written by Pablo Paz and directed by Brock Hill; and Happy Hamster Birthday written by Christiana Cole and directed by Adam Chisnall.  With this lineup of 10 minute plays, why wouldn’t you check out one of the performances?

Being that this is the first year, and hopefully it comes back with more amazing talent, funds for the festival are being raised over at Indiegogo. If you are interested in donating to this amazing new initiative and support the arts, make sure to visit Indiegogo and donate. They are providing a lot of great perks, including adopting an actor and accent lessons with the world renowned accent coach Jordan Yanco.

Tickets are now on sale, so make sure to buy yours now by clicking here. Use code SALON for a buy one get one free, for the Thursday showing.  The Leela NYC Theatre Festival will take place at Centro Español de Queens which is located at at 41-01 Broadway in Astoria. The Festival will take place August 27th and August 28th at 8PM. Make sure to check it out and support the arts! For more information on the festival, founders and upcoming news make sure to visit the Leela NYC Theatre Festival website.

Twisted Talk: How do you feel about this new up and coming festival? Are you interested in checking out the festival? Discuss below!

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