“Hola!” My name is Jasmin Cardenas, I'm a 1st generation North American and proud daughter of Colombian immigrants. I live and work as a theater deviser, director, storyteller and actor in Chicago, IL, in the United States of America.
Theater allows us to see each other, to hear each other….and by listening and witnessing each other, we can finally see ourselves. For several years I’ve been working with regular working class people, non-professional artists who go from feeling silenced to finding their voice.
In this country, working people are treated as disposable and are especially vulnerable if undocumented or they’ve spent time in prison. That invisibility shuts you down, but when we play together …it’s like life is sparked again. And they are no longer invisible and we see ourselves (nos vemos), we find our power (nuestro poder).
I studied with Augusto Boal so we use the technique called Theater of the Oppressed to fight for workers rights. Our collective, WorkersTEATRO amplifies worker’s stories. We perform in public places so that other workers learn about their rights, see that they aren’t alone - experiencing abuse. This is systemic. Also, we want professional Chicagoans to see that wage theft and exploitation is happening right here in Chicago - not somewhere else in the world, it’s our problem to deal with. No one is disposable and our voices matter.
Being awarded a LAB FELLOWSHIP with The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics connected me with deep thinking international artists, and together we are raising collective consciousness all over the world.
I know that the power of theater is that we can tap into compassion and empathy and ideally move towards action, locally and globally. Thank You.