The son of migrant farmworkers, Luis VaIdez is founder of the world-famous Teatro Campesino. In the mid-1960s, Teatro Campasino began establishing its reputation performing on flatbed trucks in the fields where farmworkers were struggling for humane working conditions.
Combining his talent for drama and satire, Luis entertained and educated the public about the plight of farmworkers. At the same time he articulated a message about the rich heritage of Mexican Americans and other Latinos, enabling them to reassert their own self-worth.
Luis has authored plays, scripts, and poetry, and acted and directed. In 1977, Luis was named Artist in Residence by the Rockefeller Foundation, and shortly after, created the smash play, Zoot Suit. In 1987, he directed the Hollywood box office hit, La Bamba, and created the stage play, Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution. Today, he continues his association with El Teatro Campesino in producing powerful Latino drama.
For three decades, Luis' use of universal themes within a Latino context has brought about a greater appreciation for the rich diversity of our nation.
Luis has a very strong personality and he is very comfortable in front of the camera. I made the lighting very obvious and dramatic for the purpose of creating a stage for him to perform. We were in his office at the Teatro Campasino, San Juan Bautista, California. His personality naturally came out for both the interview and the photoshoot.