The world premiere of new play My Uncle Is Not Pablo Escobar challenges toxic stereotypes of Latinx people – the 8th largest ethnic community in the UK and one of the fastest growing, but still not recognised as a category in the national census and other major bodies.
A high stakes heist play with Latinx Women from South London taking centre stage and daring you to call them invisible.
Inspired by the real life story of a major multinational British high street bank laundering money for cartels, the show imagines how a powerful team of Latinx women could come together at great risk to themselves to expose the men profiting from crime in Latin America and seek justice.
My Uncle is Not Pablo Escobar relishes in the seen and unseen of communities and systems so insidiously hidden and explores what it means to have a dual identity – your cultural heritage and your home city.
Drawing on extensive activism developed at The Advocacy Academy, the production has already proven the capability of arts to enact social change, being the catalyst for Arts Council England to add Latin American as an ethnicity on their forms – the first major institution to differ from the national census. The team also has been working with King’s College London to galvanise policy and give South American students better access to degree and postgraduate courses.
Co-creator Elizabeth Alvarado says “A lot of stereotypes that I have faced is that I sell drugs, or that I am somehow related to a drug cartel. It’s a joke that gets very boring very quickly, because people say it so much. It’s something people think because of the movies they watch and the way media portray us. The play is going to be a fantastic way to challenge those stereotypes because we want to create characters that are powerful, radical, strong and fierce. I feel privileged to be able to share a bit of what I have lived and experienced. A lot of myself is in this project.”
Co-creator Valentina Andrade says “If at the age of 15 you had told me when you are in your twenties you are going to be co-creating a play, I wouldn’t have believed you. This project is like a baby to me. It’s intertwined with my life, my campaigning. I never thought I would be able to do something like this, because I’ve never seen it happen to other people.”
My Uncle is Not Pablo Escobar is presented with the Latin X Brixton Festival 16-18 June – a series of panels, workshops and talks around co-creation, activism, creativity and Latinx culture. Full programme to be announced.
All performances will be surtitled in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
My Uncle Is Not Pablo Escobar is at Brixton House 7 – 24 June 2023