Aurora Theatre Deepens Atlanta’s Musical Roots

Aurora Theatre Reaches Out to Latino Culture in Atlanta with Music

While going to see Capricho Music’s Latin jazz show at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, Georgia on September 2, I caught up with the theater’s young Program Manager, Sergio Rubio, who clued me in on the theater’s alter-ego: Teatro Aurora.  They’re not only producing local theater; they’re also bringing all kinds of live Latin-American music and Hispanic cultural events to Atlanta.

The Aurora Theater is the second-largest professional theater organization in Georgia, based on its budget and its memberships. It has always mounted its own local theater; it’s not a venue for national touring shows. From its inception 20 years ago its director and co-founder Anthony Rodriguez (whose parents came here from Cuba) wanted to build a mainstream English-language theater company, inclusive for everybody. But he had a larger dream: to augment those shows with local theater in Spanish (with English supertitles projected above the stage) in order to become a cultural center for the Latin-Americans who have transformed Gwinnett County and metro Atlanta. So in 2004 he launched what was first called “Teatro del Sol.”

Their productions of contemporary Spanish-language plays on themes relevant to Latin-Americans have caught on in a big way in the Aurora Theatre’s new home amidst the staggering cultural diversity that has mushroomed in Gwinnett County in the last generation. Now they are forging ahead with live Latin-American music and cultural events, such as their annual program around the Mexican cultural celebration of Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) coming up on the back side of Halloween.

Sergio Rubio, born in Bogotá, Colombia, started at the Aurora as a high-school intern and has worked his way up. “Once I came along I was able to provide that support to Anthony Rodriguez, so he can keep in the leadership of the entire organization while I focus on the Latin-American community as a whole. Now we bring one-day-off events that really showcase our culture, that of Latin America, with the thought that not every Latino is the same. We pride ourselves in being very diverse and always bringing music from different countries that really represent those communities; it’s not just stopping there, it’s also being inclusive. We want to be able to share the music with the American audience in a way that language is not a barrier. They can learn about us in the same way that we can learn about them, to be a more inclusive community.”

On November 3 they are featuring the Alejandro Ziegler Tango Quartet, direct from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Check out the Aurora Theatre website to learn about their full range of theater, comedy and music for adults and children.

Wheat Williams Written by:

Wheat Williams’ grandparents moved to Decatur, Georgia in 1920. Wheat completed his Bachelor of Music degree at Georgia State University following ten years on the music scene in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been a freelance music journalist for national print magazines going back to 1987, covering music technology, classical, rock, country, and jazz. For awhile he wrote publicity and marketing materials for Sony Music Nashville. Despite all this, he’s always been a traditional church choral musician and light opera singer. He was a founding consultant and volunteer with the Bob Moog Foundation. For three years he was the business manager for the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra. His blog, “Music and Beyond”, is at http://wheatwilliams.com/wordpress/.

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