Diversifying the Classics: Classics in the Classroom

Barbara Fuchs
English, Spanish and Portuguese
UC Los Angeles

Classics in the Classroom—a pilot project—introduced K–12 students in the greater Los Angeles area to a more diverse classical heritage and cultivated Hispanic classical drama’s new generation of audiences. Funding from UCHRI’s Engaging Humanities enabled partnerships with two local theater companies—24th STreet Theatre, located near UCLA’s William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles, and About…Productions, headquartered in Pasadena and serving East Los Angeles. The UCLA Comedia in Translation and Performance working group, led by Professor Barbara Fuchs and comprising graduate students and theater practitioners, made its translation of Guillén de Castro’s The Force of Habit (La fuerza de la costumbre) accessible to both companies, collaborating with 24th STreet to develop curriculum for elementary school children and with AP to develop curriculum for high school students. Through a matching grant from UCLA’s Arts Initiative, the working group engaged emerging theater practitioners in this underrepresented corpus through a public reading— by UCLA theater graduate students—of its translation of Lope de Vega’s A Wild Night in Toledo (Una noche toledana). As part of the broader Diversifying the Classics project, materials from these efforts are available at diversifyingtheclassics.humanities.ucla.edu, along with information and resources for scholars, practitioners, teachers, and the general public.