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College of Wooster's Jimmy Noriega Receives Prestigious Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy

UPublish story by John Finn

Jimmy A. Noriega, assistant professor of theater and dance at The College of Wooster, received the Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy last month in Vancouver, Canada.

WOOSTER, Ohio — Jimmy A. Noriega, assistant professor of theater and dance at The College of Wooster, received the Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy at the 2013 Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) Conference last week in Vancouver, Canada. Noriega was chosen for his work on the development and production of Elaine Romero’s “Mother of Exiles” at Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts this past year. He was invited to join the production team because of his expertise in Latina/o theatre and his knowledge of immigration and border issues.

"It is an honor to receive this award from the LMDA,” said Noriega. “I am so grateful for the recognition. The work that I do on and off campus is very important to me, especially when it comes to expanding and promoting the work of Latina/o theatre artists. Working with Elaine Romero on the development of her new play was such a pleasure."

The LMDA Prize in Dramaturgy recognizes exemplary contributions by dramaturgs to the conception, development, and production of theatre or to educational projects in dramaturgy. Noriega worked with Romero and Director Melanie Dreyer-Lude to facilitate the creation of the production, which dealt with the story of Ivy League educated teacher Magda Andrews and her troubled classroom on the Arizona/Mexico border. The play explores the issues of immigration and gun control through the experience of life in a zone where politics, history, and democracy intersect in violent ways, often at the expense of those who are most vulnerable. The scope of this project took Noriega and his collaborators to schools, historical sites, shantytowns, and government buildings in several border towns of Arizona and Mexico, as well as to immigrant communities in Missouri and Germany.

“Jimmy has brought dramaturgy, cultural knowledge, and heart to this deeply complex project about gun violence in Southern Arizona,” said Romero. “[He has brought] not only a keen sense of Latino theatre history and my work in particular, but also first-hand knowledge of life on the border. As a kid growing up in Douglas, Ariz., Jimmy crossed the border every day and knows the stories of those who live in that part of the world. [He] has been an integral part of the project from the beginning…. [and his] dramaturgy has been key in keeping the project flexible in what might appear to be a convoluted collaboration.”

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