“…thank you on behalf of Ethos in the Hood Theater Co. of Hostos! Once again, the kids felt validated and totally “at home” in the space. They were treated with respect and love, which is invaluable.”
Hostos Lincoln Academy
“I LOVE Teatro LATEA!!
We’ve been holding our LAByrinth Theater Company Ensemble Workshop Program in your space and it has been nothing but a beautiful experience! THANK YOU to the wonderful staff who have been so gracious in seeing to all our needs – muchos besos!! xMonique”
The moment people walk into LATEA theater they are warmly greeted…in fact, often visitors remark that “there is something special about this place, there are good vibes here.” Assuming they are not psychic, the statement has great value. Perhaps its the ole world charm of the spacious theater’s décor and its welcoming team that allows for a unique Off-Off Broadway theater experience for its audiences and visitors.
LATEA’s productions are varied, offering Spanish and English language presentations…from the classics, marked by innovative interpretations and a reflection of the community it serves, to avant-garde pieces. It co-produces multi-cultural ensembles and functions as an artistic home for dozens of self-producing artists. Its has attracted the Who’s Who of celebrities, such as Barbara Walters, Richard Gere, Benjamin Bratt, Lauren Velez, Dustin Hoffman, Gerard Depardieu, Richard Chamberlain, Ruben Blades and John Lequizamo, to name a few and offered opportunities for performances by homeless groups, aspiring young students, and stage presentations by renowned dancers, musicians and artists. It is the annual host venue for local and international festivals…reflective of its passion for diversity.
The space has had an influx of filming by commercial and independent companies who increasingly seek the use of the spacious theater and its brightly lid gothic window studios.
Talent is no stranger to LATEA. It was formed in 1982 by three veteran award-winning film, television, and stage actors who were concerned with the under-recognition of Latinos as actors, writers, dramatists and producers. The threesome wanted to help Latinos create and present their own stories. Nelson Tamayo, Nelson Landrieu and Mateo Gomez became the owners of Rincon Taino, a Café where the intelligencia of New York Latinos would gather in masse. The Café became a cultural hub for disseminating literary works by USA based artists and a haven for visiting Latin American performers, a place for new voices, folklore music and gallery for visual artists.
In 1985, after losing its Café lease, LATEA continued its legacy at Solidaridad Humana, a community-based bilingual comprehensive learning center. LATEA soon found themselves as one of the sole tenants of the building after Solidaridad Humana was defunct. With the support of the community LATEA’s leadership, under the late Ed Vega “Yunque” safeguarded the City-owned 1897 building from being auctioned. It founded the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center where the theater is still housed. “The Clemente” is today one of the City’s largest and diverse arts incubator.
LATEA’s logo was designed by Alfredo (Freddy) Hernandez March 31, 1954 – June 5, 2005. Born in Brooklyn, New York to Puerto Rican parents, Freddy lived in the Lower East Side where he became a familiar figure to many artistic personalities and organizations. By the time he was 15 years old, Freddy had compiled a vast portfolio. He attended Art and Design High School, in Manhattan where he broadened his art skills to include fine arts painting, silk screening, sculpture, illustrating, calligraphy, and graphic arts. He also attended Brooklyn College.
During the early 1970’s, Freddy began to develop a greater sense of his Puerto Rican identity and consciousness which influenced his personal philosophy and artistic expressions. As Director for City Arts’ mural projects Freddy’s work included painting scenes for theatrical works, helping to organize East River Park Amphitheater festivals and the El Teatro Ambulante events. Freddy cherished working with children and provided art workshops to District 2 school students.
His Taino Indian work was exhibited at El Museo del Barrio and the Bronx Council of the Arts. His work is archived at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies and documented in the book “On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City” by Janet Braun-Reinitz and Jane Weissman.
Freddy became involved in art projects at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Center — including painting some of the artwork and scenes for Teatro Flamboyan, SEA’s Los Kabayitos Children’s Theatre, LATEA, and the painting of the legendary Clemente Soto Velez, which proudly hung in the center’s lobby and welcomed all visitors. Alfredo (Freddy) Hernandez passed on June 5, 2005 in New York after a long illness.