Fornés Symposium: Colloquium at NYU

Fornés Symposium

Photo credit: Didi O'Connell

María Irene Fornés (b. 1930, Havana, Cuba) is among the most influential American theater-makers of the twentieth century. A defining force within the off-off-Broadway movement of the 1960s and 1970s (and nine-time Obie Award winner), Fornés — as playwright, director, designer and teacher — became a guiding presence for emerging theater artists of the 1980s and 1990s, especially those invested in staging feminist, queer and latinx aesthetics and experiences. Fornés’ experiments in theatrical form and her transformative teaching techniques continue to challenge and inspire new generations of theater-makers today. Even so, the living legacy of María Irene Fornés remains remarkably under-acknowledged among contemporary theater artists, students and scholars. Currently 87 years old, Fornés resides on the upper West Side of Manhattan. Due to late stage Alzheimer’s disease, she is no longer writing or teaching.

In April 2018, multiple gatherings will activate broader awareness about Fornés’ multifaceted legacy among theater artists, scholars and students. On Saturday, April 14, Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts — in partnership with with the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) — will host the 2018 LTC María Irene Fornés Institute Symposium in Princeton, New Jersey. The 2018 LTC Fornés Symposium will convene an intergenerational “community gathering” of artists, academics, students, and others for a day of vigorous, Fornés-inspired creativity, conversation, and conviviality. On Sunday April 15, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts will present a Colloquium on María Irene Fornés. The NYU Fornés Colloquium will feature a panel of experts on Fornés, a roundtable of women directors discussing the influence of Fornés’ directorial work, and a concert reading of Fornés’ musical Promenade. This constellation of events aims to gather Fornés’ students and collaborators — as well as those who have been inspired by her — to deepen understanding of her work and her methods, to document her enduring impact, and to extend her living legacy into the twenty-first century. 

Please note that all events have separate registration processes. See links below for more information.

The schedule at NYU on April 15th will be as follows:

The Evolution of Fornés Scholarship
A panel of Fornés scholars from the 1980s, 90, 2000s, and today.
With Bonnie Marranca, Scott Cummings, Gwendolyn Alker and Anne García-Romero.

Lunch Break

A Concert Reading of Fornés’ Musical from 1965
Alice Reagan Directs. Musical Direction by Nathan Koci.

Women Directors on Fornés as Director
Celebrated directors discuss the influence of Fornés’ work on their own.
With Alice Reagan, Tina Satter, Gisela Cardenas, Katie Pearl and Elena Araoz.

Contact: Gwendolyn Alker, Distinguished Teacher and Director of Theatre Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University:

The NYU event is made possible with support from the Drama Department, Institute of Performing Arts, Initiative for Creative Research and the Dean's Office at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts; with further support from NYU's Center for the Humanities.

For further information on all Princeton based events, contact: Brian Herrera, Assistant Professor of Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University:

For further information about the LTC and the 2018 LTC Fornés Symposium, see:

For more information on registration for Saturday's events, contact: Abigail Vega at