UTRGV Theatre Dept. presents online production celebrating diverse voices

  Tuesday, March 23, 2021

By Amanda Taylor

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UTRGV Theatre Department is still determined that the show must go on.

“Out of the Canon: A Celebration of Latinx, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and Women’s Voices,” will be presented online March 27-29 as a special, streaming UTRGV theatre event.

This student-driven Zoom production offers a look into a collaborative experiment combining music, speech and film, in a series of monologues, songs and poetry featuring diverse voices in English, Spanish and ASL. The production is free and available to the public.

Led by Jennifer Saxton, UTRGV associate professor of Theatre, the production has required that students collaborate and rehearse online through Zoom meetings since November. Through the power of teamwork, students worked past the challenges of the pandemic, instead adapting to the new “normal” to bring the production to life.

“Out of the Canon” content was curated by the students to represent how they feel about COVID-19, Saxton said.

“While some of these pieces are spanned throughout the 20th century, it’s startling how relevant they still are today,” she said.

Vignettes throughout the production include works from Luisa Capetillo, a Puerto Rican feminist playwright; Susan Glaspell, an American expressionist playwright; Sadakichi Hartmann, a Japanese American writer; and Lady Margaret Cavendish, a playwright, poet and author of the science fiction novel The Blazing World.

Out Of The Canon

“Working on ‘Out of the Canon’ is an opportunity for my fellow students and myself to focus on the real issues we’ve all faced over the last year. Luckily, we get to do that through these wonderfully important playwrights,” said Mateo Ramirez, a junior working as a writer and team member on the play. “For the audience, this plans to be a great welcome back, because frankly, we’ve missed them.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Saxton said, entertainment – movies, plays, TV shows, music –has helped people get through hard times. The ability to tell stories is a powerful form of art for both the storyteller and the listener, she said.

“It’s been so hard on the students not to be able to put on in-person theatre productions, but there is so much going on these days through Zoom, so I thought, why not utilize that?” Saxton said. “The students have been so driven and interested in leading the play, and it’s been fun to see what they’ve come up with.”

To watch “Out of the Canon,” register at https://forms.gle/4rHN2L53rJMeKkuf8.

For more information, contact Saxton at Jennifer.saxton@utrgv.edu or Alexandra Gonzalez at Alexandra.gonzalez@utrgv.edu.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.