(Back row, L-R): Hostos Repertory Company Director Angel Morales, Reynaldo Martinez, Destiny Allen, Andrew Vinals, Jairo Peña, Frank Lopez and Hostos faculty and Rep Director Natasha Yannacañedo. (Middle row): Cosmic Babe shirt (Thalia Lopez), James Saunders, and woman in Gap Krystal Lopez. (Front row) Anna Rios and Thanna Son.

During the summer of 2013, Hostos Community College helped 11 student-actors experience a life-changing journey to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. The troupe from the College’s Repertory Company, the “Hostos Rep,” was the only community college in North America invited to join approximately 24,000 other performers and artists from 41 countries at one of the largest theatrical events in the world.

Now, Hostos has been invited back as 10 more students will perform on the world stage at the Festival Fringe in August of 2018.

Angel Morales, Lecturer and Coordinator of Visual & Performing Arts at Hostos and the Director of the Repertory Company, has been instrumental in getting the students to Edinburgh for both trips. For him, it has been a life-changing experience.

“To watch these students—some who have never left New York—blossom during this experience is extraordinary,” Morales said. “The fact that they perform alongside seasoned professionals on the world stage, while experiencing a new place, a new culture, and a world of possibilities, is a powerful gift that is truly transformative. The power of this journey cannot be understated.”

News traveled fast about Hostos’ trip in 2013. In fact, The New York Times chronicled the student’s incredible journey, and you can read that story here.

For the 2018 Fringe, the Hostos Rep will perform “The Gender of Attraction” by Chris Rivera. The play is a heartfelt romantic comedy that puts a spotlight on transgender relationships. It will be performed at Hostos’ Black Box Theater April 26 through May 4.

Anna Rios, 23, is a Hostos student and Bronx resident who is extremely excited for her first trip overseas. Always fascinated with theater, Rios enrolled at Hostos in 2015 and is now on her way toward studying theater production, specifically lighting.

“I had no experience acting, but Professor Morales said he was impressed with my skills. When he said I was selected for the cast, I was blown away. After getting a tour of the theater, I really became interested in the production aspect of the art, so that is what I am concentrating on.”

Thanna Son is studying Community Health at Hostos and is also an actor in the Hostos Rep. Also a traditional Cambodian dancer who has always been interested in other cultural dance and art, she said her work with the acting troupe has made her a better student and person. While her long-term goal is to continue studying biology to become an ophthalmologist, she realizes this is an extraordinary opportunity to grow.  

“I am anxious, yet excited, to participate and witness various cultures and their interpretations of art,” Son said. “I didn’t connect with my professors the way I did this semester and to build such bonds gave me hope and excitement as I finish my graduating year stronger than I have started. They have motivated me and inspired me to step out from my comfort zone. Hostos allowed me to take on new experiences, as well as meeting amazing, aspiring, strong, souls that have made an imprint on me.”

What makes this feat particularly special is that although Hostos does not have an academic theater program, the Hostos Rep has established a solid reputation as a Spanish-language and bilingual ensemble and a showcase platform for emerging playwrights from the United States and Latin America. Among the honors the company has received are several ACE (Association of Latin Entertainment Critics of New York) and HOLA (Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors) awards, as well as an invitation to showcase a full production at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Region 1, in 2010.

About the Hostos Repertory Company:
The award-winning Hostos Repertory Company (Hostos Rep) is the resident theater troupe of the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture. An initiative of the Hostos Community College Humanities Department, the company casts students, faculty, staff, and professional artists. The Hostos Rep is a key part of the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, which consists of a museum-grade art gallery, a 367-seat theater, and a 907-seat concert hall. The Hostos Center presents artists of national and international renown. It also presents emerging and established local artists, and it offers workshops in drama, folk arts, and dance to community residents.