Rainbow Theater celebrates 20 years with numerous shows

The Rainbow Theater's 20th anniversary poster
Celebrating 20 years of multicultural theater.

UC Santa Cruz's Rainbow Theater is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. With two decades of student productions, cultural enrichment, retention, and service to the Santa Cruz community, Rainbow Theater is not just the oldest but also the only multicultural student-led and student-initiated theater troupe within the UC system.

To celebrate its 20th Anniversary, Rainbow Theater will be hosting a special Alumni Reunion Celebration the weekend of November 8, 9, and 10:

• On Friday, November 8, from 5:00 to 6:30PM at the Redwood Lounge, alumni and students will be able to (re)introduce themselves to each other at the “Meet & Greet.” After the “Meet & Greet” will be Rainbow Theater’s Program B productions at the Stevenson Event Center, starting at 7PM.

• On Saturday, November 9, from 9:30AM to 3PM, alumni will host free workshops for any students interested in specific fields of theater such as playwriting, acting, and directing. Locations for these workshops are to be determined. Later in the evening, from 7-10PM at the Stevenson Event Center will be Rainbow Theater’s Program A productions, followed by an exclusive Rainbow Theater Alumni after-party held at Santa Cruz’s 418 Project from 11PM to 2AM.

• To conclude the weekend, Rainbow Theater will host their special contributors, alumni, and students to a catered 20th Anniversary Celebration Brunch held at The Dream Inn from 11AM to 3PM. For tickets, registration, or more information, please visit http://www.cadrc.org.

Rainbow Theater draws its name and inspiration from the multicultural unity embodied by the Rainbow Coalition during the late 1960s, a group established by leaders of prominent activist organizations like the Black Panthers, Young Lords, and Young Patriots who were committed to fostering a movement of transcultural solidarity and ethnic unity. Rainbow Theater continues this movement by bringing to the stage our collective stories of struggle and resilience through nine different collaborative student initiated aspects.

Each year, Rainbow Theater highlights the voices of marginalized communities by producing one-act plays from the artistic and theatrical traditions of African American, Asian American, and Chican@/Latin@ culture. Rainbow Theater also brings together the hearts and minds from a team of poets known as Poet’s Corner, who are considered to be the engine of Rainbow Theater through its showcases of a 45-minute performance exploring themes of activism, identity, and empowerment expressed through dance, song, and poetry.

The Rainbow Theater season closes with the productions of the Fifth Element, traditionally a two-act play that changes themes and content annually focusing on the narratives not covered by the four other one acts or the other "elements" of Rainbow Theater, and a Sixth Element, our latest addition, a student produced Rainbow Dance Troupe. These productions are made possible by a very important component of Rainbow Theater: Tech Crew. Tech Crew makes up the gears and mechanics of Rainbow Theater, from lighting design, sound design, set design and props, to wardrobe, make-up, and more. Tech Crew is responsible for making these productions happen. Moving beyond the stage and into the realm of digital media, Rainbow TV is a multi-camera student broadcast operation responsible for filming and editing Rainbow Theater Productions and sponsored events.

Finally, each year Rainbow Theater makes a commitment towards creating a multicultural campus by sending the Rainbow Theater Community Enhancement (Outreach) team into schools and communities with the intent of inspiring, empowering, and educating students about higher education. Each of Rainbow Theater’s productions are divided and organized into three separate programs, this year’s are as followed:


Program A: November 1 and 9 at 7PM, November 3 at 3PM

The African-American production, A Song for Coretta, by Pearl Cleage is inspired by the long line of mourners who came by Ebenezer Baptist Church to pay their respects to Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The play introduces five fictional African American women, aged 17 to 57, waiting in the rain to say their good-byes to Mrs. King. “She’s not a real saint, but she’s the closest thing we’ve got...”

The Asian-American production, Cleveland Raining, by Sung Rno is the story of four people attempting to explore and create their own identities in the backwoods of Ohio. It touches on Korean-American identity, artistic vision, and how people can impact and change others around them. Set in anticipation of an apocalyptic flood, who are you at the end of the world?

Program B: November 2, 3, and 8 at 7PM

The Chican@/Latin@ production, Chicanos: The Living and the Dead, by Nephtali De Leon is a play about the ideologies, identities, frustrations and limitations of the Chican@ movement.

Poet’s Corner, a performance poetry and spoken word collective, presents an originally written, created, composed and choreographed show constructed by members of Rainbow Theater invoking themes of love, community, education and social justice. Every year’s Poets Corner creates a new vision of a better world through the art of spoken word, calling our community members into action for change.

5th Element/ Rainbow Dance Troupe: November 15, 16, and 17 at 7PM

This year, Rainbow Theater will also present a student-written and adapted production of “DREAMers.” Exposing the plights of AB540 students in a theatrical showcase of poetry and movement, it is our goal to bring to light these few stories that encompass so many.

The Rainbow Theater Dance Troupe is a collective of dancers from a variety of disciplines and trainings who come together to create a unique show that seeks to tell stories that can only be communicated through dance. Working the idea that all forms of dance are inherently reflective of the histories from which they originate, dancers and choreographers work together to blur the lines between theatrical dance and “ethnic dance”. This unique group strives to highlight, not just the distinct dance styles of each member, but also their exceptional stories.


• All Shows are held at UCSC Stevenson College 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA, 95064

• All Shows open their doors at 6:30PM and shows start at 7PM.

• Matinée Shows will open their doors at PM and shows will start at PM

• Admission for all shows are: Free for UCSC students WITH ID. $7 for other students with ID. $7 for seniors. $10 for general public.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Don Williams at the CAD Office (Stevenson 199) at 831-459-1861 or culturalartsanddiversity@gmail.com.