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Elia Arce:
First Woman on the Moon

Originally commissioned by Highways Performance Space (Los Angeles), First Woman on the Moon is historically important as one of the earliest performance pieces to give a different voice to the Latino identity movement, focusing more on issues of class and spirituality rather than race and ethnicity. In First Woman, Elia Arce leads the audience through a series of places both physical and emotional, from the dark, lush jungles of her Costa Rican roots to the barren, lunar landscape of her adopted desert home, using body, language, sound and visual images. Arce’s nomadic journey to the center of the self is met with obstacles at every stop along the way, until she claims the space that she can put a fence around and call her own. First Woman on the Moon was first conceived more than 10 years ago in response to  cultural issues that were then being discussed and debated within the performance community regarding issues of identity. Conceived, written, and designed by Elia Arce Technical Director: Jose María Francos

About the Artist

Elia Arce is a pioneer performance artist working in a wide variety of media, including video installation, performance art, experimental theater, writing, photo performance, video and sculptural performance. Her work has been performed extensively at national and international venues. She has been published and has received considerable critical attention in Ms. Magazine, Latina Magazine, High Performance, Heresis, Conjunto, Artlies, ArtWeek, Out of Character, The Other Los Angelesses and ArtForum amongst others. Arce has received awards from The Rockefeller Foundation, The J. Paul Getty Foundation and the NEA. She received a 2008-10 New Voices fellowship (a Ford Foundation Initiative) for her pilot social sculpture project: Gulf Coast Art Corridor, which she did while in residency at DiverseWorks.  In 2010, she received an American Masterpiece Award from the National Performance Network. A dual citizen of Costa Rica and the US, Arce is based in both countries.


First Woman on the Moon is a National Performance Network (NPN) Re-Creation Fund Project sponsored by MACLA  in partnership with Links Hall, DiverseWorks and NPN. The Re-Creation Fund is supported by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: www.npnweb.org NPN, lead commissioner MACLA (San Jose), and co-commissioners DiverseWorks and Links Hall (Chicago) and NPN aim to preserve, reinvigorate and bring contemporary interpretation to Elia’s work while introducing it to a new generation of audiences. Originally produced by Deborah Winski and Nomadhouse, it was made possible by the City of Santa Monica Co/Arts Grant Program, a project of the Santa Monica Arts Commission, the Durfee Foundation, and Highways Performance Space. First Woman on the Moon was performed as a work in progress at Highways in Santa Monica and at Desviaciones Festival in Madrid. First Woman on the Moon has been presented at the Latino International Theater Festival in Los Angeles, the Dallas Cultural Center, and Festival Internacional de las Artes in Costa Rica and Cuba. An excerpt of the piece was presented at the Majestic Theater in Dallas when it received an American Masterpiece Award for its re-creation.

Date & Time:

November 30 & December 1, 2012
7:30 pm


$15 / $10 DW Members, Students, Seniors


Frenetic Theater 5102 Navigation Blvd. Houston, Texas 77011