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Photograph of patrons in the Festival Theatre gardens



Suchitoto is a city in El Salvador, a country recovering from 30 years of civil war. Since 2009, volunteers from our company have been working there in partnership with the development organization Cuso International to bring about social and economic change through the power of theatre. Together, they have created EsArtes, a program that offers opportunities to young people through performance and theatre education.

The program has three main elements:

  • An arts school: Young people with limited access to higher education and employment learn skills in theatrical scenic arts, prop making, wardrobe, history, business management, lighting and design.
  • A theatre group: Youth are trained as performers; more importantly, they use their performances as a country-wide tool to promote social change and strengthen a growing culture of peace.
  • Social outreach: As well as benefiting from the project, the young people of EsArtes act as ambassadors for it, reaching out to grade schools, high schools and community leaders to promote social responsibility in the wider community.

Our Role

Stratford – itself a city revitalized by theatre – has been a primary inspiration for EsArtes. Volunteers from all areas of the Festival – including lighting designers, design artists, prop makers, sewers and wardrobe designers, directors, actors and administrative staff – have donated their time to be mentors and teach their trades in Suchitoto.

How You Can Contribute

The project’s main fundraiser is the annual Suchitoto Fiesta presented by Festival artists and local entertainers. Held in late September or early October, the evening includes live music and a silent auction featuring traditional arts and crafts from El Salvador, as well as work by Festival artists.

For more information about how you can help with the Suchitoto Project, please email Mark Smith or Ceairy Free

Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).