To learn more about Salvadoran Pastors Ruth and Alex Orantes, and for information about contributing to support their ministries in El Salvador, please visit

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Transforming Community: Using Theater to Restore Historic Memory with Survivors of La Quesera Massacre in El Salvador

La Quesera was a brutal attack in October 1981 by the Salvadoran Army which took the lives of 600 to 800 people, mostly women, children, and elders.

Two groups from Central Baptist have met with survivors of the massacre to learn about their journey toward healing. In May 2006, several women from CBC visited the site of the massacre with Julia, one of the survivors and a leader of the survivors group. And in June 2007, the CBC youth delegation met with three young people whose families were among the survivors of the massacre to learn about ways that the people are organizing activities to remember and to honor loved ones who died, and also transforming the community with a vision of hope.

Aryeh Shell spent time in the La Quesera survivors community as an Art Corps volunteer. She writes about a powerful experience of using theater to restore historic memory...

I came to El Salvador as a volunteer with Art Corps, an organization that places artists in residence with Central American communities. Art Corps’ mission is to share art as a tool to engage participation and raise awareness of social and environmental issues. Using theater to restore historic memory affirms the dignity of personal experience, enables people to view their lives in new ways, demonstrates compassion and social nurturing, and draws people closer as they witness their common humanity. It is a model for building empathy and peace in a fractured world. For the survivors at Quesera, their families, and their supporters, popular theater opened a space for the community to remember together, to heal and commit to creating a world where this would never happen again.

Read her full on-line article entitled "Popular Theater takes on La Quesera Massacre in El Salvador" to learn more about her experience and the transformative power of theater and the arts in community.