ASU professor seeks to battle stereotypes, inspire with new 'Latinx Actor Training' book

Micha Espinosa, professor in Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre, recently co-edited a book titled “Latinx Actor Training.” The book was developed with co-editor Cynthia Santos DeCure, an associate professor at Yale University's School of Drama.

“We are hoping that this book serves as a blueprint for all communities to work in culturally inclusive environments,” Espinosa said. “We have a motto: Change the training, change the industry."

The book is organized into 25 chapters on actor training from experts and leading voices in theater, film and television.

“There’s a range of expertise in our community and a range of ways of identifying,” Espinosa said. “When one talks of Latine or Latinx cultural heritage, we are really talking about a huge spectrum of cultures and heritages and hyphenated identities. We sought not only academics but also practitioners.”

Espinosa is an international teaching artist, activist and voice and performance specialist in culturally inclusive pedagogies. She is a 30-year member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, artistic director of Fitzmaurice Voicework and lead teacher trainer for the Fitzmaurice Voicework teacher certification. She is also an affiliate faculty member with ASU’s School of Transborder Studies and The Sidney Poitier New American Film School.

DeCure is a bilingual actor and voice, speech and dialect coach specializing in culturally inclusive actor training. She is also a member of SAG-AFTRA with over 30 years of experience. This is the second book they have collaborated on.

During their extensive careers, Espinosa and DeCure noticed the disparities for Spanish-speaking actors and advocated for an advancement.

“Micha and I began to compare notes and dreamed about a way forward to really help our community,” DeCure said. “Our book was born from that.”

DeCure said she wants not only students and educators but also producers and directors in the field to find the cultural and heritage practices in the book to be important, valid and useful. 

“This book just scratches the surface,” said Espinosa. “We hope it is a springboard and inspires our community. I hope that this book is just the beginning.”

“Latinx Actor Training” is published by Routledge and is available for purchase through all major bookstores.

Lacy Chaffee