It started as a group of Latinx actors, writers and directors who produced Spanish-language plays on the Lower East Side. For 20 years, IATI had a basement theater at 9 E 16th St., where it performed hundreds of works for the local Latinx community. Spanish-speaking actors, playwrights and directors from all over found IATI to be a home-away-from-home.
In 1988, the building was sold. IATI moved into an old abandoned monastery on 9 Second Ave. named Cuando, and transformed its chapel into a theater space. It presented new works, children’s shows, festivals, and workshops for the community. It developed a holiday show for local public schools, The Three Kings, collected free toys for the low-income students.
In 1990, Cuando was condemned, locked, and IATI lost its stage, lighting equipment, sound system, and red show curtain. It then reinvented itself and rented venues from the American Theatre of Actors, and Teatro LaTea. In 2005, IATI formed a consortia and bought the building at 64 E 4th Street from the city.
IATI is committed to producing works that are original, exciting, bold and experimental; yet intimate and engaging. It tells tell Latinx stories, and stories from a Latinx point-of-view.
IATI's work is:
- By Latin American writers
- Contemporary and/or avant-garde in style
- Pushes the edge, provokes thought and inspires dialogue.
IATI has a long-time commitment to bringing arts and hope communities in need. In 70’s and 80’s, IATI created more than a dozen festivals, to accommodate the large number of
Latinx artists who couldn’t perform anywhere else because of their low English proficiency. In the 80’s, IATI organized the first Latinx community event in NY to support AIDS patients. In the late 90’s, the company created
ongoing programs to serve children and seniors, providing performances, workshops and staged readings in underserved communities.
IATI presents a crop of fresh, cutting-edge, avant-garde works every year that make up the IATI repertoire. Our productions feature the collaborative passions of emerging and established Latino artists. Most of these productions are presented in our charming and beautiful 70-seat Mainstage Theater.
IATI tours its original children's shows to school, parks and libraries all over New York City and statewide.
IATI presents its art, dance, theater and music workshops at senior centers and other community centers all over the city of New York and statewide.
IATI develops the works of Latinx playwrights through seminars, writing workshops, staged readings, and developmental workshops in its 50-seat Underground Theater.