Until 1999, Aguijón had its headquarters at Truman College (1145 W. Wilson, Chicago) in the Uptown neighborhood, thanks to the agreement reached between Madeline Román-Vargas, Dr. María Vargas and Dr. Ruth Burgos-Sasscer, then President of Truman College. The company operated as a traveling theater, bringing their productions to different schools, libraries and community centers across the city and surrounding suburbs (The Museum of Fine Mexican Arts Center, the St. Pius Church, Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, Museum Science and Industry, Café Teatro Batey, La Décima Musa, Rudy Lozano Library, Harold Washington Library, Chicago Cultural Center, DePauw University, Dominican University, Purdue University, St. Augustine College, to name a few). In this way the company could present their work to different audiences that would otherwise not have access to the theater. And from those old nomadic days it created an audience that, now that Aguijón has its own locale, come from all over the city to see its shows.
For the 2008/2009 season, Aguijón decided to explore the Latino experience through the American theater classics, whom at their time shaped the struggle of certain marginalized groups (European immigrants during the Great Depression, African Americans, middle-class workers, etc. ) in their works. An invitation was extended to Latino writers living in the United States, to create entirely new works inspired on those plays. The first result of a close collaboration between the director Marcela Muñoz and the Mexican writer, Raúl Dorantes was “Even the Sparrows Leave their Nest,” a play inspired by “The Strangest Kind of Romance” (1942), by the famous American playwright Tennessee Williams. In this work, Raúl Dorantes illustrates the obstacles that many undocumented immigrants face when trying to build their lives abroad: racism, loneliness and fear of uprooting. The play had its world premiere in August 2008, within the IV Goodman Latino Theatre Festival in Chicago followed by a season at Aguijón Theater headquarters, before a full auditorium and again, with excellent reviews. Aguijón takes all these opportunities to show their work and mission of producing quality theater in the Spanish language and to share with the world a glimpse of the Illinois’ vibrant arts community.
In 2009 Aguijón celebrated its twentieth anniversary, bringing the great writer and Mexican journalist Elena Poniatowska as the guest of honor. The 2009/2010 season, “From the Pages to the Stage” was a project that sought to explore and develop the Latin American literature to take it to the theater. Hence arises “Soldaderas,” original work written by Oswaldo Calderón, Aguijón ensemble member, that was based on an essay that the Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska wrote in 1999, which tells the female role in the Mexican Revolution, without which, according to Poniatowska, it would have been a barren war. “Soldaderas” was performed in English and Spanish, in alternating nights with a fully bilingual cast, and had its world premiere at the V Goodman Latino Theatre Festival, followed by a season at its headquarters. It was also presented, the same year, at the “XXII Women on Stage for the Peace Festival” in Bogotá, Colombia.
In 2012 the company traveled to Cartagena, Colombia to present a dramatic reading of the play “A strange mauve-color corpse” by Cartagena-born playwright Alberto Marín Llerena, as part of its “Caribbean Voices” season in which Aguijón decided to give a further look at the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and explore, through theater, the differences and similarities of people who share such strong cultural and historical connections. This performance was held at the Museum of Modern Art in Cartagena. As part of that season, the world premiere of “Inside,” original work by Cuban playwright Abel González Melo, who came from Madrid invited by the company, took place. The play was performed in English and Spanish. “Voces Caribeñas” closed with “Sadness Knows How to Swim” by Cuban playwright Abelardo Estorino, work that earned praise from audiences and critics, both in Chicago, and in Argentina, where was presented in October 2013 through an invitation to participate in the “IX Theater and Territory Encounter” at the university of General Sarmiento University, both in San Miguel and Buenos Aires. In April and May 2014 it was presented again in Chicago.
In 2014, Aguijón Theater celebrates ist 25th anniversary and keeps growing. The board and the artists that currently make up the company ensemble, with its strong commitment, continue expanding the vision of the company, that continues receiving the support from organizations such as the Arts Council of Chicago, the Department of Chicago Cultural Affairs, National Museum of Mexican Art, Richard Driehaus Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, Crossroads Foundation, among others. However, the life of the company also depends on the unconditional support of a network of volunteers who believe in its mission, and donate their time and energy to ensure its continued success.