Meet Marcela Lorca the Artistic Director of “Ten Thousand Things”, a professional theatre company that strives to make theatre and stories accessible to all people.
An artist and an immigrant to the United States, Marcela Lorca believes in the power of theatre in nurturing empathy among everyone. In the journey of her life, Ms. Lorca has been a professional dancer, a designer, a director, a teacher, and a mentor. She believes that “Life is full of surprises.”
Marcela grew up in Chile in a large family. She had always been close to nature and had been exposed to arts from a young age. The political climate of her country made it necessary for her family to move to Central America, and thus, she has been exposed to many cultures. She says, “I love learning about different ways of looking at life.”
Ms. Lorca has worked hard at acquiring skills, training in different artistic disciplines, and traveling, and exposing herself to different ways of working. She explains, “The journey has been long and at times arduous, but when you’re an artist, you are forever young and always look forward to stay on the path of learning. I have realized now that what counts is the journey. More than the goals achieved, it is the impact of everyday actions and gestures that ripple through the world.”
The organization Ms. Lorca works for, “Ten Thousand Things (TTT),” awakens the creative spirit of audiences and artists by bringing essential and exceptional theatre to people from all backgrounds and life experiences. With a goal to ignite empathy and revolutionize belonging through the power of compelling and inspiring theatre, they believe that theatre is better when everyone is in the audience, and thus, they cultivate equitable practices to break down all the social, historical, and cultural barriers to theatre. The TTT model is rooted in telling bold, universal stories that honor a diversity of identities. In connection to the work of TTT, Marcela elaborates, “We strive to remove all boundaries of access. We take plays to correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and many diverse communities. We value our artists and excellence in everything we do.” At Ten Thousand Things, audiences experience theatre in its most vital, elemental form. They do not perform on stage but on the floor inside a circle of chairs, with the lights on so everyone can see each other, with minimal sets and live music. This enables the actors and the audience to interact with one another, connect, and eventually, breathe a new life into the theatre.
In her journey to being the Artistic Director of such a prestigious institution, Marcela’s biggest challenge was to fight sexism. She explains, “Theatre was a world led by men where there were very, very few women leaders. The glass ceiling has been real and oppressive.” While she has been able to make a place for herself in this sexist field, the challenges she has to face are never-ending. Currently, her present challenge is the pandemic and the challenges to assemble a group despite the risks and social distancing measures.
Despite every hurdle, Marcela was recently recognized with the “Zelda Fichandler Award”; a national theatre award recognizing the impact of a director in their region. She believes that it is due to her perseverance that she has reached the zenith. She says, “Perseverance and absolute trust in the fact that the work speaks louder than words is the one idea that has worked wonders for me.” She suggests others to trust in themselves and work hard to reach their goal. She motivates, “Trust the truth that lies within your heart and lead with compassion and boldness.”