Pa'lante Theater Cast & Crew of Calling Puerto Rico with U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona
"It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up! magazine" - The Notorious B.I.G.
In 2016 Our founder Rafael Feliciano-Roman was living in Western Massachusetts and realized that in New England a lot of the theater organizations and groups were mainly white and not led/run by individuals people of color. As a result of wanting theater that was reflective of the community of which he lived/served. He founded Pa'lante Theater Company as solely presenting theater company brining in outside theater companies and shows from Pregones/The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater Company (NYC), and Urban Theater Company (Chicago), presenting productions such as "Dancing on my Cockroach Killers," "La Gringa," and "Not for Sale." After moving away from that community the theater company did not continue and the dream/vision and overall work of Pa'lante went dark.
Upon moving back home to Connecticut in 2021, the same realization ensued there is no theater that soley focuses on the Black/Latino/a/e experiences. Rafael revived Pa'lante Theater Company (2.0) along with four Afro Latina women formed Pa'lante Theater Company, Connecticut's first and only Afro-Latino/a/e theater company. Co founders are Zelest Caraballo, Angelica Huertas and Alana Ferazzi.
Pa'lante Theater's inaugural season launched in 2023, thanks in large part to supporter and presenting sponsor Seven Angels Theatre at 1 Plank Road in Waterbury, Connecticut. Pa'lante Theater Company is thrilled to provide quality theater and film that is reflective of the rich Afro-Latino/a/e diaspora of Connecticut. 2024 Pa'lante began a new era by officially signing a lease for small Black Box theater space at 111 Bank Street in the heart of Downtown Waterbury.
The Pa'lante Theater Company Team consists of four amazing individuals who are dedicated to bringing top quality Afro-Latino/a/e theater to the State of Connecticut.
Zelest Caraballo, Props/Set Designer
Alanna Ferrazzi, Stage Management
Rafael Feliciano-Roman, Founder / Artistic Director.
(Born Nelson Rafael Feliciano Roman) - is a Queer Afro Taino Artist, Activist and Taino Indigenous Spiritual Healer (Yoruba Priest and Taino Behique) and has been deep in spiritual work and practice for over fifteen years. Rafael's artist focus is Afro-Caribbean Culture & Puerto Rican Bomba.
Rafael is twice formerly homeless, and HIV+ advocate. He has held elected office and is a trained Circle keeper. He is the winner of the Jose Julio Sarria Civil Rights, Audre Lorde Founder’s, Business West 40 Under 40 and El Mundo Boston Latino 30 Under 30 and Waterbury Youth Services Coqui Awards.
Rafael is working to dismantle and decolonize himself and the world. Through ensuring that all art, cultural events are offered at little to no cost to the community.
Rafael is the founding person of the following arts and cultural institutions;
- Afro Caribbean Cultural Center, Waterbury, CT
- Pa'lante Theater Company, Connecticut
- Greater Waterbury Puerto Rican Day Parade & Festival, Waterbury, CT
- Greater Waterbury LGBTQIA+ PRIDE Week Committee
- Center for Ancestral Circling, Chicago, IL
- CT Taino Remembrance Day, Waterbury, CT
Rafael also a podcaster with a new Podcast called "Tribe with No Nation" debuting Winter of 2023/2024.