TABLE OF CONTENTS
Irene Gonzales Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Irene Gonzales was born to Rudy Gonzales and Evangeline Treviño in 1942 in San Antonio, Texas. She has lived in Austin for much of her life and worked in various positions for the City of Austin, including as a Cultural Arts Youth Coordinator and Creative Dramatics Instructor at the Dougherty Arts Center and as a Neighborhood Liaison at the Austin History Center. She graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio in 1964 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. She completed graduate work at San Francisco State University in 1971, and earned a Speech Performance Certification in Secondary Education from University of Texas at Austin in 1984. Gonzales has three children.
As an actor, she has performed in Spanish, English, and bilingual language plays at various theaters in Austin and San Antonio. She also had roles in film productions including performances in Red Headed Stranger (1987) and Hard Promises (1992). Additionally, she did television work, voice-over acting, and storytelling. She created the theater company Los Actores de Austin in 1988 with Linda Crockett in order to give exposure to Latinx playwrights whose works reflect the Latinx experience and to give opportunities for Latinx actors. The first production of Los Actores was I Too Speak of the Rose (Yo Tambien Hablo de la Rosa) at Zachary Scott Theatre in 1989. The play was adapted from Mexican playwright Emilio Carballido’s play written in the early 1960s and performed at Zachary Scott Theatre.
In 1991 she received Best Actress in a Comedy Lead Role from the Austin Circle of Theaters (ACOT) for her performance in Our Lady of the Tortillas.
“’Rose’ Brings Bilingual Theater to Austin.” Austin American-Statesman. August 4, 1989.
The collection is arranged into two main series. The first series contains Irene Gonzales' Personal and Professional Files dating from 1984 to 2005. There are assorted scripts, including a script for an AECT Spanish radio program and a voice over script for a documentary on AIDS, as well as assorted creative works, including collected stories and poems. Brochures and fliers document various community events. Of note is a program for the 1992 Art, Literature, Video Festival: Commemorating 500 Years of Indigenous People's Resistance, Dignity and Survival, sponsored by Alma de Mujer, Indigenous Womens Network, and La Peña. Clippings dating from 1988-2000 document Gonzales' performances throughout Austin and San Antonio. Two curricula vitae dating from around 1996 for Irene Gonzales are included as well as a curriculum vitae for Miriam Balboa Echeverría. Correspondence dates from 1989-2004 and consists of received correspondence from colleagues, friends, and family members. Directories consist of a 1990-1991 roster of artists from the Texas Commission on the Arts, Arts in Education Program as well as an undated Texas Actors, Models, and Entertainers Directory. Brochures, programs, and schedules for Festival Hispano 1990 and 1992 are included in the collection. Exterior photographs of a house at 1301 South 5th Street, taken in 2001, are also included. Documentation of Los Actores de Austin consists of a program assistance form, list of board of directors, and sketches for a logo design. Photographs consist of headshots of Gonzales as well as a headshot of Patricia Goldwater, and stills of a theater performance and storytelling event. Posters and fliers dating from 1988 to 2002 document various events and performances, including many of the theater productions in which Gonzales starred. Correspondence and writings dating from 1996 document Proposition 187, which was a 1994 proposed state law that would establish a state-run citizenship screening system in California and make immigrants ineligible for non-emergency health care, public education, and other services in the State of California. Marisa Gonzales Nordstrom, Irene Gonzales' daughter, wrote a script protesting the proposition, which is included in the collection.
The Theater Productions series contains Gonzales' collection of scripts, notes, schedules, and programs for a variety of productions she worked on from 1989 to 2003. Twenty-two productions are represented and are arranged alphabetically by the title of production. Of note is material documenting her work on the production of Border Voices, a piece created by Gregory Ramos that was born out of oral history interviews of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people that lived in the border region of the United States and Texas. It was presented by allgo's Tillery Street Theater in August 2003. Also of note are Gonzales' scripts for Petra's Pecado, written by Ruperto Reyes, Jr., in which Gonzales played the lead role of Petra Dominguez. The play was a bilingual comedy which celebrated the importance of elders in the community. Rehearsal schedules, production schedules, notes, programs, and Gonzales' marked-up scripts document this production. It was performed multiple times from 1995 to 1999 in both Austin and San Antonio. A sequel, Petra's Cuento, is also represented in the series.
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The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
Irene Gonzales Papers (AR.2002.020). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2002/010
Donation Date: 2002-2004
Processing and finding aid by Kelly Hanus in December 2019.