The Little Prince of the Andes, Interview with Tupac Saavedra, Part 1

Drama Therapy Brings Refuge for Homeless Children in Bolivia

Andean Priest Blessing Little Prince of the Andes Project, Photo by Tupac Saavedra

Andean Priest Blessing Little Prince of the Andes Project, Photo by Tupac Saavedra

The “Little Prince of the Andes” is the latest theater production of a group of homeless children in La Paz, Bolivia, who experience prostitution and drugs on the harsh sidewalks of Bolivia’s capital.  It is also the title of the film in progress by the prize-winning filmmaker, Tupac Saavedra, documenting the transformative powers of drama therapy. This post presents Part 1 of Nina Serrano’s two part interview with Tupac about his film project.

A few years ago Tupac learned of a theater program in La Paz where a teacher brought street children into his home, training them to explore their situation through theatre games that developed into skits and plays. Eventually, they built a separate theater building and brought in social workers to recruit the kids. Through the development of self exploration and analysis that theater demands of the actor and playwrite, self esteem slowly develops in the children. Today graduates of the program sometimes become the teachers.

Tupac’s film chronicles the homeless youth’s plight on the street, abused and scorned by passer bys, customers and police. You can see that in his trailer of the film as he captures their daily lives. For more about this fascinating project, see Part 2.

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About Nina Serrano

Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to or contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.

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