Las Nuevas Tamaleras had it’s world premier at El Teatro Bilingue de Houston for it’s First Annual Latino Playwright’s Festival, Houston Texas, September 1990. It soon had it’s San Antonio premier at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in March 1993. Since then the play has been produced by Theatre Three in Dallas, TX., Teatro Vision in San Jose, CA, La Compania de Teatro in Albuquerque, NM, Centro Su Teatro in Denver, CO. Laredo Little theater in Laredo,TX and back to Teatro Bilingue de Houston. Besides the annual holiday San Antonio production, Burras Finas Productions has toured the play throughout the country. The play in one-act, one hour in length and there is no intermission.


The sense of loss I felt after my mother’s death served as an inspiration for writing Las Nuevas Tamaleras. It may seem odd that such an experience should inspire me to write a comedy, but it makes perfect sense to me. In my family, humor and laughter were ever present. My mother was known to condone a joke, if it was good, even at inappropriate moments, such as, say, funerals. Humor was a most important part of her life. Laughter, I believe, is a very important element of the Latino experience.
With her passing, I felt an urgency to hold on to my quickly fading cultural traditions. How better to do that than to write a play, a comedy, about tamales. Tamales were as important to my mother as humor. In writing Las Nuevas Tamaleras it was important to me to recreate the characters that linked me to my past. It pained me to see my traditions being buried with my parents and grandparents. It become vitally important for me to capture their language, their idioms, their values.
It gave great pleasure to write Las Nuevas Tamaleras, I hope it gives you the same pleasure as you watch it.

Alicia Mena


“Mena’s Las Nuevas Tamaleras is a delightful bilingual comedy that’s funny even if your Spanish is as minimal as mine.”

— William Albright, The Houston Post

“Playwright and director Alicia Mena offers us a slice of contemporary Chicano life that allows us to honestly laugh at ourselves. There’s a price to pay, however, as Las Nuevas Tamaleras forces us to ponder the preservation of our cultural patrimony.”

— Eduardo Diaz, San Antonio Express News

“Las Nuevas Tamaleras is about passing on a culture to generations that have adopted new lifestyles. The idea may seem didactic, Ms. Mena gets her point across with so much humor and wisdom that the lessons need no salsa to help them go down.”— Lawson Taitte, The Dallas Morning News