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Meet Hannah Trujillo of The Trujillo Company

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Trujillo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Hannah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up with a dad who worked as an actor, and now in arts administration. I guess you could say I got the acting bug pretty early– we used to joke that I grew up backstage. I went to the San Diego School of Performing Arts and then made my way to the California Institute of the Arts where I earned my BFA in acting. My path has been pretty linear and I’m just so grateful that I’ve been able to work with such amazing artists and be trained by brilliant teachers and mentors. Since graduating, I’ve been working steadily as an actor with brilliant local companies like Coin & Ghost and 2Cents Theatre Co. But I also spend some time working down in San Diego as well. I’ve branched into directing and recently was able to return to my high school to direct “The Merchant of Venice”. We broke a lot of convention on that piece! It was gender-bent and really focused on Shylock as a mother who is wrongfully persecuted.

I now call myself an actor, director, and writer. I took my first show, “Man Down”, to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 and have since been writing new plays as well. That piece in particular was looking into Black and Latinx relationships in light of the surge of police brutality being seen on the news. As an artist of Latinx heritage, I hope to continue to lift up our voices and make sure we’re seen and represented. I’ve always loved studying how people think and feel and speak. Being able to work as an actor is such a blessing, and greatly informs the work I make and write. The world continues to change; and we all need stories that are inspiring, complicated, and true. We need to see diverse stories reflective of where society is now, but we must never lose faith in the dreams of what we could be when we show up as our best selves. Our most connected, empathetic, and bold, creative selves.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’ve definitely had to learn to grow a thick skin. There’s such a tricky balance to being an artist who can be vulnerable and open but also survives in the competitive arts industry. I tend to be very sensitive and have definitely made mistakes, let my ego get in the way of good work, and learned a few tough lessons. But I truly feel the stronger for it. Everyday we get a new chance to start over, to recreate ourselves, and be brave. When you put yourself out there again and again you have to be quite fortified against negativity, criticism, and gossip. I do my best to keep my head down and continue working from a place of love, integrity, and curiosity. Navigating doubt is probably the most difficult part of being an actor— especially when dealing with auditions, a gig-economy, and finding new modes of performance. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to let yourself be an artist and use your platform to get that light living deep inside you out into the world.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m an actor-writer-director-and teaching artist who splits her time between San Diego and LA. I’m known for my big smile, comedic timing, and easy tears. In the last few years, I’ve gotten to play mean girls, clowns, and some cool as heck strong women. I’m a classically trained actor, with a mind for devising and experimental theatre thanks to my time and teachers at CalArts. I’m also a writer, passionate about using words to change minds. All of my work as a writer is uniquely tied to causes that matter to me, especially regarding identity and gender bias. Right now, I’m working on a new script about the Salem Witch Trials with a feminist twist. As a director, I am interested in the balance between minimalism and spectacle- I love a minimal set with crazy props or costumes and lots and lots of drama! Lately, I’ve also been working as a teaching artist with kids ranging from third grade to high school seniors. Teaching is so brilliant! It’s amazing to watch young people gain confidence, become more playful, and make discoveries while learning about theatre. The most rewarding thing in the world is to watch people really discover themselves and lean into their power, talents, and passion. Theatre is not going anywhere any time soon.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Right now, I’m spending a lot of time trying to figure out the next steps for theater and performance. We’re in an unprecedented moment in time and the whole of Hollywood, and theaters across the nation are figuring out how to move forward. I’ve been using this time to write and keep sharp for when the world can start back up again. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the rehearsal space and being able to finally mount “Mama Mama Can’t You See” with Coin & Ghost. We, like many others, had to postpone due to Covid-19. (Safety first!) It’s a brilliant story written by Stan Mayer and Cecilia Fairchild about the true cost of war– that we were just about to open. I am so grateful to be a small part of it. Though I hope everyone continues to be safe and take care of themselves and each other. After that, the opportunities are endless!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kendall Johnson for Coin & Ghost, Blindspot Collective, Hannah Trujillo, Xiaoyue Zhou

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