Duende CalArts an initiative of the CalArts Center for New Performance dedicated to developing and producing innovative work emerging from Latinx and Latin American communities and sources. Marissa Chibas heads Duende CalArts as party of the CalArts Center for New Performance.

Established in 2009 by Marissa Chibas, Duende CalArts brings prominent and emerging Latinx and Latin American artists from the performance community to develop adventurous projects at CNP. It aims to expand aesthetic boundaries and performance discourse, collaborating with national and international Latinx artists and advancing multilingual works.

What They’re Saying

“Having Marissa Chibas as a mentor and teacher is one of the greatest gifts that I received in my time at CalArts. She played (and continues to play,) an integral role in demystifying the conventional notions and practices of theatre and showed me how to invite the mythic through Duende. Her studio is a playground for the heart, where the dichotomies between shadow and light, magical and mundane, all have a way of manifesting themselves boldly and with abandon.”

Sarahjeen François CalArts Alum - School of Theatre MFA Acting c/o 2020

“…Chibás not only soothed my anxiety with useful plan-creating exercises, she also cultivated a space in which my craft was empowered by blessing us, her students, with the knowledge passed on to her by previous masters.”

Juan AyalaStudent Testimonial

“The archetypes that were taught have an infinite amount of possibilities that I don’t just use in acting, but also with my writing, and my directing.”

William WhiteStudent Testimonial

“From exploring Duende to Noir, to creating solo performances or developing personal artistic missions, Marissa’s treasure trove of experiences helps artists to make invigorating discoveries and open themselves up to the vulnerability and passion that lies within the life of an artist.”

Grace LeneghanStudent Testimonial

“She gave me a space to make some of the boldest/creative choices I have ever made.”

Adam PeltierStudent Testimonial

“It is powerful magic for the actor, and more effective than any critical thinking or "method" based approaches I have come across.”

Peter MarkPerformer/Visual Artist

“Marissa inspires a level of thought and curiosity that encourages the artist to consider their own voice and vision, as it relates to their career. Marissa calls every space higher and ignites both freedom and fearlessness in all her students, and it always starts with her constant reminder of “you are more than enough.”

Derek JacksonStudent Testimonial

“Marissa leads with compassion, love, and patience. These aspects of the work have propelled me to where I am today. She reinforced my ability to tap into my vulnerability ultimately empowering me to dive further into the depths of the uncertain.”

Anthony HernandezStudent Testimonial

“I learned how to listen with my whole body. It was through my work with Marissa that I began to see myself as not only an actor, but as an artist with perspective and agency.”

Julianna AlvarezStudent Testimonial

“Marissa's work embodies the power found at the intersection of art and social justice. Because there weren't enough female playwrights, Marissa wrote plays. Because stories of injustice needed to be told, Marissa gave a voice to the voiceless. Her plays and films exemplify how art will always be a platform for awareness and social change.”

Jenny ShulmanStudent Testimonial

Featured Project: Shelter


Una obra sobre travesías (A play about journeys)
Conceived and written by Marissa Chibas
Directed by Martin Acosta

SHELTER is a theater and documentary film project that shares stories of the massive human crisis of children refugees who pass through the U.S. deportation shelter system. Marissa Chibas leads an interdisciplinary team of artists including choreographer Fernando Belo and Mexico-based director Martin Acosta.

Watch Work Sample


by Marissa Chibas

Shelter by actor-writer Marissa Chibas is a powerful story of those who cross borders and those who try to find a way to make their dreams come true. This publication is part of NoPassport Press’ Dreaming the Americas Series.

buy Now

“…Chibas’ oddly hopeful tale and the tautly riveting invention of Acosta’s dynamic movement-
based staging could hardly be more on point or movingly intact.”

LA Weekly

““…playwright Marissa Chibas’ affecting and politically trenchant tapestry of all-too- real horrors.””

LA Weekly

“Chibas’ real coup is in her portraiture…the characters in Shelter’s sharply sketched
collage…are notable for the disarming, everyday sameness of their aspirations to those of any
American adolescent living in Sherman Oaks or Highland Park.”

LA Weekly

“Chibas and Acosta stirringly connect the dots of the crisis”

LA Weekly

Shelter News

Shelter –

October 11th

Mexican National Theater School (ENAT) International Theater Conference in Mexico City, Punto de Encuentro: Identidades/Diferencias (Meeting point, Identity and Differences)

Selections from the play Shelter and the documentary will be presented.

Shelter Documentary blurb –

Shelter shares the stories of several unaccompanied minors and how their stories were made in to a play.  The documentary focuses on the experiences the young people had making their journey’s, their two year long involvement with the play, as well as how the lives of the creative team were changed.  Shelter received National attention and was performed in Lincoln Park, several conferences and community centers, And the Kennedy Center.  It is narrated by one of the girls who was interviewed four years ago for the play, and who is now going to college to be an engineer.    

August 17th

Screening of the CalArts Center for New Performance/Duende CalArts documentary Finding Shelter at Museum of Social Justice, 4-6 followed by a panel moderated by Marissa Chibas with representatives of KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), and CARECEN LA. Finding Shelter screened at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, Martin Segal International Film Festival NYC, Sotomayor High School, Nevertheless film Festival.

Screening at the NewFilmakers Film Festival (NFMLA) in collaboration with the Oscars on September 14th at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

Learn More about Duende