We initiated our #TalentedTuesday series to highlight Chicago's Latino theater artists who are creators and risk-takers. Artists who have big hearts and make our community proud. This Talented Tuesday highlight is not only Chicago based, he is Chicago born and raised. When he was a kid, he participated in after school arts programming, and now he leads his own after school youth program. What he learned growing up, he is determined to pay forward; which is why we are proudly highlighting, Luis Crespo.

As Director of Youth Programming at Collaboraction Theatre Company, Luis leads The Peacemakers in conjunction with After School Matters. From Thursday, July 11th through the 14th, Luis' students will be performing in Collaboraction's The Light: A Chicago Youth Theatre Festival. Students from all over Chicago will come together to perform collections of short plays, devised theatre, dance, spoken word. More info on the line up here . Luis also actively shares his theatre talents with OPEN Center for the Arts and their programming in Little Village.

When Luis isn't directing youth or acting onstage, he finds a different kind of spotlight as lead vocalist and lyricist for local band, Kelroy. You may have seen their five member band blow away Chicago Stages with their unique mixed sound of post rock, psychedelia, jazz, and punk. This summer you may have enjoyed their music at Ruido Fest, but if you didn't, make sure to catch their upcoming show on August 2nd at MARTYRS (more info about Kelroy here ).

When you see Luis perform, you can tell automatically that he has his heart in both theatre AND music. He glows on any stage he is on, as a performer or as a behind the scenes mentor. If you get a chance to talk to him, we implore you to ask him about his work at Collaboraction, OPEN, and Kelroy. As he discusses the hard work of his collaborators (because he never talks about himself), his calm voice transforms into one of abundant pride. This time it's our turn. Luis Crespo, for all you do and the light you bring to the theatre community, we are proud to highlight you this #talentedTuesday.
What is your hometown?
Chicago North side. Grown up in and around Hermosa, Logan and Avondale 

What brought you into Chicago Theatre?
As a young man, I was always interested in being creative and using my imagination. From playing out adventures and scenarios as a child, to exploring and experimenting with teen theater and writing in after school programming, to attending Columbia college as a theater major, I've always gravitated towards performance and theater. After college, I joined the Artistic Home as an ensemble member in searching for the Mienser technique. I fell in love with physical theater and devising and later became a company member at Collaboraction theater. Chicago theater has been a part of my life since I was fairly young and I am lucky to work using theater in youth programming.

How have you seen the industry change?
I've seen it grow into a thriving community that on stage seeks to endlessly inspire and revolutionize as well as entertain. I've seen the community grow into a powerful force off stage where sexism, racism and ignorance is not tolerated, rallied against and a has become a culture that values equality and quality.

What inspires you most about theater?
The vast opportunity to be moved and entertained and inspired. Where a story can be old and new. Each performance you see has the potential to delight and surprise now matter how well you may know a story. New and exciting forms of telling theater that triggers the mind to new places and almost forced you to be creative after you've experienced it.

How does working with Teens affect your artistry?
It helps put a perspective on the importance and profound power of theater and invested storytelling. It helps me put into practice many of the therapies and techniques needs to create and devise great theater. It forces a certain attention to detail while also necessitating the ability to adapt and adjust on the fly. It has most definately made me much more patient as well as a better collaborator and listener.

How do you choose the projects you want to work on?
It has to be something that triggers my creative spirit and inspires me to think, feel and work. Because of the investment of time, energy and resource, it has to be a project that makes a difference or strives to make a change or bring about amawareness as much as fuels and feeds my creative spirit. I put in so much of my heart, soul and passion into a project that if im going to work on something I'd like it to make an impact.

What would you like to see change in the industry?
Less criticism, more cooperation
More love, less haters
Newer work and more opportunity for new playwrights, actors and directors
Continued focus and support on youth theater and artists. Giving our future artists a platform to rise in the city.

What advice would you give emerging actors and directors?
Dont forget why you do this wonderful work in the first place. Being inspired and inspiring are powerful tools. That force of creation, imagination, and creativity is inside you ALWAYS. What's outside of you adds more power to your craft. The work begins and ends with you.