He serves as executive artistic director of the East L.A. Classic Theatre, where he demonstrates his dedication to serving the Latino community through educational outreach theater programs. Through the East L.A. Classic Theatre, Plana has developed a unique and innovative literacy program called Beyond Borders. This program utilizes the performing arts to impact literacy skills in academically at-risk and bi-lingual students. The program has proven its ability to facilitate and even accelerate student achievement of district and state literacy standards and garnered the recognition and financial assistance of the federal government and other corporate sponsors.
Plana is not only highly involved in media arts, but also very active in his community, serving on various boards including the American Red Cross, the Mariachi Heritage Foundation, the East L.A. Community Youth Center, and the Young Musicians Foundation created by Henry Mancini.
A noteworthy and engaging celebrity speaker who advocates for diversity, Plana speaks about the power of inclusion and teaches how different perspectives improve our interactions with one another and inspire creativity.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Finding Help and Hope
- The Classroom as Theatre
As founder and executive artistic director of the East L.A. Classic Theatre, Tony Plana helps improve language arts skills and facilitate language acquisition in the Hispanic community through educational outreach programs (Language in Play) designed for curriculum integration or after school intervention, but his mission to transform education applies to students from all walks of life. Embracing a holistic way of teaching, Plana promotes using theatre in the classroom to tap into different learning modalities and multiple intelligences while augmenting the capacity of teachers. Combining his passion for both education and the arts, Plana has developed unique teaching tools that are aligned to California's standards for English language development (ELD), language arts (LA), and visual and performing arts (VAPA) and that have been put into practice, enhancing personal development and achieving improved academic performance across the curriculum.
- Embracing the Spirit of Diversity
Speaking to both corporate and campus audiences, diversity speaker Tony Plana recognizes various cultures' contributions to all facets of American life. A Cuban immigrant, Plana shares stories from his youth, stressing the importance of education in his achievements. Celebrating diversity, human values, and tolerance, he emphasizes moving past the civil rights struggles of the 20th century, and embracing the complexity of identity in today's society. Plana's presentation reveals how inclusion changes our perspectives--for the better--and improves our interactions with one another.