Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (Headshot high res)

Mercedes Bátiz-Benét

Artistic Director

Mercedes is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, and award-winning director. She was born and raised in Mexico and in 1997 she moved to Canada. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing in both poetry and drama, and a BA Honours in Philosophy from the University of Victoria, as well as a Diploma in Film Production from the Pacific Film & New Media Academy. Approaching expression from as many angles as possible, she has worked as writer, dramaturge, z director, set and costume designer, translator, adapter, actor, puppeteer, multi-media artist, screenwriter, film and video editor, cinematographer, and director. Productions of her work include "Faust: Ignis Fatuus" (FaustFest International Festival), "Shining Through", "Lágrimas Crueles" (Teatro Salvador Novo in Mexico City), "With Open Arms", "El Jinete – A Mariachi Opera", "Cruel Tears/Lágrimas Crueles", a Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre and Puente Theatre co-production, and as co-writer, "The Secret Sorrow of Hatchet Jack Macphee" for The Caravan Farm Theatre, "The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan" with the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, "The Umbrella", an Old Trout Puppet Workshop and Puente Theatre co-production, and Puente Theatre’s "Gruff". Selected directing credits include "Gruff", "The Umbrella", "Lieutenant Nun", "El Jinete -- A Mariachi Opera", "Fado, The Saddest Music in the World", which won the inaugural JAYMAC Award for Outstanding Production at the Greater Victoria Regional Arts Awards in 2020, and most recently "Yerma". In 2014, Mercedes won the Canadian Stage Award for Direction at the SummerWorks Festival in Toronto with her play "El Jinete – A Mariachi Opera", and in 2015 she was chosen as the Distinguished Alumna of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria. She is the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction editor at Bayeux Arts, and the artistic director of Puente Theatre.

"As a Latinx immigrant artist in Canada, I acknowledge the privilege I have to be able to live, work, and create on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ nations, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to do so. I acknowledge the privilege I had in Mexico, my country of origin, as a cis-mestiza of Basque, Catalan, and Cora heritage, where I was spared the injustices, racism, and lack of opportunities Indigenous women endure every single day simply because the mix in the colour of my skin reflects my European heritage more so than that of my Náayerite ancestors. As an able-bodied and cis-woman of colour in Canada, I acknowledge the privilege and advantages I have over other fellow racialized and marginalized artists. As the artistic director of Puente Theatre, I acknowledge the privilege I have to be in a position of power and leadership in our community and to have the honour of being a fighting force and voice for marginalized and underrepresented artists. With privilege comes responsibility, and in the work that I do, I strive to help build a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community that one day will hopefully reflect, honour, include, and benefit from every single one of us".

                                               Mercedes

                                                     Photo credit:  Sara Hembree

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