LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Latino artists from across the nation are heading to Los Angeles to show their talents and skills in a national theater festival as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Encuentro 2014, the gathering of 150 Latino artists at the national theater festival, aims to put these onstage actors and actresses from different areas of the country in touch with residents in Los Angeles.

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“Encuentro is an encounter of the mind, of the soul, of the audience of the artists. That’s really what it is,” Latino Theater Company artistic director Jose Luis Valenzuela said. “We are bringing 150 artists from around the United States and Puerto Rico to meet the LA audience.”

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The month-long festival, which starts Thursday, Oct. 16, features 19 companies performing an array of theatrical plays, 17 of which will be in English. The other two will be performed in Spanish.

While a number of the plays will feature comedy, some will cover more austere topics, such as border violence and immigration.

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“Those are issues that affect the community,” Valenzuela said. “I mean, when we go to the theater, we want to relate, we want to understand, we want to may have a dialogue of something that we don’t know or we don’t agree with.”